Based on the feedback I receive on this issue, there are many people plagued by the Outlook Express not responding problem. Sometimes, the program crashes because an attempt is made to open a new message while at other times, it just does start up at all.
Though Outlook Express is probably the most popular email program in the world, it is full of security holes that are frequently exploited by hackers. And that it connects to the internet often (to download email) only makes it worse. The causes of Outlook Express crashes can be varied so please bear in mind that there is no single solution.
You also need to take into account whether Outlook Express is unresponsive once in a while or the crashes are very frequent. Thus, occasional problem can be attributed to a bad email message or a program clash. But if Outlook Express just doesn’t start, the problem may be deep rooted. Let us start the troubleshooting process.
The first thing you should do is run the Windows operating system updater program. The new patches would seal security holes and also correct errors that have crept in during the course of programming. The security plugs would not necessarily be only for Outlook Express but rather for the Windows operating system or Internet Explorer browser program.
The cause of sudden Outlook Express not responding problem may lie in a malicious email that has entered the inbox. FYI, an email doesn’t need to be opened to infect your computer. Sometimes, the mere fact the message is downloaded corrupts files on your system. It is recommended that you update the anti-virus program and run a full system scan.
Outlook Express stores emails in five default folders. You can also create more to segregate your messages. The folders that appear in the email program are actually files that are hidden deep inside the directory structure. It has been noticed that the folder files can be corrupted because of a malicious email, incorrect closer of the program etc. If Outlook Express is not responding on your computer, and this happens whenever you start the program, you need to delete the faulty files. The email client will create the default folders once again when it’s started. Please note that if you do delete the folder files manually you shall lose all the email stored in it so a backup is recommended. Follow the instructions below:
Click on “Tools” from the top menu and choose “Options“. Under the “Maintenance” tab, click on the “Store folder…” button. This pops up a window with the location of Outlook Express folder files. Copy this directory path (left-click and drag using mouse and then right-click and select “Copy“). Go to the “Start” button and pick up “Run” program, paste the path (right-click and select “Paste” or use CONTROL-V key combination) and click on “OK“. You’ll now be shown all the Outlook Express folder files (with the “.dbx” extension) in Windows Explorer.
Note: Since the O.E. storage files are “hidden” you would have to force Windows to display them for you. In the Explorer window, go to “Tools” -> “Folder Options” and from under the “View” tab select “Show hidden files and folders“.
If Outlook Express is unresponsive the moment you start it up, the problem probably lies with the “Inbox” folder, assuming this is the one that is displayed when the program opens. If you have problems when deleting messages, the issue is with the “Deleted Items” file – refer cannot delete email in Outlook Express.
You can either take a full backup of Outlook Express email or simply select the messages you want and drag them to a temporary folder. Thus, if you suspect problems with Outlook Express “Inbox” folder, select the important messages you want to retain and drag them to a temporary folder. Then manually delete the Inbox.dbx file and restart Outlook Express.
The last resort is to reinstall Outlook Express. But this is no longer straightforward as the program distribution has been stopped. You can try it with Internet Explorer version 6 setup file which is available from Oldversion.com. (Outlook Express set up file was bundled with the browser).
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