Recently my laptop crashed while Microsoft Outlook was open which caused one of the open .PST files to become corrupted. The PST file that was corrupted was for a Gmail account that was synced with Google Gmail via IMAP. The error message that popped up when attempting to expand the folders is described below and then displayed in the image below the explanation.
Error: The set folders cannot be opened. Errors have been detected in the file C:\Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\OutlookAccount@gmail.com-00001.pst. Quit Outlook and all mail enabled applications, and then use the Inbox repair tool (Scanpst.exe) to diagnose and repair erros in the file. For more information about the Inbox repair tool, see Help.
Initially to resolve the error I attempted to run the Scanpst.exe file as recommended as described in the steps below. This did not however resolve the issue for me which I later describe and explain how I decided to finally overcome the issue. It is a huge advantage having Gmail using IMAP specifically for reasons like this.
Before following any of the instructions below please be sure to backup any and all data files associated with your email accounts. Also make sure that you are using IMAP and not POP3 when creating a new account as POP3 will be storing all of the data locally on your PC versus IMAP which simply syncs data with Google’s Gmail IMAP server.
First Attempt to Resolve with SCANPST.EXE:
- Locate PST File:While Microsoft Outlook is still open click on Tools in the top navigation menu and select “Account Settings” from the drop down. Then click on the “Data Files” tab in the newly opened Account Settings configuration window. This will display a listing of all of the data files associated with each account configured in Microsoft Outlook as shown in the below image.
**Note** Typically you can double click on an account line and it will open a details window but if the account you are trying to obtain information about is corrupted you will have to expand the file location column to see its location versus double clicking on it.
- Close Outlook and Other Applications:Now close Outlook and any other open applications so there is nothing attempting to access the PST file. This includes Skype, Trillian, and Google’s Calendar Sync.
- Open Inbox Repair Tool:Now start the Inbox repair tool by clicking Start and chooseing Run from the configuration menu. Type “C:\i386\SCANPST.EXE” into the run window and click enter. This will launch the Inbox Repair Tool which is shown in the image below.
- Start PST File Scanning: Now click the Browse button and browse the the previous location we looked up in step one and choose the PST file associated to the corrupted account. This will start phase one of eight phases that have to complete during the process to repair the inbox as shown in the image below.
- Start PST File Repairing: Once the PST file scan is complete the Inbox Repair Tool will display a window like the below image.
Now that the PST file has been scanned you need to attempt to repair the file by clicking the Repair button. This might take awhile depending on how large the PST file is and how powerful your computer is. During the repair process if might even say the file is “Not Responding” so be patient and let it finish what it needs to do. Once complete a repair complete message will display as shown below in the image.
- Check PST File Status: Now check to see if the PST file has been repaired by opening Outlook and see if the Gmail IMAP folders will expand. In my case I was still receiving the same error. If this is the case with you continue on to step 7.
- Create New Outlook IMAP Account:The great thing about using Gmail’s IMAP feature is that the file may be corrupted on your local PC however all of your data is stored on Gmail’s servers so all you need to do is create a new Outlook IMAP account and sync things back up. There may be a good amount of time downloading all of the email messages again but at least your not losing any data!
Hopefully this helps someone from pulling their hair out! If you read this and get stuck on step 7 by not remembering exactly how to create a new Gmail IMAP account in Outlook please either comment on this post or use the contact form on the site to request a howto for creating these types of accounts.