Microsoft Outlook Express Email Extraction

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 10, 2009
Updated • Jun 8, 2017
Email, Microsoft Outlook

Undbx is a free program for Windows that allows you to extract email messages stored in Outlook dbx database files.

Microsoft Outlook Express emails are stored in so called dbx database files. The database files are named after the folder that is displayed in the email program. The only exception to that rule is the folder folders.dbx which includes information on all Outlook folders but has no direct representation in the Outlook interface.

The dbx files are not really accessible by normal means, the only way is to either use Microsoft Outlook,  or extract the messages from the dbx fileto access them directly.


UnDBX is a command line utility that can extract the email messages found in Microsoft Outlook dbx files. It extracts them into the more versatile eml format which can then be accessed and viewed in text editors or email clients. The eml format is more widely supported, which means it can also be opened (or imported) in various email clients.

The command to extract dbx files is undbx DBX-DIRECTORY OUTPUT-DIRECTORY. The program extracts email messages of all dbx files in the selected directory automatically. The developer added a vbs script (Visual Basic) that offers a graphical user interface for the same process. It displays a file browser that can be used to select the source directory, and the destination directory for the eml output files. The source directory needs at least one dbx file for the process to work properly.

Other commands are available, and the recover option to rescue email messages from corrupt .dbx files seems to be the most useful one in this regard.

To use it, simply run undbx --recover DBX-DIRECTORY OUTPUT-DIRECTORY to do so. This may help you when the mail database is otherwise not readable anymore.

UnDBX is a small command line tool that can be useful in certain situations. The developer has created it to facilitate fast incremental backups of .dbx files. Other tools that might be of interested are the Outlook Express Message Extractor and the Windows Live Mail And Microsoft Outlook Mail Viewer.


The free open source tool undbx is useful when it comes to Outlook Express .dbx files. It enables you to convert the email messages to the widely used eml file format, or recover emails from a corrupt Outlook email file.

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  1. ZungBang said on May 15, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    UnDBX v0.20 is now available with a recovery mode for corrupted DBX files and improved user interface.

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