Outlook 2003 says "the path specified for the file pst is not valid"

Posted on 2010-01-08
Last Modified: 2012-05-08
We have hundreds of users who are using Outlook 2003 to access their Exchange e-mail at our organization. The mailbox is stored on the Exchange server and is maintained by the central IT department. I have not access to managing that. I work for one of the departments. Most of the users at our organization also get a PST file, created by someone like me, when they start, to which they can move messages because the Exchange mailbox has a limit of 250MB. I know Microsoft does not support PSTs stored on a network share but we've been doing this since before I came to work here and it isn't going to change, because we need the PSTs to be backed up (the servers are backed up - the workstations are not). Trying to backup locally stored PSTs is virtually impossible. I don't want to get into that discussion.

The problem I'm seeing is that one of my users says that starting about two months ago she began seeing the message "the path specified for the file X:\mail\user.pst is not valid" when launching Outlook 2003. X: is a network drive mapped by our logon script. No other users are reporting this. If she specifies the PST file in the dialog that comes up when she clicks OK on the error, she can access the PST with no problem.

The other day I went to her computer and made a second, new PST using the mail applet in Control Panel and had her move all the messages to that one inside Outlook. I did this because her old one was the old kind (ascii?) and I wanted her to have the new kind (unicode?) that does not have the 2GB limit. I also thought that if the old PST was corrupted or had some other problem, then the new one would not have this problem, but she still sees the error.

Any ideas?
Question by:donander
    LVL 76

    Expert Comment

    by:Alan Hardisty
    I would try running Help> Detect & Repair to see if that corrects the problem.
    Also check for Updates / Service Packs using Windows Update.
    Yes, .PSTs on the server is bad news, but I won't go there as you have asked not to ;-)
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    Check the data files configuration and path in outlook.  Create a new profile and add the data files, see if that helps.  You can also use the pst repair tool to verify the data integrity/ corruption issues assosiated with the suspected files.  At your convenience, am including the link from microsoft here on how to use the tool.

    Author Comment

    Both comments are great suggestions and I will try them when I can get time early next week.


    Accepted Solution

    We tried both of the suggestions and the problem persisted.

    I moved the user's PST file from one location on our NetApp server to another and this solved the problem (or at least she didn't see the error anymore). I have no idea why this worked.

    How should I handle the points?


    Author Comment

    How do I accept my own answer as the solution without awarding any points to anyone, including myself?

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