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Version 1.95 Updated 04/26/05

DOWNLOAD HERE (37 Kbytes): OETool


OETool is an enhancement of Outlook Express that provides an additional Toolbar on the Views Toolbar (Note that the Views Toolbar has to be enabled via View | Layout and checking the Views Bar checkbox).

The program has been tested in Win98, Win2000, WinXP, and Windows Server 2003. Some features only work if IE6SP1 or WinXPSP1 are installed.

OETool currently has these buttons:

Button 1:  Toggle Plain Text Mode for other messages.
This will only work with IE6SP1 or XPSP1 installed.

Button 2:  Toggle Plain Text Mode for this and other messages (my favorite)
This will only work with IE6SP1 or XPSP1 installed.

Button 3:  Toggle View Replies to my messages (for Newsgroups)

Button 4:  Toggle Group Messages by Conversation (i.e. thread messages or not)

Button 5:  Toggle Thread expansion in newsgroups

Button 6:  Switch Identities

Button 7:  Run Majik's free OEQB program (www.oehelp.com/OEBackup/)
OEQB.exe must be in the same directory as OETool.exe

Note on Version 1.95 update:
Given the instablity of the OE message store, it is increasingly important to backup frequently. Since Majik has updated OEQB, to allow for command line parameters, then its now possible to backup your OE settings and store with this single button in OETool.

Clicking this button will now backup OE completely. However, one can easily overwrite the backup with a fresh backup, and if the message store has become corrupted, then the previous backup has the potential for being overwritten by a backup of a corrupted message store.

Consequently, OETool has an optional feature, enabled by default, to backup to multiple directories:
1. If OEQB has not been run or if no directory has been set under File | Make a New Backup Folder, then OETool sets the backup folder to c:\oebk1, and when you click the Backup button, it backs up to this directory.

2. If you click the button again, then the backup is made to the c:\oebk2 directory.

3. If you click the button again, then the backup is made to the c:\oebk3 directory.

4. If you then click the button a 4th time, then the backup is once again made to the c:\oebk1 directory. Subsequent clicks will then cycle the backups through these directories.
If you do not wish to have this level of redundancy in your backups, simply run OEQB and go to File | Make a New Backup Folder and give the folder a path that does not end in 1, 2 or 3 (e.g. c:\oebk). Then clicking on the Backup button will always result in the backup being written to that folder, and what was there previously will be overwritten.

If you wish to change the default output directory, then run OEQB and go to File | Make a New Backup Folder and set it to a different directory. If you wish the redundant directories, make sure the last character of the directory path ends with a 1, 2 or 3 (e.g. d:\backups1) and the backups will cycle through those directories, or if you don't want the backup redundancy, just set it to a path without the 1,2 or 3 at the end (e.g. d:\backups).

Button 8:  Run DBXtract or DBXtend if its installed.
DBXtract.exe must be in the same directory as OETool.exe. If you have DBXtend, then it will be launched instead of DBXtract.

Button 9:  Open message fullscreen (right click or use ALT-F4 to close. Does not show images in OE 5.5.)

Button 10:  Clear the Temporary Internet Files (OE dumps lots of files in there and never clears them. This does.) The TIF button bitmap will show blue if the number of files < 1000, green, if over 1000, yellow if over 3000, and red if over 10000. This bitmap is updated only when the program starts, or the button is clicked.

Button 11:  View Header List -- This will display the message headers of the OE folder in an IE window, allowing them to be saved and printed. It also generates a CSV file (Tab delimited), "Headers.csv" in the same directory as the OETool.exe file, to enable importing of the message list into a spreadsheet or database. This feature will probably not function in Win9X.

Button 12:  View Message Source -- This will display the message source without needing to have the message opened in the preview pane.

Button 13:  Compact Current Folder -- This will compact the contents of the open folder, removing wasted space.

Button 14:  Compact All Folders -- This will compact all folders and reset the "Compact Check Count" to zero for WinXP SP2 users.
The program can be monitored in the system tray. Right clicking or double clicking the icon in the system tray will enable you to end the program.

OETool was a challenging and fun program to write. I hope you, as users of OE, enjoy it as much using it as I did writing it.


This was a rather tricky program to write, also, and there are some known things that users of version 1 will have to accomodate:
1. The Options popup screen may flicker on and off when clicking on one of the plain text toggle buttons. In some cases it has been reported that a message box pops open (used for diagnostic purposes) instead of this button working completely. It is suggest in such cases the user click the cancel button on the Options form and then try pressing the button again. If the messagebox continues to show, one can try ending the program and then restarting it to see if that fixes the problem. This issue is being investigated.

2. The Views Drop Down Combo Box may be obscured by the OETool Toolbar. This can be corrected by clicking where the Combo Box is located.

3. Although the program runs in the background, it has been reported that sometimes it does not display the toolbar in OE, if OE has not yet been started. If that is the case, end the program and then restart it.

4. OETool will not run if background compaction is enabled for the current Identity. The program will exit, if this is the case and you must disable background compaction and then restart OETool. (This is by design for security purposes).

5. If you run DBXtract from OETool, it is not recommended that you attempt to extract from a folder that is open in OE. Otherwise, there might be a collision of DBXtract operations with those of OE itself and message store damage could result.

6. Most messages that have been checked with the Fullscreen button work, but a few do not properly show images.

Version 1.00 Released 10/09/02

Version 1.10 Released 10/15/02 -- Increased localization support for other languages.

Version 1.30 Released 03/02/03 -- Fixed small bug with PT / HTML mode switching.

Version 1.50 Released 06/08/03 -- Added Expand Threads, Fullscreen, and Clear Temporary Internet Files buttons.

Version 1.60 Released 06/18/03 -- Refined Fullscreen button so it will work for more messages and International users. Added coloring to clear TIF button.

Version 1.70 Released 01/19/04 -- Added View Header List button.

Version 1.80 Released 02/01/04 -- Added Show Message Source and Compact Current Folder buttons.

Version 1.90 Released 11/17/04 -- Added Compact All Folders button.

Version 1.95 Released 04/26/05 -- Integrated OEQB with the Backup button.


NOTE: The source code for this program is not available.

The author makes no guarantees as to this software and the user, upon downloading and executing it, does so at his own risk.

OETool 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 2002-2005 © 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

You may also donate now via PayPal:

The author thanks the many who have donated to other programs and have made this one possible and, in so doing, make improvements of this program possible.


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

I'd also like to thank Michel Piétri for his assistance with localization issues, and his patience and encouragement and example.


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