Don't Let Outlook Express Get Too Big!

Important Note: If you are still using Outlook Express, I urge you to migrate to another safer email program. There are several email programs that are free and will not cause as many problems as Outlook Express.  A popular replacement for Outlook Express is Thunderbird.

How Big is Your Outlook Express?

It seems like a lot of folks (including me) are email packrats. We keep everything we receive. Some of us move stuff (emails) into folders using rules, but even then the Inbox has a tendency to grow and grow until it is totally unmanageable.

The problem with a huge Inbox, besides the fact that you can't find anything, is a size limit to Outlook Express and once Outlook Express gets to the size limit, well, goodbye to your email! The 2 gig size limit sounds like a lot and it really is a lot.

There is a question concerning this size, if this size limit is for each folder or for all of Outlook Express. However, to avoid loss or corruption it is best to keep OE down to size.

If you keep all those attachments you receive they can add up before you know it. Movie files, photos, etc can sometimes be pretty big and all of them count toward the size limit. Next thing you know, everything has disappeared once the limit is reached.

(To find out the size of your Outlook Express, first change the location of the Store folder. Then right click on the folder and select Properties. The Properties dialog box should tell you the size. You can also open the folder and right click on each .dbx file to find the size for each folder.)

If this happens to you, there are some things you can do to 'whittle' Outlook Express down to size.

Before you get bit by the size limit in Outlook Express, perform some maintenance.

Move emails into folders by creating some rules. It is very easy to create a rule in Outlook Express. Make a rule for Mom's emails and Outlook Express will move them into the 'Mom' folder every time you get a missive from Mom. Make rules for everyone you receive email from on a regular basis. This will reduce the size of the Inbox which sometimes gets corrupted and has to be deleted. Never keep important emails in the Inbox! And never, never keep folders in the Inbox! Put folders in Local folders! And please, never store email in the Deleted folder! (There are known instances of people doing that.)

Create some folders in My Documents for those attachments and save the attachments to those folders. Then delete those attachments from Outlook Express. If you send a lot of email, keep the 'Sent' folder cleaned out on a regular basis. Some people like to keep their sent email for awhile and that's ok, just don't keep it there forever!

Once you have moved the emails into folders, saved the attachments to folders in the My Documents folder, deleted all of the emails you don't really need to keep, things look a lot better. But you aren't through yet! Empty the Deleted folder! Now click on Tools/Options and click the Maintenance tab. Click the 'Clean Up Now...' button and then select 'Compact'. This will finally remove all of the deleted messages.

Just because you have a nice clean Outlook Express, don't be misled into thinking your Outlook Express is safe. Remember your computer could crash, you could get a virus and other things could effect your Outlook Express. So back OE up frequently!