Place Outlook Express in Work Offline mode:
File > Work Offline Empty the Deleted Items folder in Outlook Express.
Close down Outlook Express (still in Work Offline mode), then restart the computer.
After the computer has restarted, immediately start Outlook Express and try compacting the folders again.
Do not do anything else on the computer while Outlook Express is compacting.
When the compaction process has completed, return Outlook Express back online:
File > Work Offline
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