Outlook 2007 on Exchange with .ost and with IMAP

Posted on 2011-10-04
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I am finding if I run the SCANOST.EXE and the SCANPST.EXE it repairs some things and then my Outlook search works, but, I am also finding it breaking again.  Is there somethign I should look for to prevent this?  I had originally posted this problem last week and discovered by running the SCAN.EXE thing that it fixed it and worked perfectly, but then today it was again not finding things and when I ran the SCAN.EXE it found multiple errors and repaired them and now it works again, but, is this going to be a daily thing?

This is where I am finding the SCAN.EXE files:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\SCANOST.EXE or SCANPST.EXE.  Once I run the scan, it finds errors and asks to repair.  Seems to work well, just not sure why this keep occuring.
Question by:wfcrr

Author Comment

ID: 36913456
Sorry, forgot to mention the oddity in that I am using my .ost account email and also have a shared email account and all its mail folders..  I am using .ost file for my main logon email AND I also have a shared email that I am able to view and respond to and that shared email is set up with IMAP. So my regular email that is .ost shows up with all it's folders and then the shared email accoutn shows up with all it's folders.  The problem with search has been that it seems to find all my emails, but not the shared account. Then when I run this SCAN.EXE and repair the problems, after that "search" in Outlook finds ALL emails.  
LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 36913544
where is the .pst file located?

Author Comment

ID: 36913776

There are 3 files in that folder. One is an archive.pst, one is an outlook.ost and a one is a  sharedemail@contuso.com-00000003.pst.

i ran the SCANPST.EXE on the archive and on the shared email and I ran the SCANOST.EXE on the .ost file.
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

ID: 36938309
As OST files just ache your exchange mailbox, they aren't essential for having outlook work. They are only useful for laptops on which you need to see your mailbox while not connected to the Internet. So on a normal PC I would disable exchange cache so the OST file isn't even created, that saves resources. If you are using a laptop, and when you have issues with the OST file, just delete it and once you connect to your exchange server it'll automatically get built again.

If you have more issues with it after that you should check for hardware issues, like a bad HD or RAM, or Software issues, like a corrupt file-system, or not shutting down the PC properly.

For the hardware issues you can test your HD using the manufacturer's diagnostic utility, and the RAM you can test using memtest86+. You'll find both of these tools on the UBCD:


For the file-system, run chkdsk /x on all your drive-letters, provided they use ntfs (don't run it on fat file-systems).

Always make sure you properly shut the PC down, don't just turn it off!
LVL 26

Accepted Solution

e_aravind earned 1000 total points
ID: 36940604
During the time of the issue, can you check for the
Indexing Status reports "0 items remaining"


IMO, this status of "0 items remaining" is the good identification that the contents are indexed propertly

If needed you can change the folder\location where the index files will be placed

Author Comment

ID: 36947879
@ e aravind-I'll check that later today, if I have the problem again

@ rindi-I use a .ost so that my emails are stored on the server. I think we did this for two reasons, one being simple recovery and the second being shared contacts. We actually don't use the shared contacts and calendars feature, so it really only comes down to having the emails stored on the server.  That has helped alot, as we have lost desktops a number of times and haven't had email loss.  I am open to trying other ways of managing email, but having all historical emails kept in tact is a prime focus.
LVL 88

Assisted Solution

rindi earned 1000 total points
ID: 36947909
Your emails are already stored on the exchange server, the OST is as I mentioned earlier, nothing else than a local cache. OST files are there for storing locally on your PC, not on the Server, and for recovery you would make backups of your exchange server, not the OST. An OST only makes sense so you can read your mails while on the road without internet connection, otherwise they don't make any sense at all. They also aren't used for sending or receiving mails, that is what the exchange server does.

An OST does not have any other function or advantage.

The only other files that would make some sense would be archive pst files (also those need to be stored locally, not on a server, as that isn't supported or recommended by m$), where you offload old messages from the server so the exchange database doesn't get too large, but you can still get access to those old messages. Such archived pst files can be copied to the server for backing up occasionally, but you shouldn't open them directly on the server from Outlook, as that is likely to corrupt the file.

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