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Outlook pst Problem

grahambritten
Grafter
Posts: 105
Registered: 01-08-2007

Outlook pst Problem

Can anyone suggest a solution to fix the following? I'm using OS xp Pro & Office xp. Last night Outlook was working fine and the default folders were OK, I did have content in most of the Outlook folders (Contacts, Calendar, Inbox, Tasks, ect).

Tonight go to start Outlook, error dialog displayed "Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. The file C:\Documents and Settings\Graham Britten\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.pst is not a personal folders file."

Begin to wonder what's happened, start Outlook again, this time it opens but when Outlook Today is selected in the folder list the main pane displays:- "Unable to display the folder. Microsoft Outlook could not access the specified folder location. The file C:\Documents and Settings\Graham Britten\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.pst is not a personal folders file."

Use Scanpst.exe to try to repair it, this gives an error of "The file cannot be recovered because it is not large enough to contain any useful data."

Check in Explorer, file size is shown as 0 bytes!!! with a date & time of 17 December 2003, 00:51:08 which is probably when I closed Outlook last night.

I've tried to do a System Restore from a System Checkpoint at 23:56 on the 16th and xp refuses to actually restore anything. I've also tried an earlier one made on the 15th point, still no joy.

Is there another way of restoring my Outlook.pst that did exist last night, it was probably around 60-70MB. It's got to be still on my hard disk somewhere, hasn't it?

Thanks in advance.
8 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Outlook pst Problem

I was going to suggest checking the recycle bin but the file is too big to be put in there. Do you have norton installed (i.e. protected recycle bin)?

Dosen't sound too hopeful, looks like Outlook or windows has barfed. Try searching for files >50megs to see if you can find a backup copy somewhere.

What happened to your backup - you are doing regular backups aren't you - Hmm never mind you always seen to remember after the event :roll:
N/A

Outlook pst Problem

Looks as if you had a disk caching error and the file is lost, unless you have a backup or you can find the temporary file - try c:\windows\temp ??

I run a separate extended partition for my temporary folder which is big enough to recover most files by either Norton Undelete or Restore It Pro, as well as removeable shadow drives for backups. Overkill maybe, but I still remember early 8086 systems and Spectrum Microdrives Smiley

Windows restore only restores some operating system files and registry entries, it does NOT restore your entire system and address books etc.
grahambritten
Grafter
Posts: 105
Registered: 01-08-2007

Outlook pst Problem

Thanks for the sugestions. I've now checked the recycle bin, I do have Norton installed and have just tried the UnErase Wizard, no good I'm afraid Cry

Have also tried searching for large files, no luck there either! and nothing in C:\Windows\temp

I'm afraid I don't have a back-up. New PC and only got Outlook sorted out at the weekend. Well, that's my excuse :roll:

Probably got to accept it's gone. Not too upset, I do have all the data except the Inbox sitting on my Pocket PC, just need to re-sync it once I've sorted the Outlook folder problem.

Any ideas how I can remove and then create a new Outlook folder. When I go to close it I get another error dialog:- "You cannot close the mailbox that contains your Calendar, Contacts and Inbox."

Do I just delete the Outlook.pst file and it gets re-created or do I have to re-install Office?

I will sort a back-up regime, honest! As I have a 160GB hard disk I will post a new thread for partitioning advice soon.

Thanks again for your help.
N/A

Creating new .pst files for Outlook

If you delete all outlook .pst files, restart computer and then start outlook it should create a new and empty .pst file automatically.
N/A

Outlook pst Problem

It sounds to me that this could possibly be the old PST file over 2Gb in size problem. Did you store a lot of email/attachments/contacts etc. If so then it is possible that your personal folder file is larger than 2Gb. When this happens, Outlook refuses to believe it is a valid file and promptly moans about it. There are a couple of tools you can use to get your email and other items back. One is called pst2gb which can truncate the pst file you have to one of a smaller size, leaving some items discarded. I have just uploaded this to my webspace:
http://www.stoneleydell.plus.com/files/
From there just download the pst2gb.rar file, then extract to a directy on your pc and run.
The above tool is provided by Microsoft. You can view the relevent KB article here:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;329910

Another possibility is that it may indeed be corrupt, there are various utilities you can use to correct corruption in pst files, one which is mentioned in the above Microsoft KB Article, ScanPST, can be found in your office installation directory. Details are in the article. This only repairs minor corruption. There are other programmes that can repair pst files, but at the moment I cannot think of the names of them off the top of my head and also IIRC, they are not free so you will have to weigh up the worth of the data lost.
Hope this helps.

I hope this helps (and that I'm not a little too late, only started browsing the forums today)

Matt Spooner
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Outlook pst Problem

grahambritten said in the original post it was 60->70Megs in size. Also as the pst file can no longer be found, recovery will not be possible with any of the tools mentioned.

You tool links may help others however Cheesy
N/A

Outlook pst Problem

I don't know, first post on this forum and I go ahead quoting without reading anything. Talk about making a great start. Hope my ADSL order goes a lot smoother than this.

Matt Spooner

EDIT: Having just posted this I have thought of a possible solution. See if you can get hold of a Programme called Final Data (or it's NTFS aware guise FinalData NT). This will scan the HDD on your machine for any files that have ever been present. When the scan has completed it usually turns up earlier revisions of files that are readable (even if the file in question filename hasn't changed, quite often, over time it is written to different physical (not logical) areas of the drive). I usually have great results with this programme as I use it quite often for data recovery at work.

Hope this is slightly morte helpful than my last post.

Matt Spooner
grahambritten
Grafter
Posts: 105
Registered: 01-08-2007

Outlook pst Problem - Resolved

Many thanks to everyone for their contributions.

I managed to create the Outlook.pst file, and by using my Pocket PC re-created the contents with the exception of my inbox. I did have some synch problems though! Like when I first connected the handheld it synch'd and duly deleted all the Calendar, Contacts and Tasks I had on the handheld :shock:

Fortunately for me I also synch the handheld with my work PC so I got the content back. Thinking that exactly the same would happen again when I got home and re-synch'd i simply exported a pst file from the work PC, saved it on Compact Flash card and then imported at home. Worked a treat! Cheesy

Since this glitch I've had no further problems with Outlook.