Troubleshooting Outlook Issues Wisely: Practical Advice

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Microsoft Outlook definitely left a mark on the world of desktop email clients. Its advancements have made market rivals like IBM, Mozilla, and Apple, which were once its main opponents, difficult to compete against. Initially only an emailing program, it is now the preferred option for business professionals. By far, users are introduced to various versions of this messaging platform, and its advantages have attracted a sizable portion of the market.


1) IMAP/POP3: Any POP3 or IMAP email account may be configured with Microsoft Outlook, and the mailbox database can be accessed using a PST file that is stored on a hard drive. The location of this data file varies depending on the Windows and Outlook versions being used.

2) Exchange Server: This application’s configuration with Exchange Server, which provides an internal messaging platform, is its greatest benefit for enterprises. While the database on the server is saved as an EDB file, a user account on the server can be opened, accessed, and managed using an OST file in Outlook.

Data Files

PST and OST are the two types of data files that are created in Outlook based on how they are configured, as was explained in the section above. These two files are additionally classified as ANSI and Unicode PST/OST files.

• The Unicode file has the benefit of holding up to data in terabytes, while the ANSI kind of file allows for the storage of databases of about 2GB (according to size limits).

• Versions of Outlook 2002 and earlier produced ANSI files, while versions of Outlook 2003 and beyond produced Unicode files.

Problems and Causes:

This emailing tool, like everything else on this website, is not flawless. It experiences a variety of issues, which may be brought on by user error, software malfunction, or improper file management. For instance:

  • Email Send/Receive Problem: If a user is unable to send or receive an email, there could be reasons like Outlook message stuck in Outbox, improper SMTP authentication, add-ins causing hindrance, incorrect configuration of application (especially when done manually) etc.
  • Incorrect Settings of Outlook: Incorrect settings can lead to issues like duplicate emails (multiple rules set for incoming emails), authentication errors (wrong Server port number), Outlook in offline mode etc.
  • Corruption of Data Files: Oversized PST or OST file results in corruption of data files. In addition to this, just like any normal file on hard disk, this file has threat of getting corrupted due to reasons like virus attack, improper exit from application, changes in file structure (example: processing it with hex editor) etc makes data files corrupt.
  • Deletion of Emails or Other Items: Accidental or intentional deletion of items can cause a loss to users and when items are permanently deleted, they give a hard time at restoration. However, when it is about recovering permanently deleted Outlook emails, it is possible by making some efforts until PST file is compacted.

Free Troubleshooting Tools:

Tool for Scapst.exe/Inbox Repair Different methods can be used to solve Outlook problems and errors. Microsoft offers a built-in, free solution called Inbox Repair tool that assists in resolving issues with PST file structure and rebuilds it.

OST file synchronization issues with Exchange Server can be checked using the Scanost.exe/OST Integrity Checker utility. The client and server connections must be stable for the utility to run.