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How to Repair & Compress an Outlook.pst file.

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Published on Jan 30, 2012

This video shows how I personally addressed an issue with my windows 7 laptop slowing down considerably, applications like Outlook, Internet Explorer, Office, my OpenInsight based application and others constantly not responding, my fan constantly running and application taking an age to run.

I am not sure that this is all down to MS Outlook, but over the last few weeks I have had trouble with not being able to upgrade my MS office 2007 system to 2010, my Outlook calendar would not open and I was experiencing all manner of hanging issue and blue screens of death and system memory dumps. In addition, I had been unable to even backup my Outlook system as the .pst file was so huge (6.4Gb). It was beginning to drive me nuts.

Taking some advice I ran a Malware scan, Anti-Virus scan, defrags, deleted unused files and programs, etc. etc. The scans came back clear and the deleted files freed up a lot of space, but still my machine was slow and painful to use. One of my technical colleagues mentioned compacting (compressing) my Outlook system and this got me thinking and Googling for tools to help. This research resulted in two courses of action:

1) I ran a little known Scan utility that scans and repairs Outlook .pst and .ost files. This found some issues; I backed up the files and ran the repair option. This resulted in my Outlook calendar now working, but the .pst file was still huge.

2) Although I had deleted over half of my email, the .pst file did not reduce in size whatsoever and it appeared to just keep growing. I therefore looked through the menu items in Outlook 2007 and through a little luck I found a compression routine that is perfect to complress Outlook.pst files. This reduced my Outlook.pst file from over 6.4Gb to just 675Mb over 13 hours.

Further research online indicates that I was not alone in running a huge Outlook.pst file and there are plenty of references to both the SCANPST (and SCANOST) utility and the compact utility. I am not sure how systems behave on Windows XP and the forthcoming Windows 2008, nor with Office 2010 and later because my experiences were on a laptop running Windows 7 Ultimate and Office 2007. However, this posting outlines the issue and resolution that worked for me. I am not saying that this will be true for everyone, but it is certainly something worth thinking about if you are an Outlook user with a huge Outlook.pst or Outlook.ost file or where you are having issues like mine above.

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