Keeping Mailboxes Happy and
Question : Whenever I close my Outlook Express program I get a pop-up
window that reads: "To free up disk space, Outlook Express can compact
messages." What does this mean and how can I get rid of the message?
The act of compacting messages is a necessary maintenance task that Outlook
performs to keep your mailbox healthy. Each of the program's mail folders —
like the in-box or out-box — is one file containing all the messages. When
that particular file gets too big, Outlook Express can become sluggish or
Even if you delete messages, the space they took up isn't freed until you
tell Outlook Express to readjust the size of the mail files, or "compact" your
mail folders — which saves disk space. (Other mail programs like Eudora or
Mozilla Thunderbird can also compact mail folders.) To help you remember to do
this and avoid mailbox problems, the Service Pack 2 update for Windows XP
reminds you to compact your messages with an alert box every 100th time you
start up Outlook Express.
If you have a large number of messages, the compacting process may take
several minutes, but it's a much better alternative to slowness and crashing
when using your e-mail program. If you don't want an alert box, you can
usually find the option to manually compact your folders under your mail
program's File menu; in Outlook Express's File menu, choose Folder and then
Compact All Folders.