Personal Blog

How do I recover deleted email from Outlook Express .dbx files?

It’s like this. I swapped my email from one IMAP server to another when changing the website hosting. I configure the email account on the new server and when I connect again, whoosh, all the email in my mail box gets deleted. Lost, gone…(sob)

But all is not lost! Outlook Express stores email in a ‘Store Folder’ deep in the depths of Windows XP at:

C:\Documents and Settings\***user***\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{XXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX}\Microsoft\Outlook Express

You can find this folder in Outlook Express by going to > Tools > Accounts > Maintenance > Store Folder… That’s where the mail is stored.

A neat little trick you can sometimes do is to reconnect OE with the .dbx file.

If you create a New Folder in OE called ‘test’, then close OE you will see a new file is created in the Store Folder called test.dbx. All you need to do then is to rename the .dbx file you want to restore as test.dbx after deleting the original test.dbx from the Store Folder.

But what if mail is deleted?

However, if your IMAP server has deleted the email, the email will still not recover. In this case I knew the email was there because the .dbx file was 361mb in size. An empty .dbx file is only about 74kb.

I found a programme called unDBX on This programme will extract messages from the .dbx file, including the deleted ones, which you can then bulk drag back into OE. Phew!


One Response to How do I recover deleted email from Outlook Express .dbx files?

  • You’d think that the boys at Microsoft would have invented an easy solution to back up outlook express files