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Part one of two on Outlook Express Repairs; we're going to look at some common fixes for Outlook Express' funny behaviour, just like we looked at Outlook a few tips ago. Many of these solutions are quite simple and will resolve issues that seem significantly bigger than they really are.

Restart the computer

This simple step will resolve many problems resulting from improperly closed files, programs that have created memory issues, or damage to system files, and not just with Outlook Express, but any program that is affected by another program's "bad" behaviour.

Close other programs before you continue

You will need both Outlook Express and Internet Explorer open. Save your work in any other programs and close them. This allows your repair steps to do their job without other programs making demands on your computer at the same time.

Delete the Temporary Internet Files

  1. In Internet Explorer, click Internet Options on the Tools menu.
  2. In the Temporary Internet files window, click Delete files.
  3. In the pop-up alert window, select the Remove all offline files check box, and then click OK.

If you do not select the check box, the temporary files used by Outlook Express will not be removed.

Remove all offline files to delete Outlook Express temp files.

Every time you display a message, either in a message window (by opening an email) or in the Preview pane, Outlook Express creates a temporary file to help it display the contents of the message. Each of those temporary files is stored in the Temporary Internet Files folder that is used by Internet Explorer. Sometimes one or more of these files are damaged, and that can cause Outlook Express to behave badly when displaying messages. All the files in Temporary Internet files truly are temporary, so there is no danger in deleting them. Doing so will not delete the actual messages in your Outlook Express mailbox.

Compact all folders

  1. In Outlook Express, click Work Offline on the File menu so that no new messages will be arriving.
  2. In the Folders Window, click on Outlook Express so that no folder is open.
  3. Close the Folder Window by clicking the X in the upper right-hand corner of the list panel. Alternatively you can click Layout on the View menu, and then clear the Folder List check box.
  4. On the File menu, choose Folder, and then click Compact All Folders. Do not use your computer until the process is complete, which might take several minutes.

If an error occurs, close Outlook Express, re-open it, and begin the process again from the top. If the same error occurs again, close Outlook Express, restart your computer, open Outlook Express and then begin the whole process again.

Let the compaction process finish before doing anything else.

5. Click Work Offline on the File menu again so that you are returned to online mode and new messages can arrive.

Many bizarre behaviours in Outlook Express are caused by small errors in the file "Folders.dbx." This file is the master index of the message store folder -the place where all emails are kept track of- and damaged entries there can create all sorts of chaos, such as the wrong message or folder being displayed. When you compact all folders you are also updating this master index. If you don't compact all folders from time to time, you are more likely to see distinctly unfunny behaviour.

Next time we'll cover some of the more in-depth solutions that will resolve other bad behaviours in Outlook Express.



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