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pfbackup will not access the file because another process has locked a portion of the file

A friend has a laptop using Office 2003 (fully patched) and has been using pfbackup without any problems for months. Ten days ago when invoking the save file option after exiting Outlook as usual he started getting the message

Cannot copy Outlook: Process cannot access the file because another process has locked a portion of the file.

The same message is displayed when any attempt to manually copy the file is made, either using right-click drag or send-to; obviously with Outlook shut down at the time this is attempted.

I will try removing and reinstalling pfbackup tomorrow when I visit but has anyone got any ideas what might have caused this?

The second backup (archive.pst) runs OK. A detect and repair has not sorted the problem.

I am not yet sure if the machine is totally virus clean but no alerts have been given....

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rogerleclercq
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rogerleclercq
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2 Solutions
 
AndreDekoltaCommented:
Hello rogerleclercq!

I think you'll that although Outllook is closed, the process is still running.  Check it.

Andre...
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upul007Commented:
Most probably the pst is corrupted. If the re-install does not work, take a backup of the pst and create a new outlook profile and then import the emails into outlook. Then check whether the program works. Of course, if there are other programs also accessing outlook even if it is closed or if the program does not close properly when outlook closes, this can happen as well.
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war1Commented:
Greetings, rogerleclercq !

1. See the various reasons that Outlook is not closed and is accessing the file
http://www.slipstick.com/problems/close.htm

2. If no joy, check if the PST file is corrupt or oversize
ScanPST
http://www.emailaddressmanager.com/outlook/repair.html
OR
Outlook Recovery
http://www.officerecovery.com/outlook/index.htm   Demo recovery

Repair a 2GB Outlook Personal Folder
http://www.slipstick.com/problems/repair2gbpst.htm


Best wishes!
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rogerleclercqAuthor Commented:
1. Andre: The outlook.exe process DOES continue to run after closing outlook but even ending the process does not free up the block on making any kind of copy of the .pst file.
2. upul007: I cannot take a backup of the .pst file as you suggest. This is the problem, not the solution.
3. war1: Thanks for comprehensive advice. So far I have not succeeded in identifying which program might be keeping outlook open (but I don't think this is the real problem anyway - see above) but have identified possible causes as...
A: Regular inbox manipulation by moving emails out into another folder to keep size down. Then copying these .pst folders to a flash-drive and failing to properly operate the "safe to remove" facility (with outlook of course running)
B: Presence of a trojan (now removed)
I have succeeded in making a copy of the .pst file in Safe Mode without networking ...my next step will probably be to repeat this and then substitute this file for the original .pst. However at this time the original .pst file is still operative; displaying no evidence that it is not fully functional; but it still can neither be copied nor can pfbackup work it. The file is just 260Mb so not pushing the envelope although I think this might be misinformation because copying it in safe mode took about 6 minutes!!!
It is like it has an attribute that blocks copying except in safe mode.... any ideas?

It is difficult to have undisturbed access to this machine as the CEO hovers constantly, wanting it back!!!!

I will report on further progress in due course - meanwhile suggestions welcome.
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upul007Commented:
Try to copy the pst once you have logged on in safe mode. Then see if my suggestion can be done.
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war1Commented:
rogerleclercq,

Any luck getting access to machine and checking if PST file is corrupt?
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rogerleclercqAuthor Commented:
Hi war1
I don't know how to check if a .pst file is corrupt. My understanding is that a corruption of the file is likely to be flagged up when you try to open Outlook. This one behaves itself perfectly until it is subjected to a copy command. Are there any tests for corruption you can suggest? Should I offer it a bribe? (Sorry, bad joke) I guess what I would like is to identify how to re-enable the copy function and also identify what caused the problem so I can avoid a recurrence.
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war1Commented:
I wrote about how to check for corrupted file above

2. If no joy, check if the PST file is corrupt or oversize
ScanPST
http://www.emailaddressmanager.com/outlook/repair.html
OR
Outlook Recovery
http://www.officerecovery.com/outlook/index.htm   Demo recovery

Repair a 2GB Outlook Personal Folder
http://www.slipstick.com/problems/repair2gbpst.htm

Also, have you gone through and see what program may be interfering with copying?
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rogerleclercqAuthor Commented:
war1
Sorry - I was assuming that if no message was received on starting outlook as per your first link QUOTE
When your Outlook PST file is damaged, Microsoft Outlook will try to automatically repair the damaged file: when you start Outlook, you will see a start window telling you that Outlook is attempting to repair your mailbox folders....UNQUOTE
Such messages do not present so I had figured the "tinny inbox repair tool" was not the answer...but I will scan the file as a next step.

I have printed the content of all your recommended links and hope to attack the issues tomorrow or the following day when I get back on site....

I don't know quite how to identify which program might be interfering with the copy other than ending tasks one by one until the culprit is identified by the problem disappearing. However, I feel this approach in my hands is far more likely to fatally damage the OS than to find the cause. Any helpful hints in this area would be most appreciated.
Thanks for your advice.
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rogerleclercqAuthor Commented:
Problem is diagnosed and resolved. The program causing Outlook to remain open was Intuit QuickBooks which had been installed using an option to link invoicing and other functions to email using Outlook. Result was a complete disabling of ability to backup or copy the pst file. Just brilliant! This link was easily discovered by using Process Explorer, a free utility from sysinternals.com which was suggested by a colleague of mine. I am surprised that this fast and easy solution (it took less than one minute to download, run and identify the problematic link) was not offered by any of the experts on this site although it was evident from the message that this was the problem. However - be warned that ending the process not only frees the pst file for copying but corrupts the QuickBooks installation so if there is data involved take care!
War1 - You get most of the points because your first suggestion was correct except you could not know that the rogue program in this instance was not actually listed as a potential problem at slipstick.com. This should shortly be corrected because I have advised them.
I hope this note closes the matter and I'll try and split the points now.
Roger le Clercq
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war1Commented:
Roger, glad you found the problem program.  I should have advise Process Explorer as well as System Configuration Utility. Procress Explorer is a good program, but for some users, they have difficulty interpreting the logs.
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