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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 echo David Shackleford's request for a tool that can help to figure out what is going on. I've just spent the entire day investigating this issue for a customer only to find that it seems that it has been happening forever and there does not seem to be any resolution. Unfortunately this response will NOT be acceptable to the customer! We can’t event recommend upgrading from OL2K2 to OL2K7 because it isn't fixed there either. This customer recently migrated from Notes - now they are contemplating migrating back!
If you are running into the pop up balloon that indicates Outlook is checking data in the background, then this isn’t an error and it’s completely ignorable. As part of the next service pack we are continuing to investigate and address the issues around this prompt. We’ve heard your feedback about seeing them too often, and we’re working on ways to solve the problem.
The prompts can be caused by a number of different conditions, some internal and some external to Outlook. To reduce the frequencies of the prompts before an update is available, you can consider disabling Outlook integration features in other programs you are using, uninstalling any custom add-ins or solutions that use Outlook data, and making sure you are running the latest Windows Search 4.0 components (support.microsoft.com). Other programs that terminate while using Outlook data, or that terminate Outlook can cause the prompt to appear as well.
If you or your users are running on Windows Vista and are seeing the prompt after ending their user session (logging off or shutting down), instead of shutting down Outlook and then ending their session, have them leave Outlook open. Windows will shut down Outlook in a smoother fashion without causing the prompt next time Outlook is started.
outblog (ryan), I don't think your final answer addresses the real issue. It doesn't matter when or how we close outlook. I can close outlook 2 hours before I shut down windows and when I open outlook again the same problem occurs. In fact, if I just close outlook and open it back up 10 minutes later, i get the same problem. Again, I have the latest everything on my Vista Ultimate Dell XPS M1530. 4 gigs of ram with a 2.5ghz duo core processor. It's not our machines that are causing the issue. And it's not the Windows shutdown either. Outlook doesn't seem to be able to handle large PST files or Multiple large PST files anymore. I'm sure that many of us would be willing to allow you to remote into our machines to see the actual issues. And by the way. Thanks for having this blog!
Had the problem for some time. Solved after deinstalling Google Destop and Google Toolbar.
I have the same problem. The data file check runs every time i open outlook 2007 and never completes...even after 12 hours.
I have all the same problems with Outlook as discribed above. It does not seem stop Outlook for working, but it is just very annoying and slows Outlook down. There is definitely a bug in the systems somewhere and I hope you get a fix in a new release. I have Vista SP1 and Outlook 2007 with SP1 as well.
I just recently started seeing this error, about two weeks now. Just checked to see what updates were installed recently. Update for Outlook 2007 (KB952142) was installed pn 12 July. Coincidence? I have not installed the new search 4, not clear how this might affect Outlook. Also, I note many failed attempts to install update for SQL server 2005 SP2 (KB948109) and when I checked I do not have SQL listed as an installed program. Maybe another clue?
After I have responded to a message, I need to go back and close it - I didn't have to do this before, and had a setting I could selct to make it happen.
Can this be done with this version, and where do I find it? Assistance much appreciated!!!
Ashley: The option you are looking for is in Tools -> Options -> E-mail Options, check the box that says "Close original message on reply or forward". Outlook will now close the message when you respond to it.
I too continually have the problem when opening outlook 2007. Approximatley every other time I open it, it says something along the lines of: a data file did not shut down properly and a few minutes later it says data file check complete. I am NOT that computer literate and even some of the above lingo confuses me. I simply want to know: 1. what the heck have I done to cause this (shutting down in different orders does not seem to help) 2. what do I need to do to fix this and make the problem stop 3. why can not find anything in outlook in reference to this problem that even comes close to figuring out what is going on and how to stop it. I try to solve any problems myself, and for weeks I've tried clicking on the error message, searching under tools, etc.. to find out the problem and I can find nothing. I guess I'm use to programs that when they say there is a problem, you simply click and it takes you to the source of the problem and how to fix it.
I'm running Vista, Office 2007, all updates and McAfee AntiVirus. After 18 months of service, Outlook began the "Data File Correction" notice every time Vista is restarted. I've checked that Outlook is not running as a process before restarting Vista. Outlook still has a problem. Disabled McAfee email scanning. No change. No Add-ins.
I have been experiencing similar problems with Outlook 2007 checking disk more or less forever. I've tried the "Shutdown" from Windows prompt (in stead of Outlook) but no success. Each time I start up Outlook my laptop starts checking and thrashing to disk rendering my system unresponsive and virtually unusable.
I got this error this morning but with a twist... Outlook appears, then the error then outlook immediately shuts down. I'm running on XP SP2.
I uninstalled and reinstalled Office (5 times now) and every application connected to Outlook (Plaxo, Stamps.com). I renamed my outlook.pst file to outlook.bad. I bought a registry cleaner and cleaned the registry. I no longer get the error message but Outlook still starts and then immediately shuts down. what else can I nuke?
Hi, i have this problem and found that RSS feeds can cause this problem as well. Dan
I find that this occurs every single time on my Dell XPS laptop after it comes back from hibernate. Other than that, it closes properly.