Every folder in your Outlook Express mailbox has a connected database with a .DBX file extension. Thus given ‘N’ folders in your Outlook Express mailbox, you also have ‘N’ databases linked to each folder, such as Inbox.dbx, SentItems.dbx, and so on. Another way of stating this is to say that Outlook Express generates separate .DBX files for each folder in your Outlook Express mailbox. This explains why all received email is stored in the Inbox.dbx file, all sent items in the SentItems.dbx file, all contacts in the Contacts.dbx file, and so forth. Individual DBX database files serve as the repository for your Outlook mailbox data.
It’s no wonder that .dbx files are essential to proper operation of Outlook express, then. But occasionally, you may observe that a majority or sometimes even all of your emails to be missing from your Inbox, Sent Items, or some other folder. Or sometimes while cleaning up an Outlook Express folder, you may accidentally delete some messages. In such situations you can try various steps to recover deleted Outlook Express messages, as explained hereafter.
Tips to Recover Deleted Emails
- Check the Deleted Items folder in Outlook Express. If you’re lucky, you your deleted emails are there. If so, you can easily move them from Deleted Items folder to their original folders.
- Check your computer’s Recycle Bin. It may contain mail_folder_name.bak files, where mail_folder_name represents the name of the folder in which deletions occurred (such as inbox.bak or outbox.bak, for example). If so, restore all .bak files you find there. Such files can then be found in their original locations. If you visit the folder where any restored .bak files are saved and change their extension to .dbx, when you restart Outlook Express you may find your deleted email messages have been restored.
- If you do not find your deleted emails using any of these techniques, it may be time to turn to special email recovery tools designed specifically to recover otherwise unrecoverable messages deleted from Outlook Express. Such tools will attempt to recover deleted emails from multiple DBX files; often they support selective recovery of specific emails. Some tools even permit you to save emails in either .eml or .dbx file formats. Because there are plenty of options for software designed to recover deleted Outlook Express email messages available online, you may find it difficult to select the very best tools.
Precautions to Avoid Outlook Express Email Loss
You should find the preceding tips useful should you ever need to recover deleted messages from Outlook Express. However, believing always that prevention is better than cure, here are some precautions you should definitely take to avoid potential loss of email messages in the future:
- Perform regular, periodic backups of your Outlook Express data (on at least a monthly, if not weekly basis).
- If you delete any email accidentally, stop using Outlook Express until you recover deleted messages. Continued use may alter the .dbx files sufficiently to make recovery impossible, and you don’t want to take that chance.