How can I reduce my huge (>6GB) Outlook 2007 pst file size while using IMAP?

Posted on 2009-04-21
Last Modified: 2013-11-29
I use MS Outlook 2007 and recently had issues with my pst file not closing properly.  Now, the dreaded "gears" icon in the lower right corner is seemingly permanent, saying "Data file check in progress."  I've found a lot of information on what might have initially caused the problem, and have implemented some fixes, but I don't know if the fixes are working because that gears icon has never gone away (it's been days now).

I assume this is because Outlook is trying to complete a scan of the pst file, which I just realized is over 6GB!  I see posts all over saying that anything over 4GB creates significant performance issues (although I'm not sure if this is still true with the latest software updates?).

I'm just looking for more information on the topic, and to learn if a 6GB is actually a problem.  If it is, I use IMAP email, and would like to keep my entire inbox on my laptop at all times.  How can I lower my pst size while keeping years worth of email accessible from Outlook?
Question by:crweaks23
    LVL 21

    Expert Comment

    Maybe you just have to wait a few days. SP2 for Office 2007 will be released on 28 April and comes with some fixes regarding huge mailboxes.

    Besides that, have a look at MailStore ( I use it to archive my emails and the problems with huge mailboxes are simply gone. There's also a free version available...
    LVL 28

    Expert Comment

    If you use IMAP you could create a new account and connect to the server. It will create a new .pst file which you can use instead of the old one. But I'd do a major cleanup firsthand. 6GByte is ridiculous. Noone need that much if you organize properly and get rid of unneeded attachments. Here's a free tool for that btw:

    Author Comment

    I don't delete mail unless it's junk, period.  The email is all work related, and I need to keep backups of literally everything.  It's all organized in folders, and it's very easy to work with.  My inbox stays clean, please try to get a feel for what the user needs are before saying "there is no need" for something.  

    I work with multiple devices (including my windows mobile phone) that need access to all of this email while on the road, so I cannot pull it off the server.  The problem with IMAP is that as the mailbox grows, so does my pst, and there's no way (that I know of) to archive anything.  I'm willing to use workarounds, but I have to use outlook to sync all my devices, and it is not a option to delete messages from the server.
    LVL 21

    Accepted Solution

    OK, then you have to wait for SP2...

    Other fixes in SP2 are spread across the following areas:
    Data File Checks
    Far fewer data file checks at startup,  where you see the following alert: The data file '<file name>' was not closed properly. This file is being checked for problems.



    Author Comment

    Thanks JBlond... I guess one more week in safe-mode can't hurt.

    BTW - to anyone having performance issues in outlook, just use safe-mode.  I don't know what's disabled, but nothing is broken that affects me, and it FLIES.  Obviously if you use plugins this isn't a good solution...

    April 28 it is... don't screw this up MS....

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