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How do you shrink down in Outlook 2007 PST file

Posted on 2012-03-30
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Last Modified: 2012-04-25
I have a PC running windows XP Pro with Outlook 2007. When I go to the property page of the personal folder it shows the total size of the mail folders at 1.3 GB. When I checked the size of the actual PST file it shows over 8 GB.
- I ran the Outlook compaction tool but it made no change in the physical size.
- Interestingly enough, I performed a full export of all the mail folders to a file called backup.PST. It showed up as 1.3 GB. , Very close to the same size as recorded in the properties of the personal folder.

My question is,
- what is the actual size?
- Does the 8 gigabyte file have a lot of white space that the compaction tool can I get rid of?
- Could I just delete the original 8 GB file and rename the backup.PST to Outlook.PST and point Outlook to this 1.3 GB file file?

I see this dozens of times. Any recommendation greatly appreciated.
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Question by:agieryic
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John Hurst earned 500 total points
ID: 37787520
Compact will normally reduce the physical file size - it does for me. Did you allow it time to complete? It could take a long time (many minutes) on an 8Gb file.

Then, there could be errors in the large file that compact cannot get around. You said you did a full export and that shrunk the file. So if you are happy with that, it appears the export took care of the errors. So then carefully backup the old large file and use the new one.

Do not delete the old file just in case. Move it somewhere safe and then, yes, you can just rename backup as Outlook.pst and use it.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:agieryic
ID: 37787714
I did allow the compaction to complete each time it didn't take long.
Is it possible that I need to run the scanPST.exe to fix the file?

The Outlook seems to be functioning normally but I think it's more than just the compaction issue.

I was not planning deleting the file until the backup file works. However, I'm going to try to run a scanPST.exe to see if it fixes any issues.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 37787743
Exporting a PST file can fix errors, and if the backup has your email, contacts and calendar all intact, then you should be fine with the backup. I have done that before myself.

Of course, SCANPST on the original may work as well, but that would leave you in the same place if it does (that is, fixed original = exported backup).

... Thinkpads_User
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by:agieryic
ID: 37788688
I ran the scanpst.exe file. It said it found and made repairs. Ran the compaction tool again. The PST file is still 8GB. Interestingly, the outlook log created byt the scanpst shows hundreds of entries that it could not repair. See attached.

Amazingly, the Outlook is working fine but I dont like the large phantom 8GB size.

I myself have restored a complete PST file using the exported file with no issues. My plan is to use the clean exported file.

If you can make "heads or tails" of this Outlook log file, I'd appreciate it.
Christine-s-Personal-Folder.log
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 37788721
I took a quick look, but I am not in any position to say why the errors occured. So long as you are satisifed that your cleanly exported PST file is correct, then that is what I would use. Just move the large file to a safe location for a couple of weeks and then delete it after that.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 37876095
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

The question has either no comments or not enough useful information to be called an "answer".
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by:John Hurst
ID: 37876096
My post (ID: 37787743) pointed to the use of the smaller, exported backup file which agieryic appeared to accept.  ... Thinkpads_User
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by:agieryic
ID: 37894738
thinkpads_user - was kind enough to respond and was the only responder. The suggestion He/She recommended is something that I was already performing - supporting my clients. I was hoping there was another way of shrinking down the database without having to export the file and point Outlook to the new exported file. I must have run into this issue close to hundred times before I recently posted my issue here on experts exchange.  

Obviously, this is a very clean way of doing it but extremely time-consuming. The normal Outlook compaction tool doesn't do a great job of shrinking the database as does exporting the file. I was just hoping that an actual database engineer that's familiar with the Outlook PST file - had another suggestion

I assume the best thing to do this point is us to go ahead and close the case because I can make it work this way using the exported file.

I would like to go ahead and award the points to "thinkpads_user"
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by:John Hurst
ID: 37894762
Thank you and thank you for following up.
... Thinkpads_User
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