Outlook PST files

Rodger Reedy
Rodger Reedy used Ask the Experts™
on
Outlook would not open after working fine for several months.  A dialogue box suggested opening in szfe mode.  When it did I was asked to select a profile.  The only choice was test.  Outlook still would not open.   I closed and tried again.  Now it says it cannot find test.pst.  I checked my Carbonite backup and the Outlook folder was missing, although it was there on the computer.  How can I get Outlook going again?
Comment
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology Professional

Commented:
Try and create a new profile with a new PST and see if that works. Then attach your old PST if you can. If not, there is a tool that comes with Outlook called SCANPST that might help fix it.
Rodger ReedyProgram Manager

Author

Commented:
How do I create a new profile?
Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology Professional

Commented:
When you get the prompt about profile, select to create a new one. For more details, we'll need to know what version of Windows and Outlook you are using.

Is this a business or personal email? There may be a way you can get connected without even needing a PST for now.
Ensure you’re charging the right price for your IT

Do you wonder if your IT business is truly profitable or if you should raise your prices? Learn how to calculate your overhead burden using our free interactive tool and use it to determine the right price for your IT services. Start calculating Now!

Rodger ReedyProgram Manager

Author

Commented:
It's a personal vomputer. I found how to create a profile grom the fole menu. MSOffice 365, 2016.  Will try it when I get home.
Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology Professional

Commented:
Sounds good. Let us know.
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
It's a personal vomputer. I found how to create a profile grom the fole menu. MSOffice 365, 2016.  Will try it when I get home.

Just make sure that you set the newly created profile as the default for the next time Outlook is opened. If you create the new profile from within Outlook, you'll need to close and restart Outlook.

Alternatively, you can create a new profile by opening the Control Panel <Mail> app (with Outlook closed) - brings you to the same place as above.

With that out of the way, there is something missing from the original description especially since you mention "carbonite".
#1 - What "folder" exactly was missing? More specifically, when you use the word "folder" - do you actually mean a folder as displayed in Windows Explorer or do you mean "a file"?
#2 - Opening a profile would not create a PST file especially not one with the name of "test.pst" - so what exactly was the working environment before you ran into your issues?
Rodger ReedyProgram Manager

Author

Commented:
When I try to open Outlook, I get the dialog box - see atch'd snip.  As soon as I click on OK, it all closes.  I tried the Control Panel Mail app and all I could find was setting for Mail, not Outlook.  In Carbonite I was looking for a backup copy of my PST.  See second snip that shows the path I was looking for.   By folder, I meant the Outlook folder, not file, in that path.  I assume that's where the Outlook data would be stored.  I see the test Outlook data files, but no PST.

What next?
Outlook-PST-Issue.PNG
Outlook-Path.PNG
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
When I try to open Outlook, I get the dialog box - see atch'd snip

#1 - This involves an .ost file - not a PST file - world of difference between the two

#2 - On the surface, indicates that the ost file has been corrupted

Rename the .ost file and let Outlook recreate it when it opens at which point everything will get sync'd with the server. There is no point in backing up an .ost file since it is merely a mirror of what is contained on the server.
Rodger ReedyProgram Manager

Author

Commented:
There is an Outlook Files folder in My Documents, but it is empty.  That's where I would expect to find the PST.
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
There is an Outlook Files folder in My Documents, but it is empty.  That's where I would expect to find the PST.

Think our posts crossed paths but to stress - you are not dealing with a PST file. The extension in the screenshot is an OST file.
Rodger ReedyProgram Manager

Author

Commented:
I  am not on a network; a stand-alone home computer.  I tried renaming the test files in the Outlook Path attachment, but when I try to open Outlook, I get the same error message and the original 3 files reappear.  I tried deleting them and they reappear.  Not sure where to go next.
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
....................I tried deleting them and they reappear.  Not sure where to go next.

An .ost file will always get recreated if Outlook cannot find or open an .ost file so that part is working exactly as expected.

It may well be that there is an issue with the account at the server level but before assuming that to be the case would suggest creating a new Outlook profile and configure the account again.

That aside - how exactly did you get the .ost file to include " - test" in the file name. Generally, an IMAP or Exchange account would have the email address as the file name (i.e. <rreedy@mics.net.ost> vs what's in the screenshot of <rreedy@mics.net - test.ost>). Just seems odd that every .ost file has " - test" in the file name.
Rodger ReedyProgram Manager

Author

Commented:
When things at first went wrong, a dialog said to open in Safe Mode.  The only choice for a profile was "Test".  Now I can't get rid of it.  Can't start a new profile unless I can at least get Outlook to start.  I'm not concerned about restoring the emails, as I have Microsoft Mail going as well.  But, I prefer Outlook.
Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology Professional

Commented:
In Windows 10, if you go to the Settings gear, then choose Email & app accounts, you should find your email account settings there.
Rodger ReedyProgram Manager

Author

Commented:
All I see in email settings is for Microsoft Mail, not Outlook.
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
Can't start a new profile unless I can at least get Outlook to start.

Do you not have the Control Panel <Mail> app?

If the you don't have the Control Panel <Mail BUT can at least invoke Outlook (which means that Outlook is installed) - then you have the "Store version" of Office installed (code named "Centennial". If that's the case, the way to create a profile would be to run the following from Start <Run> (make sure to keep the space as shown)
Outlook.exe /manageprofiles

If you have the the Control Panel <Mail> app - use that to create a new profile (but the above will work in either case)
Rodger ReedyProgram Manager

Author

Commented:
I'm in!!! Finally.  Thanks Karl for all the help.  Your last suggestion Run, Outlook.exe /manageprofile did the trick.  I had trouble getting my 3 mail accounts to successfully load, but finally got the gmail to work.  Now I need to work on getting the other 2 configured - an effort for another day.
Rodger ReedyProgram Manager

Author

Commented:
Thanks Karl and Brian for your patience and help.  This shouldn't have been so hard, but now I've learned something for the next time Outlook goes wild on me.
Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology Professional

Commented:
Glad to hear things worked out.

In future or for other readers of this question, if the error involves an OST file, the easiest thing to do is find the file specified and rename it to .old or something. The OST file is just a cache and contains a copy of what is still on the mail server, so deleting won't break your email. It will just rebuild the file.

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial