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Unable to extract messages from stored DBX files

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I recently was forced to perform a complete system wipe and a reinstall of Windows XP Professional. I copied my DBX files to a DVD-ROM with all my other data, believing they would be available following the reinstall, as in previous undertakings.


However, after copying my DBX folders back to the hard drive, I am unable to drop them into OE and retrieve the messages. I have employed several DBX recovery programs, including Macallan Outlook Express Extraction, DBXtract, DBXConv and several others.


A strange thing happens when I try and use these programs to retrieve the messages or convert the folders' contents into .emls or any other formats: the programs seem to run without any error messages, yet nothing happens. Destination folders remain empty. It's like the DBX files are themselves empty, yet they are the correct file sizes from when I saved them.


So they can't be empty, right?


(I was hoping to attach one of the .dbx files in question - a small one - to this post to see if perhaps any expert here has a solution that has escaped me, but these file types are not permitted as attachments.)

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Make sure all XP updates are installed in case there is some sort of OE patch that is needed.

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First, Outlook Express does not support to drag & drop .dbx to a folder. It only supports to drag & drop .eml files. Or you should put the .dbx files in their original positions and Outlook Express will identify them automatically based on the index file.


For your case, you may try more software such as those at https://www.datanumen.com/outlook-express-repair/compare.htm as there are so many you can try.


You may also upload your dbx file to one of the cloud drive such as OneDrive or Google Drive and I can analyze it manually for you.

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One of the methods offers MS Corp. below. Another method to see and get more solutions to get back corrupted .dbx file


https://www.repairtoolbox.com/outlookexpressrepair.html Outlook Express Repair Toolbox




Restoring Outlook Express Folders when Import doesn't work or is not available

This is an old procedure. It was written for OE5 when I was using NT. The Import wizard at that time seemed buggy to me. Hence the weird process that follows.

Outlook Express seems to keep track of what folders are being used. So you can only restore .DBX file if OE already has one of the same name. Unfortunately I don't know where it keeps track of these folders.

Let's say you are moving your Outlook Express installation from one machine to another. You have backup up all your .DBX files as mentioned in the Backup section above, and you have created a new installation of Outlook Express on the new machine.

1) Identify all the .DBX files (folders) that you are going to restore but which do not exist yet on the new machine. This list of files would only include folders that you have created yourself and would not include folders like inbox, outbox, etc.

2) Start Outlook Express and create a new folder for each one you identified in (1).

3) For each new folder you have created you *must* highlight it - select it with your mouse as if you were going to see what is inside it. We know it is empty, but Outlook Express will not create the .dbx file until you do this. [Thanks to Ethan and "Biggles" separately for their input]

4) Close Outlook Express. Now you will see that your Outlook Express installation will have a .DBX file for every folder you are about to restore.

5) Now restore the .DBX files - that is you replace the empty dbx files created in 2 and 3 with the files from your backup.

6) If you restored from CD it may be that the read attribute on the files has been set. In this case you will need to ensure that the read attribute is cleared for each file you restored (right-click on the file and choose "Properties"). [Contributed by Aaron Kuhn]

7) If all is well, when you open Outlook Express now you will get all your restored messages.

If you receive a message in your message body window "cannot display folder, you may be out of memory or disk space" after restoring, then it is likely you missed step 6. Go back and ensure your DBX files are NOT set to Read-Only.

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