Resolved Question

How should I restore my email?

We're running Windows XP and Outlook Express 6 on a six year old DELL and we have encountered a problem.

We started getting "An unknown error has occurred" and the error number is 0x800C0133.

We had backed up our email last June and I backed it up once more after I received this error. Our email is about 6 gigabytes large. I deleted everything in the sent folder and I deleted a lot of old messages. Then when my wife was deleting a single message, the computer froze and her entire inbox is now empty. I don't think it is the hard drive because it is a relatively new hard drive I put in and it is 2 years old.

I wanted opinions on where to go from here and will I ever know what the problem is? Should I reset Outlook Express 6? Should I start my email from scratch? If I copy my old email files back to Outlook Express 6, will I be asking for trouble since my email is likely to cause corruption? Should I use a different inbox program? How likely is it a hardware problem?

Any advice is appreciated.

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Best Answer

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Re: restore email

That's a good question, but difficult to answer.

The only good answer about "how to restore" is "that depends on the way you did the backup". Since you don't tell that, any other answer would probably be wrong. But the obvious advantage of restoring a backup from June is that you will lose all mails from that moment on. Roughly 3 months of email.

If you say "our email is about 6GB" I assume you mean that the total size of all .dbx files combined is 6 GB. That's a lot. Two questions about that:
- what is the largest one?
- when did you last do a "compact all folders"?
- do you regularly delete all items in the Deleted items folder?
The last operation leaves the old uncompacted folder in the recycle bin. So with a little bit of luck, if you did that a week ago, you only lose 1 week of mail.

It looks like the inbox is corrupted. Make a copy of the file inbox.dbx, then delete it and start Outlook Express. If it runs correctly now, all you lost is the contents of your inbox since the last backup. Apart from free or paid repair programs (google for them) there's nothing you can do about a corrupted file.
As the mods here say "You only lose what you didn't backup". After all, it's your own choice to do a backup so infreqently, so don't complain about that here.


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We let Outlook schedule the compacting on its own

We let Outlook schedule the folder compacting on its own.
My wife usually deletes the deleted folder regularly.

Inbox is 2,097,119 KB.
Inbox.bak is 2,069,407,KB
Sent Items is 1,330,734 KB
Sent Items.bak is 1,290,798 KB

The folder size is 6.54 GB.

The age of the computer is about 7-8 years and we have email from back then if my wife saved it but the hard drive is about 2 years old. We'll probably get a new computer by December if not sooner.

I have the email backup files so I don't know if it will do any good to restore them and compact them. I had to go into the directory and manually copy them in September because Outlook wouldn't do it.

This is a reason for secondary storage. You never know when you will turn on the computer and not have your files.

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It's quite well possible ...

that the inbox has a 2 GB size limit and became too big. Even MS Outlook (the 'professional' variant of Outlook Express) (both the XP and 2003 versions, I'm not sure about 2007 and 2010) had a 2 GB file limit.
Big file = big risk.

If I were you I would keep the file size under 100 Mb. Just create a new folder (for each year, or for each sender, or for each theme) and move (just select as much as you want, drag and drop) your mails from the inbox to that new folder. Much easier to search for a mail also!
After such a massive move, compact all folders.


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Thank you for your help.

I decided to delete the .dbx email files, start from scratch and to keep the backups. We'll just archive the old email because we need to get back to normal.

Thank you for your help.

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Thank you.

Thank you.

We deleted the .dbx files and archived the backups because we need to get back to normal.

Thank you again for your help.

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