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I use Outlook Express 6 to read newsgroups and had the messages from numerous servers downloaded on my PC. The PC became unbootable, but with all files intact, and now I want to migrate the existing messages to the new installation of OE6 on the replacement disk.

I can't find any procedure for doing this. Just copying all files from the Store Folder doesn't seem to work. OE starts to download the whole lot regardless if I try to synchronize.

Anybody know the secret?

* MORE DETAILS *

This is what I tried - I carried out the following steps:

  • found the new OE ID folder
  • deleted all files in there
  • copied the files from old OE ID folder
  • started OE.

My emails are visible. The news servers I have newly added are visible but no newsgroups. If I subscribe to some newsgroups it loads the headers for the messages since I last sync'd on the old machine, but I can't see the old existing messages. For newsgroups with lots of messages on the server (like say >10k) it downloads (e.g.) 291 messages, 291 unread, 28290 not downloaded yet I can see the dbx file for that group is 74 MB.

  • Your new user profile has a new OE ID. Did you copy them to the correct place? Do all the groups show up? Do emails show up? – Synetech Oct 17 '13 at 19:59
  • The groups don't show up and OE creates a new DBX file and calls it whatever.group (1).dbx for the ones I have resubscribed to. I downloaded a utility MailView which loads the old message DBX files OK and shows all my old messages. It won't load Folders.DBX though, although that could be a different format. If I inspect Folders.dbx and look at the binary I can see all the old newsgroups in there. – rossmcm Oct 17 '13 at 20:46
  • Just so you know, outlook express has not been updated in over 10 years. Perhaps give Thunderbird a try for reading newsgroups and emails mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird – Simon Sheehan Oct 18 '13 at 1:33
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Just copying all files from the Store Folder doesn't seem to work.

When you re-installed Windows, your new user profile was assigned a new (randomly generated) OE identity. You need to either point OE to the backup copy of the message store, or copy the files to the new location.

You can change the message store to point to the backup from within OE:

Tools⇨Options⇨Maintenance⇨Store Folder⇨Change

You can manually copy the files as well. If your previous OE message store was in %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\<guid> and you copied it to D:\oebackup, then you need to check %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities to see what the new GUID is.

Make sure to copy the original folders.dbx because that is where OE stores all information about subscribed newsgroups and flags like what has been downloaded.

The groups don't show up and OE creates a new DBX file and calls it whatever.group (1).dbx for the ones I have resubscribed to.

Then you can recover the messages by starting over (make sure to keep your backup copy intact).

  1. Unsubscribe from the newsgroups
  2. Close OE
  3. Remove the newsgroup database (.dbx) files
  4. Start OE
  5. Set it to only download the minimum (50) headers at a time (Options⇨Read)
    • (You can set this to 1 in the registry, but it’s easier to just disconnect from the Internet, then it will still create the .dbx files for the groups, but not download any messages. You might however have to click the [Stop] button in the Send/Receive dialog to avoid waiting for it to time out.)
  6. Subscribe to the groups
  7. Select the groups to have OE download one message for each one (and create .dbx files for them)
  8. Close OE
  9. Copy the corresponding files from the backup, over-witing the new ones
  10. Start OE
  11. Click each newsgroup to have OE detect the messages already stored and update folders.dbx as necessary
  12. Reset the number of messages to download
    • You may need to switch steps 11 and 12

You can also give the tools at OEHelp a try to see if they can extract some messages, but if OE is not picking up the groups from your original backup copy, then something went wrong and it is broken (you said the system became un-bootable; whatever made it un-bootable could have caused folders.dbx to become corrupted).

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  • Thanks. I've added more detail to the question. Folder.dbx is there. I've found the new message store OK. – rossmcm Oct 17 '13 at 20:34
  • The datestamp on'Folders.dbx' on the old machine is yesterday, but that will be because I tried the OE File/Import function yeaterday to import the email messages, hoping that might get the newsgroup messages as well. 'Folders.dbx' "looks" OK -i.e. has the old newsgroup names in there. – rossmcm Oct 17 '13 at 20:55
  • The datestamp on'Folders.dbx' on the old machine is yesterday, because I tried the File/Import function yeaterday to import the email messages, hoping that might get the newsgroup messages as well. Is that folders.dbx in your backup or the one that was copied to the active message store? If it’s your original backup copy, then it has been modified. OE updated it with the information it had in the new installation, and thus over-wrote the old data. (Do you see your email sub-folders?) There’s no way to restore that information because it’s format is proprietary. Try the trick I suggested. – Synetech Oct 17 '13 at 22:18
  • I'm currently following your steps with the files from my laptop's OE installation. I can't find the option only download one message (Options⇨Read). Do you mean Get nnn headers at a time ? which won't let me specify less than 50. – rossmcm Oct 18 '13 at 1:17
  • Yes that’s the one. I added a note above for that step (5). – Synetech Oct 18 '13 at 1:30

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