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When Outlook doesn’t shutdown cleanly, your Outlook Data File (either a .pst or .ost file) can be left in an unverified state that can cause one of the following errors to appear the next time you boot Outlook:
“Outlook cannot open the data file filename until it has been checked for problems.” “Microsoft Office Outlook’ exited without properly closing your Outlook data file ‘drive:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\outlook.ost’. ‘Microsoft Office Outlook’ must be restarted. If this error message recurs, contact support for ‘Microsoft Office Outlook’ for assistance.” “The data file filename was not closed properly’. This file is being checked for problems.”
“Outlook cannot open the data file filename until it has been checked for problems.”
“Microsoft Office Outlook’ exited without properly closing your Outlook data file ‘drive:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\outlook.ost’. ‘Microsoft Office Outlook’ must be restarted. If this error message recurs, contact support for ‘Microsoft Office Outlook’ for assistance.”
“The data file filename was not closed properly’. This file is being checked for problems.”
At this point Outlook needs to perform a reconciliation of the data file, a simple process that ‘cleans up’ the file from an incorrect shutdown. While the verification is happening, you will see a small ‘gear’ icon in the lower-right corner of Outlook:
Again, it’s okay to continue using Outlook as you would normally while this is happening as this reconciliation process happens in the background. When this icon disappears, the .pst file or the .ost file is verified.
If you shutdown Outlook while the gear icon is present, then verification must restart the next time you run Outlook. We recommend that you leave Outlook running until the gear icon disappears before shutting down.
An incorrectly shut down Outlook Data File may occur for one of the following reasons:
If you believe you’re seeing this last issue often and need to shutdown Outlook shortly before shutting down your computer, then it may be better to shut down Windows when the Outlook window is still open instead of shortly afterwards.
Michael Affronti Outlook Program Manager
I have a large outlook file (1.5 GB), an up to date computer (dual core, 7200 rpm hard drive etc), no addins to Outlook installed (also no other programs accessing it). Outlook almost NEVER manages to propery shut down, I almost always get the check when I start it again. I do follow all the suggestions you make in this point. I really hope that Outlook 14 completly replaces the storage story to something that works, because the current one simply is an embarassment. I wonder how common this is. You must have data on that from the customer experience program, right? Mind to let us know? After all, when we voluntarily agree to share the data, you might as well tell us the results, right? :)
David, when you say it doesn't shut down properly, do you mean that you see the data file check nearly every time you restart Outlook? Does the check finish before you shut down Outlook? Also, are you running the latest version of Windows Desktop Search?
Yes, the check finishes before I restart. Latest version of everything: Vista SP1, Outlook 2007 SP1, the WDS version that is included in Vista. Also, when I look around, at friends computer etc, they all seem to have this problem. This is why I wonder what your customer experience data program tells you about this problem... Or does it not collect the necessary data?
I see the same problem - though I only have a 900mb ost file. Outlook 2007 takes an age to shut down - several minutes. Outlook 2003 was also slow but 2007 seems to take longer. I happen to have a laptop with a clean xp install on which I have installed just outlook 2007 (I only use it for remote access and email) - no addins nothing extra. It pretty much always has to repair the db on startup. It seems a bad idea for the window to disappear before the application has closed - surely it would be better to have outlook display something while it shuts down? Why does it take *so* long to shut down in any case - close network connections, sync io, close file - is there more to it?
I had the same problem until I figured out that Avira anti-virus Professional was causing the problem. I hope this helps.
I want to agree with David here. I have users running Vista SP1, Outlook 2007 SP1 on Core 2 Duo tablets with 2 GB of RAM. Those with larger mailboxes see this problem almost every time they open Outlook after a booting up. They close Outlook before shutting down windows but there is no way (other than watching outlook process in Task Manager) to know when outlook has completely exited. How can I help the users resolve this?
Here is a related tips I found after having this problem.
I also see this happening on every or nearly every Outlook launch for most of the 30 users I support with Outlook 2007 & Exchange 2007. The Salesforce add-in seems to make it happen on every single launch, but even the users with no add-ins see this check at least a couple times a week. The larger the mailbox, the more frequent the data file checks; users with mailboxes over 1 GB are pretty much assured of a data file check on every launch. This is particularly frustrating, because for users with large mailboxes it can be devastating to performance for an hour or two. (During the data file check, selecting a folder can hang for 3-4 minutes before the message list appears; with the unstyled title bar and an hourglass. This is on ThinkPads with 2.0-2.2 GHz Core 2 Duos and 3-4 GB of RAM, XP Pro 32-bit.)
I have to agree to the previous posters: Almost every of my customers reports at least from time to time problems with Outlook. Usually Outlook doesn’t close properly but also crashes at runtime can be observed. The reasons are mainly - Large OST files (> 1 GB)
- Faulty Outlook plugin In theory I could tell my customers to uninstall the plugin but in practice they rely on it and have to use it. Therefore I would highly suggest to somehow harden the Outlook plugin API so that these plugins can’t destabilize Outlook in the way seen today.
There are untold stories of problems Outlook causes with backup programs, notably with online backup services such as Carbonite and Mozy. Outlook never seems to release the file for backup and even VSS doesn't seem to help here. I agree with the first post that the way Outlook stores data is simply f*cked and must be changed. All too often I have problems with the PST files. I've now resorted to running a weekly check on them just to be safe. Every week I find problems, almost always with the main PST file.
Why are you not authorising all comments to this post?
My PST file is much smaller that discussed and have similar issues. Office 2007 has been problimatic since I instaled it on my XP-laptop. 40-50% of the time when I start my computer I can not connect to my Business Contact Database or I have messaging that outlook did not shut down properly.
I have an HP Pavillion laptop with Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 (2.4 ghz), 4 GB RAM, Vista Home Premium SP1, Office 2007 SP1 and a 198 megabyte Outlook 2007 PST.The only addin I have is the Live Search Maps for Outlook and it has been disabled due to some problem Outlook had with it. I almost ALWAYS have the "The data file was not closed properly’. This file is being checked for problems" error. Also, Outlook 2007 takes at least twice as long to start up and shut down as Outlook 2003 did on this machine. I've had no luck fixing either issue yet. I'm running Symantec Antivirus Corporate 10.2.0.276. Has anyone had any luck with some solution?
Is there a resource somewhere that deep-dives into what's happening with .ost files and caching, what the sync checking process looks like, etc? I spend a lot of time helping people with .ost issues and it seems like there aren't many resources for knowing what's going on under the hood. If I understood the architecture and the "what gets looked for" stuff, it would make things easier. And I'd rather read something than spend a weekend with filemon/regmon/procmon/etc running to try and figure it out.
I agree 100% with davidacoder. This happens 75% of the time ever since I installed Vista and Outlook 2007. I have all the updates. I only have Microsoft add-ins. You would expect that with all the competition brewing out there that the Outlook (and other MS product)teams would be a little more concerned and a little more inclined to use their customer experience data to identify and fix these problems.