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Outlook.pst cannot be accessed... problem occurs at random intervals

Posted on 2008-06-10
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Last Modified: 2010-04-21
Several times a day Outlook stops working.  When I try to look in my Inbox folder I get the error message:

"Cannot display the folder.  The file C:\Users\Alec\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.pst is in use and cannot be accessed.  Close any application that is using this file, and then try again.  You might need to restart your computer."

Send and receive also stops working.

The problem goes away on its own after several minutes but recurs a few hours later.
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Question by:alecms
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David Lee earned 2000 total points
ID: 21755740
Hi, alecms.

My guess is that another process is accessing the PST file.  That might be an anti-virus package that's scanning, a disk management tool, a program that interfaces with Outlook, or a virus.  I recommend downloading Process Monitor (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896645.aspx) a free tool from Microsoft you can use to monitor your PST file and see what has it open.
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Author Comment

by:alecms
ID: 21763221
Thanks, this allowed me figure out that some online backup software was accessing the file and causing the problem.
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Author Closing Comment

by:alecms
ID: 31465963
You eased my pain after many hours of frustration... thank you.
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by:David Lee
ID: 21763546
You're welcome.  Glad I could help.
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Expert Comment

by:SDL1200
ID: 21968164
I am getting an error that states something similar:


"C:\Users\ChristopherHughes\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.pst cannot be accessed."

I've downloaded the process moniter, but how can I tell if it is in use by another pogram, and then correct the issue?
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