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Exchange 2003 Outlook 2003 Export to .PST File Unknown Error dialog box.

Posted on 2006-05-09
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I am running Outlook 2003 on Windows XP SP2.  I have a public mail folder on the exchange server which I export to a .pst file each month.  Normally everything works fine.  I end up with a .pst file with about 18,000 messages totaling about 1 gig.

This month when I try and run it it runs for awhile and then quits and gives me and "Unkown Error" dialog box in which your only option is to click OK.  It does create a partial PST file, but not complete.

My question is:  What types of things can cause the "Unknow Error"?  Could there be a "bad" message that causes it to quit?  Are there certain types or sizes of email or email attachments that are not compatible with .pst files?

I would appreciate any help in troubleshooting this.  Thanks
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Question by:jsebok
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LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:war1
ID: 16643388
Greetings, jsebok !

Unknown error could be caused by a corrupted PST file or one that is too large.  The latter is not the case.

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Best wishes!
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Author Comment

by:jsebok
ID: 16643411
Thank war1,

I'm actually exporting the contents to create a new .pst file.  Are you suggesting that the .pst is becoming corrupt as it is being created?

The source folder is on the exchange server.  Is it possible that there is some kind of corruption with the exchange folder?  Is there a repair for that?

Thanks
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LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:war1
ID: 16643492
jsebok, you wrote

>> I have a public mail folder on the exchange server which I export to a .pst file each month.  Normally everything works fine.   I end up with a .pst file with about 18,000 messages totaling about 1 gig.

I am referring to the PST file above, the one that you add to monthly, that may be corrupt.  So that is the one that you need to repair.
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Author Comment

by:jsebok
ID: 16643517
I'm creating a new .PST each month using the Export to a file wizard.
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LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:war1
ID: 16643550
jsebok,

Thanks for the clarification. So the unknown error is coming from Exchange, not from PST file.  Does the "Unknown error" happen after a particular action, like sending or receiving?
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Author Comment

by:jsebok
ID: 16643599
I would guess Outlook is creating the error.  I'm using the Export to a file wizard in Outlook to copy the contents of a folder in my Exchange mailbox to a .pst file.  It usually works, but this time the export quits early with the message "Unknown Error".  It is about 3000 messages short of the source exchange folder which makes me wonder if one particular message is causing it to dump.
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LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:war1
ID: 16643818
If the error occurs at the same point each time, it could be a corrupt email.

Also, the size of the PST, 1GB, is a concern.  Although Outlook 2003 allows PST file to be ~20GB, 1 GB is still a large file to use.  You may want to keep your PST file to around 500 MB or less.
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Author Comment

by:jsebok
ID: 16643902
Do you know of any tools to help identify the offending message?  I'm pretty sure it isn't size related.  I was able to export the first half of the messages without problems, but the second half failed.  I suspect the bad message is in that group, but that is 8,000 messages to sort though.  I was hoping there would be an easier way to find the problem then the process of elimination.
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Accepted Solution

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war1 earned 1500 total points
ID: 16643995
I suspect a file with a large attachment. But I do not know of a tool to identify such email.
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Author Comment

by:jsebok
ID: 16651733
Thanks.  I guess I'll just work through them in batches until I can whittle it down to the bad one.  Thanks for your help.
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LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:war1
ID: 16651920
jsebok,

Why the C grade?  I help you identify the area where the problem is coming from.  See the Grading Guidelines:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/help.jsp#hi73

Grading at Experts Exchange is NOT like school. Here's what EE says: Although we use an A-D scale here at Experts Exchange, it works differently than, say, school grades. If one or more Experts' proposals are accepted as answers, they should usually be given an A or B grade, since they have taken the time to provide you with a working solution. If a possible solution is incomplete - ask for clarification or details before accepting the answer and grading it. People should not be given lower grades because of incorrect grammar or because you just accepted their answer or comment to close the question. Keep in mind, your question and any follow-up comments should be focused so that there can be a specific answer. The following is a good guideline to follow when grading:

        * A: The Expert(s) either provided you with a thorough answer or they provided you with a link to information that thoroughly answered your question. An "A" can also be given to any answer that you found informative or enlightening beyond the direct question that you asked.
        * B: The Expert(s) provided an acceptable solution, or a link to an acceptable solution, that you were able to use, although you may have needed a bit more information to complete the task.
        * C: Because Experts' reliability are often judged by their grading records, many Experts would like the opportunity to clarify if you have questions about their solutions. If you have given the Expert(s) ample time to respond to your clarification posts and you have responded to each of their posts providing requested information; or if the answers, after clarification, lack finality or do not completely address the issue presented, then a "C" grade is an option. You also have the option here of just asking Community Support to delete the question.
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Author Comment

by:jsebok
ID: 16652969
Well, in my original question I proposed that in might be a "bad" message and was looking for what kinds of things define a "bad" message and how I might identify it.  You were only able to suggest that "I suspect a file with a large attachment. But I do not know of a tool to identify such email." That really doesn't get me much closer to a solution.  I do appreciate your quick responses and patience in clarifing the problem.

After re-reading the grading criteria I agree that a "C" is not appropriate.  I would be willing to change it to a "B".  Is there a way to revise my grade?    
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Author Comment

by:jsebok
ID: 16666630
Thank you.
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