MS Outlook 2007 wont open

Posted on 2011-03-03
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
User is unable to open outlook. When he does the user receives the following error:

Cannot start MS Office Outlook.  Cannot open the Outlook windows.  The set of folders cannot be opened.  The file C:\Users\users folder\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\outlook.ost has reached its maximum size.  To reduce the amount of data in this file, select some items that you no longer need, and then permanentrly delete them by pressing SHIFT+DELETE.  You could also consider switching to Unicode mode and using the new Offline Folder file (.ost) introduced with Outlook 2003 that proviedds greater capacity for storing items and folders.

This user uses outlook 2007 (was previously upgraded from 2003 (had the same issue with 2003)). He is on a Windows 7 machine as well. I have tried the following:

The MaxFileSize registry entry
The WarnFileSize registry entry
The MaxLargeFileSize registry entry
The WarnLargeFileSize registry entry

I renamed the OST file and open outlook, it will recreate itself and work for awhile (about a day) then revert to the same issue.

There are no limits on the exchange server for users and there OST sizes.
The user is not running out of space on his HD either.
User does have a large email file. User would like to not archive and or delete if possible.

Any ideas?

Question by:ironcitypete
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Expert Comment

ID: 35029351
ost files start to act up once they hit a certain size. the user should move some emails to a pst, the oldest emails.
the fact that you re-create the ost and it works for awhile also indicates it is a size issue. it takes a couple of days to build the ost file back up to the size it was. then at that point it happens again.

Author Comment

ID: 35029483
The user doesn't want to move files to a pst if he can help it. I thought of the same thing with the OST file working for a while then showing the same error message - makes sense.

Before i just give in and tell the user to archive i wanted to make sure there was no other solution.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 35029792
In my opinion, get rid of the registry values they refer to in that document.

With that said, I'd also send warning to the user that there's a reason they have a suggested max size on that OST.  If that OST gets too large and outlook closes improperly, outlook will want to scan that file for errors and on a large OST (above 5GB), that can take FOREVER and cause outlook to not allow message sending until the scan is completed.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 35029822
And yes, I'm operating without those registry values with no problem.  They're not a requirement, but they are to help prevent the OST from getting above a manageable size.

Something else to keep in mind:  The size of their OST is also a direct reflection of the size of their mailbox.  I don't know what disaster recovery options you have in your environment, but it would be in the user's best interest to export older data to PSTs using the archive feature and start backing those up, otherwise they're putting themselves and you in a very tight situation WHEN (not if) things go south.  Things always go south, just a matter of when.

Expert Comment

ID: 35030611
You should explain to the user that he can have multiple pst files open at once.  i would suggest creating a pst for each project or category and moving all the emails relating to that category into the pst. As you can show the user in the attached graphic, these folders can be all available online, although archived files are only slightly less accessible. Using appropriate naming conventions for the pst files give the user the ability to show them in whatever order he prefers. Each of these folders has a multitude of sub-folders, allowing me sort emails into "buckets" that makes them easy to find and retrieve.

Your user may be afraid of not being able to find the email he needs at a moments notice, but each of these pst files can be searched within Outlook (although in 2003 and earlier you can't search across pst files, you can in 2007).  Keeping the emails sorted into multiple folders makes it even easier to find them when you need them.

Most of us have lost an Outlook file in a crash, and the more you keep in a single file, the more you lose when it goes. Sample pst structure

Expert Comment

ID: 35030635
pst's have there own issues and I would recommend to only put the oldest emails in there. any current project or recent emails, do not put in a pst. if the user on the road, on a diff computer then pst will not be accessible.

Author Comment

ID: 35030859
Update: i can get to the email via OWA with no issue and i can open outlook in safe mode.  when opening in safe mode i still get the error message but outlook atleast opens.

Accepted Solution

ironcitypete earned 0 total points
ID: 35031107
Configure Unicode options in Outlook 2007:

This seems to work, also recreating the profile from scratch with cached mode not check would work too since it wouldn't create the ost file.


Assisted Solution

ironcitypete earned 0 total points
ID: 35038166
thanks everyone for your input but just by recreating the email profile with out cache worked. Thanks Again

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35081163
ended up figuring  it out by testing with users account and recreating the entire profile without archiving.

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