By now, you should have a backup program in place for your data. If not, it is certainly time to consider preparing and implementing one. If this is someone else's computer you are working on, the standard practice should be to backup their files before doing anything else.
I got the problem fixed. Here is what I did. I opened up Outlook Express and went to Tools, Options, Maintenance. I then clicked onto the tab called Store Folder which gave me a directory. I then copied and pasted that directory into the Run command window and then hit ok. That took me into a bunch of Outlook Express .dbx and .bak files.
You now need to close Outlook Express. I went to the inbox.dbx file and renamed that to inboxold.dbx I then took the inbox.bak file and renamed that to inbox.dbx The inbox.bak file was dated to yesterday's date when everything was working. You can then close out of that directory once you make those changes. I then relaunched Outlook Express and all of my missing emails were back.
That's basically how you restore your inbox off of a back up. It can also be done for the Sent and Deleted folders.
HAN--As mentioned Compacting puts emails into the Recycle Bin only under certain circumstances--all undesireable. For example. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/918069/en-u,
The rest of the time compacting acts mainly (and correctly) on the Deleted Items.dbx file. When you delete an email it disappears from Deleted Items.dbx but it really is still there until you compact.
WIN7 Ultimate SP1 64bit, IE 10, NTFS,
cable, MS Security Essentials, Windows 7 firewall