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Background: My father works at an office that doesn't allow connections to their Exchange server from the outside (no VPN, no RPC, nothing). He has his company email and a personal IMAP email (running off a server I manage) in Outlook 2007. For the past few months, he's had to wait for 40-50 minutes for Outlook to verify his (apparently) 'damaged' PST/OST file(s) (unsure which ones it's testing) every time he starts his computer (this does not happen if Outlook is opened and closed; maybe because something running in the background).

Data: He's running on Windows Vista with an up-to-date Outlook 2007 install. His C:\Users\[Account]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook folder looks like this:

Outlook folder

I think the issue is probably with the 19GB OST file; I don't know Exchange, but it would make sense that the mail cache shouldn't get that big (there is nowhere close to that much mail in his mailbox; maybe 1GB at most).

I'm debating just purchasing Office 2010, making the administrator at his office forward his Exchange email to an address I control, and starting him over from scratch (as an aside, does Outlook 2010 have a "unified inbox" like Mail.app on the Mac?). I may just do that.

For now, is there any way to prevent Outlook from scanning these files upon startup, or is there any way of compacting the files?

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Repair OST

REPAIR ERRORS BY USING SCANOST.EXE Exit Outlook if it is running. Double-click Scanost.exe, located at drive:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE12. If you have set up Outlook to prompt for a profile, the tool will also prompt you for one. In the Profile Name list, click the profile that contains the .ost file that you want to check. If you are prompted to Connect or Work Offline, click Connect.

Select the options that you want. To have the tool automatically resolve discrepancies that it finds during the scan, select the Repair Errors check box. If this check box is cleared, the tool will log the problems but not make the necessary corrections.

Click Begin Scan. NOTE To view the scan log, start Outlook, and then open the Deleted Items folder. The tool does not scan the Deleted Items folder. Any problems will be noted in a message with the Subject "OST Integrity Check."

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Then do some reading here

Managing your Synchronization Settings

The easiest way to keep the size of the OST file to a minimum is to manage the synchronization settings of your folders. You will do well to have a structured folder system in your email with rules that move emails automatically to appropraite folders. Once in these folders, you can customize the synchronization settings so that you can minimize the size of your OST files by not synchronizing many emails that you do not need offline.

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Thanks! I'll give that a try. If compaction ends up taking too long, I can always teach him how to re-sync his messages from Exchange. –  squircle Apr 29 '11 at 23:18
    
The compaction saved about 8GB and I'll be doing the rest once he migrates to Outlook 2010. Thanks! –  squircle May 6 '11 at 22:19

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