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The Blog of Viral Tarpara A Smart 27 year old's thoughts on Windows, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, and Productivity

How To: Fix Outlook Data Corruption

How To: Fix Outlook Data Corruption

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So I had a weird morning today.  My computer woke up from sleep a little grumpy, definitely not the typical experience which is usually smooth as a baby’s bottom.   Anyway, I fire up outlook and I’m greeted with an error that says Outlook can’t launch because the OST file is corrupted.  I sigh in annoyance because the last thing anyone wants to do is create a new OST file and transfer an entire exchange account back on to a new Outlook profile.  I quickly Googled Lived the problem and started a trouble shooting process.

Amazingly, rather than being greeted by an authoritative link to a Microsoft knowledge base like Office Online, TechNet, or MSDN, I was greeted things I’d like to classify as “crapware”.

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Which search engine is which?

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Both Google and Live were filled with a load of junk utilities.  The reality is in most cases you don’t need to download anything.  Just run one of two commands:

SCANPST.exe

SCANOST.exe

Look in your “PROGRAM FILES –> MICROSOFT OFFICE –> OFFICE 12” folder

The latter is more user friendly because it has a GUI but SCANPST is useful if you are scanning unmounted PST files.

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There you go, run SCANOST.exe your email corruption should be gone and the log file will be generated inside your “deleted items” folder in Outlook.

 

*UPDATE*

Some of you maybe wondering how in the year 2008, Outlook corruption can still be an issue.  Well, I have a theory, with Vista's sleep and hibernate experience being a huge leap ahead of XP, more and more people are choosing not to shutdown their machines.  A combination of software design choices and poor OEM hardware lacking in shock protection can lead to corruption while the machine is proverbially manhandled into the a book bag.  I have a feeling that I corrupted Outlook because I didn't wait for my machine to sleep before tossing it into my backpack.  Oddly, I postulate that if Outlook implemented its storage more like Entourage 2008, part of Office 2008 for Mac, there would be less of an issue because the file system could self-heal corruption or at least prevent a complete lock out from the application since all items wouldn't be locked away in a database.  Bottom line make sure you buy laptops that have software/hardware driven shock protection like those found in Apple or most IBM machines.

http://blogs.technet.com/extreme/archive/2008/02/19/windows-server-2008-self-healing-ntfs.aspx

 

Comments
  • I ran into this (corrupt OST) recently.  We just deleted the OST and reopened outlook (we were already on the domain).  The ost file was rebuilt.  If you are in the office, is this a valid way to resolve the problem?

  • this is absolutely valid way to do it, but it takes much longer usually depending on your quota size.  I personally had a 450MB account so on top of downloading the data, my machine would have to reindex all the items which can take A LOT more time.  As I move into a 2GB account soon, I would want to avoid your method as much as I can.

    just for reference, on my Dell D820 Core 2 Duo laptop, SCANOST took less than 5 minutes.  Your method can take up to an hour if not more depending on your quota size and usage.  You may be able to start working much sooner, but a stable state won't be reached for sometime.

  • I've tried the SCNPST.EXE, first time it couldn't repair everything, second it said "repaired".  Still can't launch Outlook 2007. It hangs on opening with the Outlook box visible.  NO error messages.  I've created a new .pst, I've created a new mail profile, I've now even created a new windows log in.. nothing works.. any other ideas?

  • Also, when I attempt to launch SCANOST.exe I get "Quite Outlook before performing a scan with the OST Integrity Checking Tool" and then "Offline synchronization is not supported by your mailbox".

  • We've had a recent rash of OST corruptions (Exchange 2003, Outlook 2007) pretty muhc since the new year.  ScanOST.exe does not fix them.  We have yet to find a cause.  Deleting the OST has been our only solution so far.

  • Recover ost data owing to repair .ost file

    www.repairost2007.ostrepairtoolbox.com

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