I am trying to recover, or, preferrably, export mailboxes from a possibly corrupted Outlook Express (for XP). The main issue is that any attempt to do anything with certain emails, such as open or delete them, results in the Deleted Items folder immediately maxing out at 2GB, and then everything grinds to a halt.

Has anyone else experienced this recurring DBX file blowout, and if so, what are my options at this point?

Things I have tried

(tl;dr - Nothing worked.)

Compacting/removing the DBX file(s)

Compacting successfully reduced the Deleted Items folder to a minimal size, however the next attempt to open an Inbox item results in Deleted Items immediately regrowing to 2GB.

I then closed OE and deleted the Deleted Items folder, re-opened, accessed a few emails and the same thing happened.


This fails with the dreaded MAPI error message, and the resolution in the KB179637 article fails to overcome the issue.

I have also attempted various other internet-based remedies, such as:

  1. Close OE.
  2. Move DBX files out of storage location.
  3. Restart OE to let it rebuild required files.
  4. Close OE again.
  5. Copy back DBX files (excluding ones such as Deleted Items, Outbox, etc.)
  6. Restart OE.
  7. Rip out hair when Deleted Items blows out to 2GB again.


I installed Thunderbird and allowed it to import from OE, which it did successfully for accounts and contacts. Then it spun its wheels forever while importing the mailboxes. I allowed it to run for roughly 20-30 minutes without any movement on the progress bar. I checked Task Manager before shutting it down, and Thunderbird had racked up ~35GB each of IO reads and writes.


What ended up working was the solution from nu2.nu. In summary:

  1. Move all mailbox files from the default storage location to another folder, leaving the default folder empty.
  2. Load Outlook, Import and choose "Import mail from on OE6 store directory".
  3. Select the folder from step (1) to import from.

The import process stalled on the Inbox folder for a few minutes, possibly resolving some issue in the process, then completed.

The export to Thunderbird then worked correctly.

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