Long story short I accidentally deleted all of my e-mails except for about 3. Now, fortunately upon looking at my Inbox.dbx file (from Outlook Express) they're all still in the file, even the deleted ones, but when I try to import that .dbx file into another e-mail client, the client only imports those 3 e-mails that weren't deleted. I tried importing into Outlook Express, Thunderbird, and Windows Live Mail, to no avail.

My question is, I know for a fact that the deleted e-mails are still there inside the .dbx file. They're probably just marked as "deleted" and so none of the e-mail clients are importing them. How do I extract them, unmark them as "deleted", or whatever, so I can re-import them into my e-mail client (Thunderbird)?


  • I would use one of the tools that "undelete messages in dbx files" (use your favourite Internet search engine). Some are free. – RedGrittyBrick Jan 3 '12 at 21:36
  • Just so you know, the Deleted Items folder is in the Deleted Items.dbx file. Once it's completely removed, it's gone from the .dbx files. Them emails from Outlook Express are not like files, rather the entire folder (i.e. Inbox, Spam, Sent Items) are a single file each – Canadian Luke Jan 3 '12 at 21:49

Searching turns up too many recovery tools to number, but I tend to stick with open source (especially GPL licensed) tools. My first effort would be to try UnDBX because it meets that criteria. I don't use OE so can't really try it.

  • Thanks! UnDBX worked. It wasn't perfect (the timestamps on some of the e-mails recovered are way off) but it looks like it got the job done. – PattyRick Jan 4 '12 at 18:15
  • 1
    Good to know.Assuming you kept the original DBX files for a while, you may want to use the contact info on the page to find out if that is normal, specific to something local, or a bug. Usage statistics, suggestions, and results can be a huge help to developers who put time and effort into useful tools. It is the heart of the open source community and a small price to pay for a program. – Dennis Jan 4 '12 at 18:55

Deleted items are not in the inbox.dbx anymore, they are in the deleted items.dbx file now.

Were you able to select what folders you want to import from? If so, select the Deleted Items folder so it will be imported. Otherwise, if you can you still open OE, move all the deleted email back to the Inbox.

If those two things don't work, refer to RedGrittyBrick's answer.

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