Every time I exit Outlook Express on Windows XP, it shows:

This folder in use by Outlook Express or another program` (in Russian).

It gives this error on every application closing, when it compresses the base. I have rebooted, and there is enough disk space. What is causing this error?


You have the auto-compact function selected which automatically compacts the databases under certain circumstances. Unfortunately, something is blocking it from completing. There is nothing bad about this, and you can stop it by turning off the auto-compact setting:

Of course it would be better to figure out why it won’t compact. There are a few reasons this can happen:

  • Not enough disk space to create temporary files (must have as much free space as the message store uses)
  • The file is actually in use. Look at which folder OE says failed. Then you use Unlocker to confirm that the .dbx file is only used by OE and not something else. If so, then you can select (click on) either Outlook Express or Local Folders before compacting. Try compacting manually (File⇨Folder⇨Compact (All Folders)) to reset OE’s compact schedule.
  • If you have created a new folder, then restarting OE should fix it.
  • If you have subscribed to a bunch of newsgroups, then folders.dbx could be broken. Try deleting (or better, renaming) the file. You will lose your newsgroups, but when OE re-creates the file, it should stop giving you compaction errors. Then you can re-subscribe to your newsgroups, but do it one at a time.

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