Fix Outlook Express 2GB limit problem – Cannot send or receive email

Last updated on January 11th, 2016

If you face problems like you cannot receive new e-mails or you cannot send an e-mail in Outlook Express without any specific error that appears on your screen, then probably you are dealing with the 2GB storage limit problem of Outlook Express. This happens because Outlook Express has a storage limit of 2Gb for each mail folder. e.g. Inbox, Sent, Outbox etc. 


First of all, you should know that each Outlook Express mail folder has its own file for mail storage with the extension “.DBX”, (e.g. Outlook express “Inbox” folder has Inbox.dbx file for mail storage, Outlook Express “Outbox” folder has “Outbox.dbx” file for mail storage, etc.)

When any of Outlook Express files (e.g. inbox.dbx, Sent Items.dbx, Outbox.dbx, etc.) overrides the 2GB storage limit, then you cannot work with the corresponding folder anymore (e.g. If “Inbox.dbx” file overrides the 2gb storage limit, then you cannot work with Inbox folder and the symptom is that you cannot receive any new e-mails or if “Send.dbx” file overrides the 2gb storage limit then you cannot work with “Sent Items” and the symptom is that you cannot send e-mail, etc.). This happens because Outlook Express cannot put any new messages in the corresponding folder.

This tutorial shows you how to easily solve (fix) the Outlook Express 2GB limit problem.

How to solve Outlook Express 2GB limit problem:

Notice: In this example the symptom is that we cannot receive new e-mails because Inbox.dbx file (Inbox folder) has overridden the 2GB storage limit.

IMPORTANT (Before continue to the next steps):

1. Delete all unwanted e-mails from the over-sized folder.
2. Organize your e-mails. For example: under the oversized folder (e.g.: Inbox) create a separate folder and move the old mails (e.g. past year's) there.

Step 1. Find the Outlook Express store folder.

How to Find the Outlook Express store folder:

1. From Outlook Express menu, go to: “Tools” > “Options”


2. In Options menu click the “Maintenance” tab.

outlook express - general options

3. In Maintenance tab, click the “Store Folder” button.

outlook express - maintenance - store folder

4. Select the entire Outlook Express storage path and then right click on it and select “Copy”.

outlook express - store folder path

6. Press “Cancel” twice to exit Outlook Express options and then close all Outlook Express windows.

7. Double click to open My computer and in the address bar right click to paste the copied path and then press Enter.


my computer

6. From the standard buttons menu toolbar press the “UP” button to go to the parent folder.

outlook express files

Step 2. Take a backup (Copy) of Outlook Express storage folder.

1. Right click on Outlook Express folder and select “Copy”.

outlook express folder -

2.  Without closing this explorer window, open an new explorer window and “Paste” the Outlook Express folder in another disk location e.g. in the root folder of drive C:\

outlook express 2gb limit

Step 3. Delete the oversized Outlook Express file.

1. Open the first explorer window (The location where Outlook Express folder originally stored).

(e.g. C:\Documents and Settings\<your username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{AB4D….).

2. Double click to open Outlook Express folder.

outlook express folder -

3. Locate and then “Delete” the oversized .dbx file (larger than >2GB, e.g. inbox.dbx, in the above screenshot).

outlook express 2 gb limit problem

Step 4. Recreate deleted folder (Inbox) folder and then restore (Import) your emails from backup location.

1. Open Outlook Express program.*

Notice:* When Outlook Express opens, recreates the deleted folder (e.g. inbox.dbx) with a new empty folder.

2. From Outlook Express main menu, choose File > Import > Messages.

outlook express file-import-messages

3. In “Select Program” options choose “Microsoft Outlook Express 6” and press “Next”.

Microsoft outlook express 6 import

4. In “Specify Location” options, select the “Import mail from an OE6 store directory” option and choose “OK

OE6 store directory import

5. In “Location of Messages” window press “Browse” to find and select the Outlook Express backup folder which you had created in step 2. (e.g. C:\Outlook Express)

outlook express import

6. Go in the location where you copied (backup) the Outlook Express folder in step 2. (e.g. Disk C:) to select that folder and press “OK

outlook express import folder

7. After you have selected the Outlook Express backup folder press “Next”.

import outlook express folder

8. Select the Outlook Express folder that you deleted in previous step (e.g. Inbox) and press “Next

import inbox

9. Wait until the Import process is completed and then press “Finish”.

OE6 import operation -

10. Normally after import operation is completed, you can view all your e-mails again and your Outlook Express program should be working without a problem.

To avoid this problem from happening in the future, the best way is to create different folders inside Outlook Express program and organize/store the mails that you want on it.

organize outlook express messages

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