Thursday, 27 March 2014

MS Outlook PST File Issues & possible solutions

If you are working with Outlook for very long time then there are some points which you need to know about PST file. Here I am describing the problems associated with this file format. Here is the full list: 

1. Network Access of PST Files: 

If you are accessing your PST files stored on the server then you will notice that the server will hang for a few minutes. This is the known issue of PST file on a LAN/WAN because of unsupported configuration.  This issue occurs because both PST file & WAN LAN links used different message storage method: pst file uses a file-access-driven method and WAN/LAN links uses network-access-driven methods. 

When we try to access PST file over network then Outlook tries to use the file commands to read from the file or write to the file. As we all knows that PST file stores on local computer then OS has to send those commands over the network. This process takes long time to read and write to the file.  

2. Difficult to maintain PST file backup on Network

If you are Outlook user then you must be aware that PST files store on local hard disk.  If you are using PST file on network then it becomes more difficult to take backup of PST file.  As I discussed above that PST cannot be run from the network. For this, you have configured backups on each individual System which is really a handy task. You must also remember that backup does not run while Outlook is running.  

To solve this issue, you have to use Cached Exchange Mode to store your mail. It helps users to take a copy of their mailbox. When they reconnect to the network, the changes are seamlessly synchronized back to the server, including any messages they happen to write and send while in offline mode. 

3. PST files are prone to corruption

The two most common causes of PST file corruption are size limit & PST file storage on local computer. When the PST files crossed their 2 GB file size limit then there is chance of PST file corruption. This corruption can result in permanent data loss. When your system gets crashed or has virus attack then there is also a chance of PST file Corruption because of PST file saves in local system. This can also result in a permanent loss of PST file. In this situation, you have to use PST Repair software to repair your corrupt file.  

4. PST File Size Issues:

File Size is one of most famous bug of PST files. Outlook 2003 PST File size has a maximum size limit of 2GB. To solve this issue, Microsoft introduced a new PST file format in Outlook 2003 and higher versions which run on Unicode. This format stores data up to 20GB. For this, you have to modify default configuration of MS Outlook.

It means when we updated any Outlook older version to newer version, it does not automatically update your PST file(s). You can do it by creating a new Unicode file and transferring the data across.

Create a new PST File in Outlook 2003 & higher versions

From Outlook, Click File>>New>>Outlook Data File

Type File Name & the location of the PST file, Click OK

Type Display Name that will show in your Outlook.  Click OK

Now you will see that a new .PST will display in your Navigation Pane as shown in below picture:

5. Outlook hangs when sending/receiving emails: 

If your Outlook hangs or stops working when you are sending and receiving mails, it means either your PST file is get corrupted or your PST file become too large. To fix this issue, you have to split your PST file. 

6. Searching, finding and viewing emails in a PST file really a handy task

Some big organizations or some users also use multiple PST files to store their information. If you are trying to search, find and view any individual PST file then it can be very slow and time consuming process because of multiple PST files. If you are switch to any new organization and try to access then how you will identify that which .PST file contains your mails. 

7. Not possible to Simultaneous file sharing between multiple users  

If you are trying to share PST files between multiple users simultaneously then there is a chance that the mail file may be get corrupted. Because Outlook do not support file sharing.

8. Mail moved from server to PST file

If you moved your mail from server to PST file then it will no longer be available on the server using remote access applications like OWA. If you want to access these emails in PST file then you will need to use a full Microsoft Outlook Client.  

All above issues, I have faced when I was working on PST files. Hope the solutions of the above issues will work for you & you will never face these problems in future with your PST file. 

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