Outlook 2003 CRC errors, how to fix and possible fragmented HD relationship

THE OVERALL GOAL HERE IS TO MOVE THE EMAILS TO A NEW PC. My question is whether a defragmented disk can cause a Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) error in Outlook OR that error is NEVER related to a fragmented disk. PLEASE NOTE THAT how to get rid of the error is secondary here. I have the MS KB article on how to address this error, please DO NOT reply with the link to that article !!! The reason I am posting here is I suspect that that KB article (at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/319128 and then http://support.microsoft.com/kb/287497  )    only works if the problem was caused by improper closing of the pst file and will NOT FIX the problem if it was caused SOLELY OR PARTLY by a highly defragmented disk. Because after running chkdsk and scanpst.exe YOU STILL HAVE A HIGHLY DEFRAGEMENTED DISK.

NOTE: The HD in question has only 7% free space left.

BACKGROUND: I get Cyclic Redundancy Check when I try to copy my Outlook.pst file (1.4 GB in size, Outlook 2003, Windows XP SP2) on my OLD PC. I also get the same error when I open some subolders in my Outlook email but do not get that error on other subfolders. I sometimes get that error when I try to EXPORT the emails but mostly not.

I also get a message whenever I open Outlook that the outlook.pst file has been improperly closed and needs to be checked. Then there is a 3-5 minute delay with a progress bar while it checks the pst files and then Outlook starts and the email is displayed. If I then close Outlook and reopen it I STILL GET THE SAME ERROR. OBVIOUSLY THIS ERROR IS RELATED TO THE CYCLIC REDUNDANCY CHECKS, RIGHT?

And YES the pst file has been improperly closed many times in the past because if the PC is connected to the internet, Outlook freezes and then the entire PC freezes as soon as Send/Receive starts. So then I must abrubtly power down the PC which means the pst file was improperly closed.THE ABOVE RESULTS ARE ACHIEVED ONLY by pulling the ethernet cable out of the PC so Outlook does not freeze.

Now if I EXPORT the entire pst file (checking the Include Subfolders box) and import the result on the new PC, I FIRST from the Export, get a pst file that is 1/5 the size (about 300 MB) of the original pst file and sure enough when I look in Outlook on the new PC, many many emails are missing.


OK, why do I think that the problem is that the HD is fragmented given the error at opening Outlook about the pst file was imporperly closed?

(A) Because there is ALSO an older Outlook.pst file dated 1 1/2 years ago that DOES COPY AND DOES NOT HAVE ANY CRC ERRORS ASSOCIATED WITH IT. When this file was current there was 1.5 more free space on this HD meaning it had about 20% free space.

(B) When I Export (old PC) and then Import on the new PC I notice that the missing emails are all from Sept. 2006 to March 2007. i.e As the file got bigger and bigger (later dates) the HD got more and more fragmented so it is the later-in-time emails that are missing because they are the ones with the CRC error. NOW THIS POINT (B) IS ONLY A THEORY but it is a theory that makes some sense.


Please reply if you know the answer.


Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

mgross333Author Commented:
Regarding the MS KB article (the links are in my Question above) there is a problem unrelated to the fragmented HD thing. The first step in the KB article is to make a backup copy of the outlook.pst file. OBVIOUSLY WHOEVER WROTE THE ARTICLE NEVER HAD THE PROBLEM. Because as I mentioned above the pst file CAN NOT BE COPIED !! And a google search reveals that others who have had this problem within Outlook can also not copy the pst file.

Now sure enough the copy is for safety (as chkdsk and scanpst might make the problem worse); it is not essential to make a copy but it nonetheless is a problem with that KB article.

Also one might ask, why not just try the KB article and see if it works. BECAUSE I FIX PCS FOR A LIVING AND THIS WHOLE THING IS FOR MY CUSTOMER. And customers do not pay me to 'TRY THINGS" !!!  I do not want to go back unless I have a PROBABLE solution.

I also have found a forum post saying the person ran chkdsk /f and it did not fix this problem. And another post saying it took all night before scanpst.exe finished !!!

My question is posted here to get a little more certainty about this before I go back and charge my customer a lot of $$ and achieve nothing.

Hi mgross333,

The Cyclic Redundancy is due to a problem with the hard drive and not Outlook.

I would bootup from the XP installation CD and go directly to the recovery console. Once you are at the DOS prompt, run  CHKDSK /F  from there. Yes, this will take a LONG time. Perhaps overnight depending on the problems with the drive and it's size.
As for the defrag, I would concentrate on fixing the drive first.

Do not export your email. I know you said you couldn't but, never export, always copy the pst with Outlook closed.

Got to go for now. Let us know how you do.

mgross333Author Commented:
Frankco and other EE Outlook Experts,


> The Cyclic Redundancy is due to a problem with the hard drive and not Outlook.

Sorry but I can not agree.
#1 When I copy the 1/2 GB Outlook.pst file dated 7/4/06 (an archive) it does not give me a CRC error. Nor does ANY OTHER OPERATION on this PC fail; the error only occurs when accessing subfolders in Outlook AND when copying the current Outlook.pst file to HD or USB stick and sometimes when exporting from Outlook.

i.e there is NO GENERAL problem on the PC with CRC errors, only within Outlook.

#2 The CRC error message in every case says the problem is with the Outlook.pst file.

#3 If you go to the link in my Question http://support.microsoft.com/kb/319128 you will see a MS KB article titled ""Data Error (Cyclic Redundancy Check)" Error Message When Outlook Downloads E-mail".
Furthermore farther down that page it says that IF "chkdsk /f" fails to solve the problem then one should go to
"287497 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/287497/) How to use the Inbox Repair Tools to recover e-mail messages in Outlook 2002 and Outlook 2003 " and run a prrogram called ScanPst. exe . i.e "pst" as in Outlook.pst . WHAT OTHER KIND OF FILE HAS THAT EXTENSION "pst" OTHER THAN OUTLOOK DB FILES ??

I mean MS recommends you run scanpst to fix the problem; that is NOT a general purpose HD repair program like chkdsk, right ???

I believe the above three points PROVE that this is an Outlook problem.

(2) Furthermore regarding
>....run  CHKDSK /F  from there. Yes, this will take a LONG time. Perhaps overnight depending on the problems with the drive and it's size.

I said (in my OWN reply to my Question, did you read it??) that another forum post said that RUNNING SCANPST.EXE TOOK ALL NITE, NOT chkdsk .

Please reply again on the QUESTIONS I raised, like whether a highly deframented HD could BE THE SOLE CAUSE OF THIS PROBLEM. I emphaised that I am looking for replies to specific questions here.

(3) Regarding
> Do not export your email. I know you said you couldn't ...
Again, that is NOT what I said. I SAID that I **COULD** export but that the exported outlook.pst file was 1/5 the size of the Original and was missing many emails.

(4) Regarding
> As for the defrag, I would concentrate on fixing the drive first.
Again, not what I said. I asked if a fragmented HD could CAUSE a CRC error in Outlook. I did not ask if I should defrag the HD to solve the problem.

EE Experts, do not tell me what you know about CRC errors. Read (not scan, READ) my Question and my own first reply (an addendum to my Question) and reply to what I asked about.


Big Business Goals? Which KPIs Will Help You

The most successful MSPs rely on metrics – known as key performance indicators (KPIs) – for making informed decisions that help their businesses thrive, rather than just survive. This eBook provides an overview of the most important KPIs used by top MSPs.

Hi mgross333,
#1 and 2. Not every case is the CRC error caused by a corrupted pst. If the current pst file exist on the hard drive, in the location where there is a problem, then yes Outlook will be the only thing that causes the CRC error.  It may be a weak spot on the hard drive. The data may still be there but, Outlook is having problems "reading" it. If the corruption on the hard drive caused the corruption of the pst then your client may be in a bad situation and will loose some messages.  http://www.howto-outlook.com/faq/crcerror.htm

Just Outlook personal folder files, such as outlook.pst, personal psts, archives. Look in File ~ File Data Management to see what the user has created besides the normal <profilename>.pst

Scanpst is to repair the structure of an Outlook pst file only. It does not repair the HD.
(b) I'm saying DON'T export the email messages. I don't care if you CAN. Always copy the pst.  Too many things can go wrong when you export from Outlook.

#2 I read your post! I'm saying that chkdsk /f will take a long time.

In my opinion a highly defragmented disk is not causing the CRC problem and, I don't think it would. The problem is a bad or weak spot on the hard drive where the pst is located. This explains scanpst taking forever to run as it is getting tripped up by the bad spot on the hard drive. This also explains the error message saying that Outlook was not closed properly.

I would create a new pst and copy what emails you can from the old pst to the new one. This is to get as much data backed up as possible. Your client will probably lose some emails.
After you get as many emails calendar entries, tasks notes backed up as you can, move the new pst to the other computer.
Once you copied the new pst run chkdsk /f from the recovery console of the XP installation disk. Hopefully this will correct the problem on the hard drive and you can recover the other emails you were not able to.


mgross333Author Commented:

Thanks for your latest reply.

(1) The important part is your saying the problem is probably a bad spot on HD rather than fragmentation of the HD. THIS IS EXTREMELY BAD NEWS FOR MY CUSTOMER unless he wants to spend $1500 for my partner, a disk recovery compay, to deal with this. And even then, he will not get all the lost emails.

(2) Regarding your suggestion
> I would create a new pst and copy what emails you can from the old pst to the new one

HOW ON EARTH DO I DO THAT ?? EXPORT IS THE WAY OUTLOOK PROVIDES TO DO THAT AND YOU SAY TO NOT USE EXPORT !!! Please be fairly specific and detailed in your answer. i,e Mike, Open Outlook, click this, then select that, and so on.

Please note that as of right now, EXPORT has moved a lot of emails to the new PC including about 2/3 of the subfolders. It has not had the same success with emails in the Inbox and Sent folders (BOTH IMPORTANT FOR THIS CUSTOMER) DATED SEPT 06 OR LATER. Before that date, it has done a good job with the Inbox and Sent folders. Please note that I export to a pst file not to some other format so no conversion is required and GIVEN THAT I CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY YOU ARE RECOMMENDING AGAINST IT.

Nonetheless hundreds of emails that I can see in Outlook on the old PC are not appearing in the Exported file.

(3) And the Archived Outlook.pst file from July 06 has no CRC errors and has completely moved thousands of emails to the new PC. (In your terms, this file is probably not on the part of the HD with the bad spot).

(4) At 3 PM EST today, a Microsoft Outlook Escalation Engineer (not someone in India who has only book learning but someone from MS Corp HQ in Redmond, WA who actually knows something !!!) will call me and I will ask him the same questions I asked you.


   Michael Gross

Hi mgross333,

2. To create a new pst, click on File ~ Data File Management ~ Add ~ select Office Outlook Personal folders. Select the location where you want this .pst file to be.
Once you create the new pst, it will show up in the Navigation pane on the left side of the Outlook window. Now that you can see the new and the old psts in the Navigation pane, you can simpley drag the emails over from the old pst to the new pst.

As for exporting from Outlook, ask any Microsoft MVP and they will tell you the same. Sue Mosher MVP, author of  Microsoft Outlook Programming, Milly Staples MVP, Brian Trillium MVP, Russ Valitine MVP, Diane Poremsky MVP, President and CEO of CDOLive LLC, Outlook Tips website ,http://www.outlook-tips.net/about.htm , Roady (Robert Sparnaaij), co author of Configuring Microsoft Outlook 2003  . They all say the same thing. Do Not Export.  Search Outlook 2003 export in Google groups. A good example is the first link below. Read the comment from Russ.

The main reason copying a pst rather than exporting from Outlook is that it is safer. If Outlook encounters a program error or if a third party addin causes problems the export will be corrupt. When you copy a pst, you are not relying on Outlook, just Windows explorer to do the job. Also, importing into Outlook will break connections and some custom forms.

Microsoft will probably not give you this same advice in their KB articles. I prefer to listen to the experts who are reconized by Microsoft for their knowledge of the product.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
mgross333Author Commented:

MS Outlook Expert and also Data Recovery firm agreed with with you that the problem is with the HD and is specifically bad sectors. The rest of your posts they do not agree with at all and running chkdsk will in fact make the problem worse. THE ONLY SOLUTION IS AN EXPENSIVE DISK RECOVERY COMPANY. Although emails ENTIRELY within a bad sector are lost forever, they feel a disk recovery company can get BACK a lot of the emails in subfolders that open with CRC errors and many many emails that do not export. AND THAT THERE IS NO OTHER SOLUTION.  I have received an email from Microsoft Outlook Expert CLEARLY making that statement.

Hi mgross333,

I agree with MS about th chkdsk. The bad spot spreading while using chkdsk is a real and likely possibiltiy. Thanks for reminding me about that.

Most people do not want to spend the 1500 bucks and that's their only option. If chkdsk finds a bad sector and succesfully moves the data to a good sector, it will work. Not always but sometimes.
Good luck. Let us know how you do.

mgross333Author Commented:

My customer runs a business with ???? employees (software engineers) in Russia. The missing emails are almost all business emails. $1500 viewed as a business expenditure is not a lot of money. However, I have not yet received a decision on how he wants to proceed on this. (He is in Russia till next Tuesday 4/3/07).

It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.