It started with a phone call. Just the way these things always do.
The voice at the end of the line told me that it was no longer possible to receive email. Any attempts resulted in failure with an error message which was a number ending in "133".
My first reaction was not to panic. Why? Well, the email server is a bit like a clockwork machine - it either works or it doesn't. It does its work for many different customers. If it was a server fault I would have been looking at a much wider problem. And I already knew it was working for me because I had my usual set of early morning emails cascading into my inbox.
However, it doesn't do to assume anything when dealing with a fault. First principles are always a useful starting point so I started to go through a few basic things with the customer.
This is how I set about diagnosing the problem:
- What was the error message? Unfortunately the customer was not able to tell me that so I went on to the next step
- Does the computer have internet access? Can the computer access any websites now? The answer was yes. So not a connection issue.
- The same email account is accessed by a laptop and a mobile phone - were they having any trouble getting their email? The answer was no. So now we knew we were looking at a problem specific to one machine.
- I then set up a monitor of the mailserver's error messages and got the customer to attempt a Send/Receive. I could see the machine log in and the retrieval process stop.
- And at last an error message 0x800c0133. Gosh. Thanks Microsoft. That's really helpful! But at least there's Google...
- ...which, after sifting through the usual useless suggestions, pointed to a corrupt/full inbox file.
A quick ferret through the computer revealed that yes the inbox.dbx file was 1.99GB in size and simply could not get any bigger.
The solution to 0x800c0133 - what I did
- I checked that the system had been recently backed up.
- I copied all messages from the inbox and sub-folders to another folder(s). This takes time as 2G is quite a lot of data.
- I closed down Outlook Express.
- I navigated to where inbox.dbx is stored in the file system.
- I moved inbox.dbx to the desktop (as a precaution in case anything should have gone wrong).
- I restarted Outlook Express which automatically generated a nice clean empty Inbox Folder.
- I pressed Send / Receive and viewed the successful download of all the outstanding emails.
- The old Inbox.dbx file sitting on the desktop was deleted.
So that's how I fixed this 0x800c0133 problem.
I do this sort of thing every day and it doesn't scare me!
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