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Outlook Express hanging up due to malware - how to resolve

by witsend12 / June 22, 2008 8:46 AM PDT

My wife uses Outlook Express [under Win XPHE] on her PC. Recently she received an email message with attachment from a friend that evidently contains malware and slipped under the AVS net. We now have the following situation
1 When we attempt to delete the message, the program hangs up [Not Responding] and it is necessary to reboot.
2 Until now, it was possible simply to ignore the message and use OE as normal. Unfortunately I made the mistake of setting View Inbox Messages to View Unread Messages. Thus when OE is opened, it opens automatically to this view and highlights this unwanted corrupt message, the only unread one. It is now impossible to navigate to any function in OE [such as View All Messages, Send Messages or anything else] for the program immediately hangs up/Not Responding and has to be closed down. At least it closes to the desktop and it is possible to use other programs but the ability to use email, refer to old messages, and contact details has been lost.

Can you suggest any method that might enable me to cleanse the relevant outlook folders without my wife losing all her history? I have tried running AVS on the HD without success. I use Outlook myself and am familiar with outlook.pst folders but I think O Express operates differently.
Thanks

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run this
by Dango517 / June 22, 2008 3:19 PM PDT
http://www.download.com/Ad-Aware-2008/3000-8022_4-10045910.html?tag=lst-1&cdlPid=10844457

Are you sure it's malware? check your event viewer for other possible causes. Could also be a registry glitch. Registry repair software is risky because it can remove things you want to keep. It is available here:

http://www.download.com/3120-20_4-0.html?qt=registry%20repair

Some are free some are not. I use this it comes with registry repair software that is not too aggressive:

http://www.iolo.com/

This is a complete optimization and security program not just registry repair. I like it, others do not.
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Somehow ...
by Kees Bakker / June 23, 2008 2:54 AM PDT
In reply to: run this

I think that a registry cleaning doesn't help against corrupted documents.

Kees

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Maybe, but what if the program is corrupted
by Dango517 / June 23, 2008 4:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Somehow ...

by registry errors or let hope not, some corrupted programing due to perhaps memory leakage.

This is, an isn't important but ........ Outlook Express isn't Microsoft best piece of work. In fact, in my opinion it's crapware. Problem after problem, after problem, after problem .......... and serious problems too. When it goes bad, it "really" goes bad.

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Personally ...
by Kees Bakker / June 23, 2008 5:10 AM PDT

I've never had any problem with Outlook Express. With me, it has always been a reliable tool. Sorry to see if you've been less lucky.

Kees

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Assuming it's still in the inbox ...
by Kees Bakker / June 22, 2008 11:13 PM PDT

- Find your wives inbox.dbx (that's a Windows file, use My Computer or Windows Explorer
- Rename it to oldinbox.dbx)
- Open Outlook Express. It will create a new empty inbox. Don't panic.
- Create a new (empty) folder inbox2.
- Close Outlook Express.
- Back to My Computer.
- Delete inbox2.dbx
- Copy oldinbox.dbx to inbox2.dbx (don't move, it will stay intact then until you're done)
- Open Outlook Express. You'll see all of her old inbox in the new inbox2.
- Carefully (!) move ALL BUT ONE message from inbox2 to inbox (drag and drop). Don't touch this special one.
- When all messages are safely back in the inbox, delete inbox2 with this one message you want to get rid of.
- From My Computer, delete oldinbox.dll to the recycle bin.
- Done.

Carefully read this recipe before doing anything, so you'll understand what I mean and what you're doing. It's easy to do something wrong. And if it's VERY wrong your wife will lose her whole inbox.

Kees

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Correction.
by Kees Bakker / June 23, 2008 2:51 AM PDT

I meant oldinbox.dbx, of course, not .dll. There might be other typos and errors around. So be careful. Nothing is lost if you don't delete the renamed file or keep a separate copy of the original inbox.dbx.


Kees

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Cleaning corrupted inbox
by witsend12 / June 24, 2008 9:45 AM PDT

Kees
Thanks SO MUCH for your reply. IT WORKED, everyone!!
I was ever so slightly confused by the step 'copy oldinbox.dbx to inbox2.dbx'. This of course means Copy [which creates 'Copy of oldinbox.dbx'], then Rename this to Inbox2.dbx. I was following your procedure to the letter to avoid mistake, but even with my limited computer savvy, I worked this out!

After posting, I found a useful article on the Microsoft site at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/community/columns/filecorruption.mspx.
The author discusses problems like mine [not usually viruses] and strongly favours regular compacting but it is obvious that your approach is very reliable and can be applied to other folders if they go wrong. [Though the article also says that Folders.dbx file can also corrupt, so I'm not sure how that would be tackled. Fortunately not the problem I had.

So thanks again, a very neat and efficient solution.

Not at my wits end, until next time.

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Great!. If you have problems in the future
by Dango517 / June 24, 2008 1:59 PM PDT
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(NT) Glad I could help. Thanks for letting us know.
by Kees Bakker / June 24, 2008 5:58 PM PDT
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