Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Solutions: Here's a trick for e-mail problems

Q. About a month ago, I received an e-mail from a friend. I can't do anything with this e-mail. When I try to open it, I get a message that reads, "Message could not be displayed. Windows Mail encountered an unexpected problem while displaying this message. Check your computer for low memory or low disk space and try again." I am running Windows Vista Home Edition and Outlook Express. I have plenty of memory and disk space. I can't open it, send it, forward it or delete it. Any ideas on how to get rid of it?

A. This problem is usually caused by a corrupt mailstore. Microsoft includes a command line utility called esentutl that can be used to check, defragment and repair the WindowsMail.MSMessageStore file. Here's how to use it: Exit out of Windows Mail. Back up your e-mail data to another folder or disk: This includes the folder C:\Users\your-username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail\ and all the subfolders as well. Note that the AppData folder is normally hidden, but if you click the Start button and then paste the complete folder spec from above and hit Enter, it will take you right there. You can also enable "View hidden files and folders" from within file explorer by clicking Tools, Folder options, View tab and look for that setting. Also note that in the folder spec I listed above, you'll need to substitute your user name (logon name) in place of "your_username." So, for me the entire folder spec would be C:\Users\john\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail\. Now that you've safely backed up that entire folder (it's important — don't skip that step) it is time to use the esentutl utility. Click the Start button and type CMD and then hit the Enter key. This will open a command window.

To repair your WindowsMail.MSMessageStore file: esentutl /p "C:\Users\your-username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail\windowsmail.msmessagestore"

To defragment your WindowsMail.MSMessageStore file: esentutl /d "C:\Users\your-username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail\windowsmail.msmessagestore"

To check the integrity of your WindowsMail.MSMessageStore file: esentutl /g "C:\Users\your-username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail\windowsmail.msmessagestore"

Q. Can I transfer Microsoft Office 2000 and related files (or other programs like Adobe Photoshop and pictures) to an external hard drive so I can use them with my laptop as well as my desktop computer? My desktop is a 5-year-old Dell running Windows XP SP2. It's getting pretty crowded.

A. Absolutely. But if you are speaking of the programs themselves, they will need to be uninstalled and then reinstalled on the external hard drive. But if you are referring to the data files used and created by these programs, then yes, they can exist anywhere. Even the USB flash drives that now come as large as 16 GB are becoming a convenient alternative.

Q. A question in regard to your April 14 column (Avoid an e-mail etiquette breach): If a user uses the BCC field to send multiple e-mails, why would we put our own address in the CC field and send ourselves a copy of the e-mail?

A. Yes, I caught that one myself, too late. What I meant was, put your own address in the "To" field and your recipients in the "BCC" field.

Send questions to or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Here's a trick for e-mail problems 04/20/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 12, 2008 4:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays set to activate Tommy Hunter from DL


    The Rays plan to activate RHP Tommy Hunter from the DL for Thursday's series finale against the Angels.

  2. Reporter says Republican candidate in Montana body-slammed him (w/video)


    HELENA, Mont. — Witnesses said the Republican candidate for Montana's sole congressional seat body-slammed a reporter Wednesday, the day before the polls close in the nationally watched special election. Authorities said late Wednesday that Greg Gianforte has been cited for misdemeanor assault over incident with …

    Greg Gianforte, right, receives congratulations from a supporter in Helena, Mont., in March. [Associated Press]
  3. Culpepper falls just short on 'Survivor' finale

    Human Interest

    In the end, Tampa lawyer Brad Culpepper fell just short, and the ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneer lost Survivor: Game Changers and the $1 million prize to Sarah Lacina, a police officer from Iowa.

  4. Families dispute claims that slain Tampa Palms roommates shared neo-Nazi beliefs


    TAMPA — Andrew Oneschuk never liked making small talk on the phone, his father said, but the last time the two spoke, something seemed off.

    Andrew Oneschuk and Jeremy Himmelman lived in a Tampa Palms apartment with Devon Arthurs and Brandon Russell. Oneschuk and Himmelman reportedly planned to move out.
  5. Brad Culpepper makes it to final 3 on Survivor, but jury picks Sarah

    The Feed

    UPDATE, WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Tampa's Brad Culpepper make it to the final 3 on Survivor, but jurors chose Sarah as the winner of the $1 million.

    Original report follows:

    "The Tables Have Turned" - Brad Culpepper, Tai Trang and Hali Ford on the fourth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment