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In Sue Mosher's Outlook Tips and Techniques, March 2001, she discussed how to recover a Personal Folders (.pst) file that had grown to more than Outlook's 2GB limit. When a .pst file exceeds 2GB, users can't archive more items, and they can't access the existing archives.
I've found a way to recover all the mail stored in a 2GB file. The method is rather simple but time-consuming, and it requires access to the mailbox. I've been successful with more than 80 sets of Personal Folders, and I've had only two failed recovery attempts. Here's what I do:
- Run the Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe) on the file. First, locate the .pst file, then quit Outlook. Choose Start, Find, then search for scanpst.exe; run the program when you locate it. The tool reports any error it finds; to repair the damaged files, click Repair. (This step isn't always necessary but might be if the .pst file is corrupted.)
- Create a profile that points to the person's mailbox (on the Exchange server), and log on from an account that holds permissions to the mailbox.
- Import the items from the .pst file into the mailbox.
- From here, the user must create another set of Personal Folders and clean up the mailbox.
On my network, recovering a 2GB file takes about 6 hours. The recovery takes less time if I copy the file directly to hard disk space on the server, but my organization has limited resources.