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MBXtract -- For OE4 mail message files

Version 2.20 Updated 07/30/03


OE4 mail messages are stored in files with mbx extensions. If one saves only the mbx files from OE4, then one cannot import these messages into OE5. Since releasing DBXtract, the program to extract messages from OE5 dbx files, a number have requested a similar program for mbx files from OE4.

MBXtract.exe extracts all mail and news messages from individual mbx files.

It is a 48 Kbyte program and can be downloaded by CLICKING HERE. It requires the existence of the VB6 runtime dll, msvbvm60.dll. If you do not have that in your windows\system (or system32 for NT) directory, you can download it directly from Microsoft, by CLICKING HERE .

After installing the VB6 runtime dlls to your system directory you can then run MBXtract.exe.

The layout for the MBXtract program is the same as for the DBXtract program


The program works by reading the location of the data message stores from the Registry and then loading those into the Path combo box. It then searches the path and loads the dbx filenames that are present in that path into the File combo box. To designate an alternate path name, either type or paste into the Path combo box, the path you wish to use to the mbx file you wish to extract. If the path is correct, the mbx file will appear on the File combo box and the Extract button will be enabled.

Messages can be extracted with two different file naming procedures. The default (By Subject) names the files by the subject of the message (with all punctuation removed). Choosing the By Prefix option, allows one to specify a prefix in the text box and then all files are extracted using that prefix rather than using the message subject. With both procedures, duplicate filenames are appended with a number (e.g. filename(2)). Messages are extracted in the order they appear in the mbx file, which may be totally unrelated to the temporal sequence of the messages.

The program automatically distinguishes between news and mail messages and names the files accordingly with the respective nws and eml file extensions. MBXtract does not extract messages from OE4 news nch files, however, if news messages are located in mbx files, then it will extract them.

It also extracts messages completely intact, be they plain text messages with attachments or HTML messages.

By default, the folder in which the MBXtract program resides is the output folder and is listed in the Path textbox under Output. This path can be edited by typing or pasting in different values. The path must exist, however, or the Extract button will not appear.

Upon clicking the Extract button, the program reads in the mbx file and then extracts the messages into the designated folder. The program can be aborted in progress by clicking on the Cancel button. The program can be terminated by clicking the X box in the upper right hand corner.


IMPORTANT: While the program only reads the mbx files, it is important that OE4 (if present) is closed when the program is in use. The program itself does not modify any mbx files or any files associated with OE.

It is unwise to run the program from the Desktop, if one allows for the default output path to be the Desktop, as then all messages will be extracted there, and if the file contains several hundred messages, then the Desktop will be overfilled. It is best to run the program from an empty directory or designate the output path to such.

MBX files can get rather large and the larger the file, the more memory will be utilized by the program. In addition it will run more slowly with larger files and larger messages. With very large files, one might encounter an "Out of Memory" error. It is best to compact the mbx files if possible, to minimize their size, but it is not necessary to compact them in order for the program to function accurately. With uncompacted folders, however, more messages or some partial messages may be extracted than the number that OE indicates are in the folder.


The author makes no guarantees as to this software and the user, upon downloading and executing it, does so at his own risk. However, and any risk would appear to be minimal (except as stated above with respect to OE being open simultaneously).

MBXtract is free. It may not be sold or used for promotional purposes, but may be distributed freely in its present form. The program is Copyright 1999 - 2003 © Stephen L. Cochran, Ph.D. and all rights are reserved under international agreements.

Donations are accepted, however, and they may be sent without implied obligation to :

S.L. Cochran, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 132
Lookout Mountain, TN 37350


The author is greatly indebted to Majik for his valuable debugging assistance and suggestions during the period of development of this project.

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Copyright 1999 - 2010 Stephen L. Cochran, Ph.D., MS-MVP
All rights reserved under international agreements.