Retrieve Compacted Email Messages In Outlook Express

Outlook Express Help

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When you have too many emails in your Outlook Express Inbox folder, the application periodically compacts emails to save space. You can perform a manual compaction process when required to keep the application functioning efficiently. The compacted emails for each folder are stored in a database file. You may have problems retrieving the compacted messages if the database file is damaged. Microsoft has updates available on its website to help you retrieve compacted mails in Outlook Express, and you can locate the database file in which the emails are stored or backup copies of the files.

Outlook Express moves the compacted emails into an Inbox.bak file located in the Store Folder where the Inbox.dbx file is located that stores the regular Inbox emails.

The following Outlook Express help instructions will help you retrieve compacted emails in Outlook Express.


  • Launch Microsoft Outlook Express on your computer.
  • Go to the Tools menu at the top of the Outlook Express window and click on Options.
  • This will bring up the Options window. Click on the Maintenance tab at the top of this window and click on Store Folder.
  • Now you will get the Store Folder Explorer window. You need to copy the folder location. In order to do that, press the Tab key on your computer keyboard to highlight the Store Folder address. To copy the address, simply press Ctrl + C keys together on your keyboard. Alternately, you can right-click on the highlighted Store Folder address and select the option Copy from the popup menu.
  • Close the Outlook Express application.
  • Go to the Start menu located on your Windows taskbar at the bottom left corner of your desktop screen. Click the Start button and further click on Run.
  • Now you need to paste the Store Folder address into the Run dialog box. Click on the text field in the Run dialog box and press Ctrl + V keys together to paste the previously copied Store Folder address.
  • Click OK to open the Store Folder.
  • Here in this folder you will find the Inbox.dbx file. Right-click this file and select the option Rename.
  • You will now be able to edit the file name. Replace the.dbx part of the file with .old. Press the Enter key. The file name will now be changed to Inbox.old.

    Inbox.dbx file

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  • Similarly locate the Inbox.bak file and rename it to Inbox.dbx.
  • Relaunch Microsoft Outlook Express. Click on the Inbox folder on the left side of the window, and you can find the compacted email messages there.

If you need more Outlook Express help, you may visit the Microsoft Support page to find more tips and help instructions that can help you fix the problem.