Damaged Outlook 2010 file prevents indexing. Am I doing the right repairs?

Client has Win 7 with Outlook 2010. He had 18 GB of POP mail in his PST. All of a sudden, search stopped, indexing never stopped.  
I ran scanpst.exe on his file (took hours. Several to examine, backup, repair)  and for a while indexing/fast search worked. Hours later he couldn't search for mail anymore.

Below is what I wrote him this AM.  Am I doing all the repairs I should?


I regret that this Outlook repair has taken so long. Your Outlook file is damaged. A damaged Outlook file can't be indexed by Windows. Testing and repair, as you have seen, is a very slow process, and can't be done during office hours.

I am going to get this fixed. The problem is that every test and repair takes SO long.

Cause of the problem -your Outlook file was too big. The practical maximum file size is 20 GB - your file was 18 GB
Outlook was still able to work until it reached a 'breaking point'  The file got damaged (Microsoft calls this 'corrupted') Some part of the file got messed up, and prevented proper indexing.

I have tried several repair techniques. If you don't have fast search after last night, this indicates that your Outlook files are not easily repaired, and that the following should be done:
Microsoft's Inbox repair tool has to run on your current Outlook file.  This will take several hours.

After the repair, all of your Outlook information has to be exported to another file.  This could take several hours.

A new Outlook Profile (which is a collection of all your Outlook information has to be created) This takes a few minutes

Your existing Outlook information from the exported file has to be imported.  This shouldn't take as long as the steps above.

Windows should then be able to index all your email in this new, clean Outlook file.  This should take a few hours, but not the days that the current indexing is taking.

Yesterday evening I did the following:

Checked the archive, which had received 10 GB of old email received before 2012.

Manually archived 500 MB of mail before 2012 that wasn't included in the above when the archiving ran.

Noticed that although 10 GB of email had been removed, Outlook file was still 18 GB in size.

Issued command to compress Outlook file, which removes empty space left by removal of old email, and normally makes Outlook file smaller

Looked in after 60 minutes, noticed that compression was running very slowly.
Stopped compression.

Issued a command to Windows to reindex your Office Files and Outlook file. Removed archive files so that Windows wouldn't have to spend hours indexing old email.

Left reindexing running at 1:00 AM last night.
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Rodney BarnhardtServer AdministratorCommented:
Have you tried to delete and rebuild the Instant Search catalog? That could really be the problem.


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computerlarryAuthor Commented:
I did click on Rebuild Index in the advanced options.  8-9 Hours later the indexing still wasn't done.

Should I have deleted the index file as well?
Rodney BarnhardtServer AdministratorCommented:
I would delete it and allow it to rebuild from scratch. Sorry for the delay, I thought I had already answered you.
computerlarryAuthor Commented:
Solved the problem.
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