Outlook Express - how to delete corrupted email in Inbox?

By maryklarson ·
Hi there,

I've got an email in my Outlook Express Inbox that I cannot open, and cannot delete. When I attempt to do either, the application hangs indefinitely and ultimately crashes (or I must force it to crash by ending the msimn.exe process, as it consumes most all available RAM while it's hanging).

Opening, moving, and deleting any other email in my Inbox works just fine.

Is there any background way I can delete that rogue email from my Inbox?

I realize that I need to move away from OE and jump on the Gmail bandwagon, but before doing that, I'd like to archive my OE emails, and I don't think that will be successful while I've got this current issue. I suspect that it will cause the application to hang once it gets to that particular email, because even when I set up new email rules and attempt to apply them to my Inbox, the application hangs, again, I think because of that bad email.

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance,


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DB Xtract

by TheChas In reply to Outlook Express - how to ...

You should be able to do this with the utility DBXtract.

It used to be free, now it is $7 (US).

A related useful utility is OE Backup.

Rather than going with just the online version of GMail, give Mozilla Thunderbird a try as your desktop email client.

It might even be able to recover the corrupt email with the import function.


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Thanks -- I'll try that.

by maryklarson In reply to DB Xtract

I've seen various DBX file recovery applications advertised when I Googled my problem, but wasn't sure if any worked. Have you had luck with DBXtract?

Oh, and why do you like Thunderbird over GMail? I'm sorta on the fence about using a web-based email app vs. desktop, so am interested to hear your take on it.

Thanks again,


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Thunderbird and Gmail

by TheChas In reply to Thanks -- I'll try that.

Well, you don't even need to differentiate. You can use Thunderbird (or Outlook Express) with a GMail account. Unlike many of the other free web-mail systems, GMail does allow you to download your messages using an email client.

First off, Microsoft has not done much recently to keep OE up to date. Aside from fixing the bigger security holes.

While there are other options for a desktop email client, I like Thunderbird if for no other reason than it is open source.

In fact, there are only 2 reasons that I even run OE at all.
OE and Outlook are the only ways to download mail from a Hotmail account to your PC. As my daughter uses a Hotmail account, I keep it on the system she uses.

Also, since I do run OE on a limited basis, I can actually run through a solution on my system when posting answers to OE questions.

As to your other question, I myself have not used DBXtract. I do trust the people who led me to it several years ago.


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One other way that might work is

by huoml In reply to Outlook Express - how to ...

create a new folder in OE and move the corrupted email to the new folder and then try to delete the folder. If you cannot delete the folder, exit OE and then go to the folder where OE stores the email. Find the file that has name of the folder you created, delete that file. Start OE and then delete the folder from the list.

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Thanks, but that won't work

by maryklarson In reply to One other way that might ...

I cannot do a thing with that email -- if I could move it to a folder, I would, (specifically to the Deleted Items folder), but it won't budge. Any attempt to do any activity at all with that email causes the application to hang indefinitely.

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I'm a genius! ;-)

by maryklarson In reply to Outlook Express - how to ...

Solved my own problem. Did some more research (thank you, Google) and found out (from Microsoft's own website -- imagine that!) that if you click on a corrupt (or infected) email once to select it, and then hold down the Shift key and the Delete key on your keyboard, it will permanently delete the email message. I tried it -- it worked. Problem solved! :-)

Link to problem-solving article here:

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I agree, you are!

by KansasPcDoc In reply to I'm a genius! ;-)

Thanks to your post it saved me from doing the research.

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Glad it was helpful!

by maryklarson In reply to I agree, you are!

Shift-Delete -- who knew?! :-)

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