Fixing a Corrupted Outlook Personal
Folders File Problem
Last updated: 1/12/02
Situation: Outlook 2000 running on
an Windows Me PC accessing Personal Folders in a file on a Windows NT 4.0
server with an old hard disk that was having problems. The personal
folders were in a large file (186 MBytes) that could not be copied. I
received a cyclic redundancy disk error when trying to. The only good
backup was seven months old. Outlook could still open the file and
display the inbox, etc. It had previously alerted me to the problem
with an error stating that the Inbox Repair Tool should run.
Knowledgebase Article Q197315 provides details on using the Inbox
Repair Tool, which is really a Personal Folders repair tool.
Things I Tried and a Trick That Worked...
I searched the C: drive with the Windows Explorer
for scanpst.exe, which is the Inbox Repair Tool, double-clicked it to execute
the program and pointed it to mailbox.pst (the default name for the file
is Personal Folders.pst), unchecked the save file option, and it quit after
running for a period of time far short of the time I thought would take to
process a file that large. The date of the file and size did not change.
I tried compacting the file (Tools, Services,
Personal Folders, Properties... ) hoping that would make the file smaller,
get rid of the bad spot in the file and allow me to copy it. It ran
very briefly, did not change the date of the file, and the file still could
not be copied.
I ran the archive function on the file (File,
Archive), it worked, but found a couple of files (nothing important) and
copied messages that were over three months old to another file, archive.pst.
I ran the compact function again, it ran longer,
and changed the date of the file. The file was a little smaller, but
still could not be copied.
Back to archive... I set the date so
it would archive everything and that worked loosing several insignificant
messages. So, now I had managed to save most everything to the C: drive
Quit Outlook... Start, Settings, Control
Panel, Mail. Removed Personal Folders, Added Personal Folders, and told it
to make them on the C: drive. This is handy if you want to move the
personal folders and have Outlook find them in the new location instead of
finding none in the old location, and trying to install defaults, etc. and
downloading new mail to them before you have the opportunity to direct it
to the desired location of the Personal Folders.
Fired-up Outlook and found I had new set of
default Personal Folders with nothing in them. File, Open, Personal
Folder File (.pst) for both the archive.pst and the old mailbox.pst, copied
what I wanted from both to the new Personal Folders, and closed both of them. Problem
fixed and old mail and folders were cleaned-up in the process.
If Outlook downloaded some mail to a .pst
file that wasn't where you wanted it downloaded, simply search C: with the
Windows Explorer to find the file, run Outlook, File, Open Personal Folder
File (.pst), direct it to the location of the file, and copy the messages
to the folders you desire.