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help please ! outlook express 6 deleted drafts messages


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#1
tomj25

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hi i have a lot of messages in the drafts folder of outlook express regarding work ect i logged in today to get some info and all my saved drafts are gone !! please can someone tell me how to get them back as there is some stuff in there that i depend on so much ,
thanks
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#2
Throoper

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Check in your Recycle bin for a Drafts.bak file. If it's there you can get back what was in the Drafts folder up to the last time OE was compacted. Let me know if you have it or not.
T.
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#3
tomj25

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hi T cant see Drafts.bak file in Recycle bin , does that mean i have lost all my messages for good ?
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#4
Throoper

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Check in the OE Message Store folder. Sometimes the backups (BAK files) remain there instead of being sent to the Recycle bin.
If there isn't a Drafts.bak in the Message Store folder, see if you have more than one Drafts.dbx, such as Drafts(1).dbx.

Do the following to open the OE Message Store folder.

You need to have Hidden files and Folders showing.
At the top of any folder(My Documents for example) click Tools>Folder Options>View tab.
Scroll down the list and place a check next to "Show Hidden Files and Folders" then click Apply and OK.

In OE
Click on Tools>Options>Maintenance tab>Store Folder.
On the Store Location box, highlight the address by pressing the Tab key on your keyboard.
Press Control+C (both at the same time) to copy the address to the clipboard.
Click Cancel on all boxes and close OE.

Click on Start>Run.
Press Control+V (both at the same time) to paste the address into the command line and click OK.
The Store Folder containing all the DBX files should open.


Alternate method if you only have one Identity:

Search the hard drive for *.dbx.
Be sure to search for Hidden files and Folders.
Open the folder containing the DBX files.
If there is more than one folder containing DBX files, open the one that contains the DBX files that are named the same as the folders in OE.


Don't try to open the DBX or BAK files. They can only be read by OE or a dbx reader.

Let me know what you find and we'll go from there.
T.
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#5
tomj25

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hi T , ok found the store folder and it contains a draft file called "Drafts.dbx"
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#6
Throoper

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hi T , ok found the store folder and it contains a draft file called "Drafts.dbx"

Just the one Drafts.dbx? No Drafts(1).dbx or Drafts.bak?
I've assumed, but better ask, do you have XP with the SP2 update installed?
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#7
tomj25

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all folders in there are ,

Deleted Items.dbx
Folders.dbx
Inbox.dbx
Outbox.dbx
Sent Items.dbx
work.dbx
Drafts.dbx
Folders.old.dbx
Offline.dbx
Pop3uidl.dbx
work.dbt
tom.dbx

xp pro sp2
not looking good i take it
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#8
Throoper

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Sorry to say, it's not looking good at all.
What's likely happened is that the Drafts.dbx corrupted (could be from folder bloat, compacting error, AV scan, or just gremlins).
When a dbx corrupts, OE can no longer use it and will generate a new dbx file for that folder, in this case it would be Drafts(1).dbx or something similar and the original Drafts.dbx would be ignored by the program and left in the Message Store folder. It appears that didn't happen.

When OE compacts folders, a BAK file (backup) is created and usually sent to the Recycle bin (sometimes they stay in the Message Store folder) for storage. If the Drafts.bak isn't there, the Recycle bin was probably emptied after it's creation or it just got full and the bak was discarded to make room for newly deleted items.

At this point, all I can think to do would be to Search your computer for the missing Drafts.dbx and Drafts.bak, in hopes they were put somewhere else.

Two real longshots to try:

1: In the Message Store folder, right click the Drafts.dbx>Properties. Make sure the file is not Read Only.
If the Read Only is un-checked, make a copy of the file and tuck it somewhere for safekeeping (Desktop would be fine) before trying the next thing.

2: In OE, open the Drafts folder to view the contents (yeah, I know it's empty).
Click File>Work-offline.
Click File>Folder>Compact (not Compact all). Just want to do the Drafts folder.
Click File>Work-offline to clear the checkmark.
Go to a different folder and then back to Drafts and see if anything shows up.
Recheck in the Message Store for an additional version of Drafts.dbx.

If none of that works, you may be out of luck.

T.
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#9
tomj25

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hi T , tried all that and still no luck cant belive ive lost all my drafts nearly 18mths worth !! finished with outlook now of to find something that wont destroy my mail , thanks for time in trying to help just wish it had a better outcome
regards
tom
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#10
Throoper

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hi T , tried all that and still no luck cant belive ive lost all my drafts nearly 18mths worth !! finished with outlook now of to find something that wont destroy my mail , thanks for time in trying to help just wish it had a better outcome
regards
tom

Hi Tom,

I thought of one last thing to check.

In the Message Store, see what the file size of the Drafts.dbx is. If it's around 100KB (maybe slightly more) or less, then it's an empty file with nothing to try to recover.
Now check the size of the copy you tucked away. If it's about the same (100KB or less), it's useless and can be deleted.
If it's got some size to it (in the MB range), it might be worth running it through an extraction program to try pulling anything out of it.
Here's a link to a free version of DBXtract if you need to do that.

I wouldn't give up on OE. It's really a decent E-mail client, you just need to do periodic backups as you should with any E-mail client (they all have their own problems).
Here are a couple ways to make quick backups of your messages to avoid loss in the future.

In the Message Store folder:
Click Edit>Select All.
Click Edit>Copy
Go to the Desktop and right click an empty area.
Select New>Folder from the menu. Name it Mailbackup.
Open Mailbackup and click Edit>Paste.
There should now be a copy of everything that was in the Message Store in the folder Mailbackup.
Close Mailbackup. Then either burn it to CD or store it on an external drive.

OR:

After compacting OE, open the Recycle bin and either restore all the BAK files to the Message Store folder before the Recycle bin gets emptied or cut and paste them into a Mailbackup folder.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

T.
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#11
webfox

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Try to use the Outlook Express Recovery tool.

I think it could help you decide your problem...
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#12
123Runner

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It seems that no one has asked to check in the "sent" folder. This is a "just in case" long shot.
Did OE send them without asking?
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