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This blog is about the latest Tips and Tricks on Exchange Server and MS Outlook issues.

Read the latest Tech News and Get Updated Daily with OST Conversion Tricks Blog :-

  • Exchange Server Backup and Recovery Guide.
  • Microsoft Outlook Data Files (OST and PST File) Issues.
  • It’Other Email Client and Conversion Tricks

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

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How to Locate and Repair OST File Using Command Prompt

In my previous post, I have shown you how to locate and repair OST file using GUI. But sometimes it is required to find OST file using command terminal and run scanost.exe tool using the command prompt. In this post, we will see how easily you can locate the OST file in your system using command only and run Microsoft Inbox Repair Tool to repair OST file.

Steps to Locate OST files using CMD (Command Prompt)

In order to Repair OST files you need to first locate them. In case the Windows Search features doesn't work you can still locate OST file using the command prompt. The steps for finding ost files are mentioned below:
Step 1: Open  Command Prompt [Windows Key+R>>Type CMD and hit enter].

Step 2: Type the following command in the command prompt and hit enter to search all ost file in c drive.
dir /s c:\*.ost

The above command will show all the OST file available on your system (in case you want to find pst files then simply replace OSTwith PST in command see: 
dir /s c:\*.pst
Step 3:  Copy the path of your OST file location and now run scanost.exe tool from command prompt using the command
dir /s c:\scanpst.exe

Note: From Outlook 2010 scanost.exe is no longer available. But scanpst.exe is the default tool to repair both OST and PST files. In case you are using earlier version of Outlook then you need to use scanost.exe tool for repairing corrupt OST file and scanpst.exe for PST files.

Step 4: Now you get the location of Microsoft Inbox Repair Tool and you can run it either from the command prompt or Windows GUI.
To Run Microsoft Inbox Repair Tool from cmd simply use the following command
first of all move the root directory by typing cd/ and enter.
Now type
c:\cd 'location of scanpst.exe tool'c:\'location of scanpst.exe tool'\scanpst.exe

The Rest of the process is same as we discussed in previous post See this Link: 
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Monday, 25 May 2015

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How to resolve Oversized OST and PST Problem in Outlook

OST (Offline Storage Table) stores the Outlook Mails, Calendars, Tasks and other items as a replica for offline use. When Microsoft Outlook is configured with Exchange Server using Cache Exchange Mode, OST file are created. Just like PST (Personal Storage Table), OST files are stored on a local computer (i.e. client system). Microsoft Outlook 2002 and previous versions Outlook limits the OST file size up to 2 GB maximum. If the OST file becomes oversized (i.e. crossed 2 GB limitation) then it will become unusable, and the user get the following error message:
Errors have been detected in the file Quit all mail-enabled applications, and then use the Inbox Repair Tool.

Oversized Problem of OST files

The maximum limit of OST file for various Outlook editions are:
  • Outlook 2002 and Previous Editions of Outlook: 2 GB
  • Outlook 2003 and 2007 Edition: 20 GB
  • Outlook 2010 and 2013: 50 GB 
The 2 GB file limit was in an earlier edition of Microsoft Outlook, which causes the problem as the data size grows abnormally. The reason behind this is because of ANSI format of Outlook Data Files (both for OST and PST). With the release of Outlook 2003 Edition, Microsoft Outlook was started using UNICODE file format for OST and PST files. The main advantage of UNICODE over ANSI format is that it supports multi-character encoding (using 32 bit with UTF-32 encoding). 

Top 3 Methods to Repair Oversized OST [Step By Step Guide] 

When OST files become oversized, it is unusable, and the user cannot access his/her emails. To avoid this limitation you can change the oversized limit by registry tweek. 

Method #1 Change Outlook Data File (OST and PST)Size Limit using Registry Settings 

The size limit can be changed by changing the following registry keys:
  • The MaxFileSize registry entry
  • The WarnFileSize registry entry
  • The MaxLargeFileSize registry entry
  • The WarnLargeFileSize registry entry
You can read this Microsoft KB Document in order to configure the size limit for outlook data files (.pst and .ost). 

Method #2 Use Microsoft OST and PST Crop Tool  

For oversized OST, the Microsoft Inbox Repair Tools fails to repair the OST file but you can try PST2GB CROP Tool from Microsoft which is freely available. 
Limitation: The tool Simply deletes the oversized data from your PST or OST file. So, It will cause loss of email data.

Method #3 Use OST Converter Tool and Split Oversized Files

If you can not afford to loose your important emails (deleted by PST2GB Tool from Microsoft), then it is better to choose OST Converter Tool which can convert OST file of any size (no 2 GB size limitations) and also you can split the files according to your desired file size. 
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Monday, 4 May 2015

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How to Open OST File without Outlook and Exchange Server

You can open OST file without outlook and Exchange Server installed in your system using Free OST Viewer. In this post I will guide you how easily you can open and view ost file without outlook and not even exchange server installed. But first of all some background details on OST file.

As previously stated OST file is an offline storage table file which is created when the client (Outlook) is connected to Exchange Server using cache exchange mode. Outlook items that are saved on your computer, are kept in an Outlook Data File (.pst and .ost). Outlook Data Files (.ost) are always copies of items that are saved on a mail server and don’t have to be backed up like Outlook Data Files (.pst).

When Outlook is connected to Exchange Server the OST file is created which store emails, calendars and contacts of the user in an encrypted format. Due to this encryption it is not possible to read ost file if it is not connected to exchange server. In order to view ost file without exchange server you need a free ost viewer which should be portable so that you can open file anywhere.

Sometimes, it is required to view OST file remotely and you don’t have permission to run Outlook then this
free ost reader can be very helpful in that case. This tools works even if you don’t know where is the ost file stored in your system. Using this tool you can check ost file and read mail from ost file for free. 
Also in case of Exchange Server corruption and you cannot access you outlook then this method of opening ost file is very useful.

Step By Step Guide to open OST file without Outlook Installation

In order to read or open ost file without exchange server / outlook you need to follow below mentioned steps:
Step 1: Download the FREE OST Viewer which is a totally free tool for viewing your entire ost file and does not have any MS Outlook dependency in order to view the ost fle.
Step 2:  Install the software using with the help of installation wizard. 
Step 3: Now Run the tool using [Start Menu>>All Programs>>OST Viewer] and click on open button to load the ost file from the system.

Step 4: Select OST file from local system and click on Open button to load OST file. OST file scanning and reading process starts to extract corrupt OST file items.
Step 5: Confirmation message window pops-up after completion of OST scan process. Click on Ok button.
In left panel, complete OST folders structure is displayed to all. At the right panel you can see the files (mails, calendars, contacts and other items) stored in OST file.


So, what we learnt in this tutorial is that in order to open or read the content of OST file you don’t need to have outlook or exchange server installed in your system. Also using this tool to view ost file you got different options like you can convert the ost file into other formats and open in different email clients. 
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How to defrag exchange 2010 database [Step By Step Guide with Screens]

Why do we need to defrag the exchange mailbox database? Here are some situations in which you have to perform defragmentation on your exchange mailbox database:
  1. No additional space left to create a new database to migrate the mailbox.
  2. Active alerts for the low disk space.
  3. In order to claim whitespace created by archiving process.

Your options to reclaim space (whitespace) created due to deletion of mails and other items from mailbox are to either:
  • Create a new mailbox database and move all the mailboxes to that database: A mailbox migration has fewer risks, can be less disruptive as a whole, but will generate a lot of transaction logging that needs to be kept under control so it may take longer (i.e. several nights/weekends to migrate) as opposed to just one outage for a defrag.
  • Perform an offline defrag (using eseutil /d command): An offline defrag involves an outage for all users on that database, but may be more convenient if there is not additional storage available to allocate to the Exchange server to hold the new database.

Defrag exchange 2010 database using eseutli /d (Step by Step Guide)

  • You can defragment a database only if it is dismounted which means no user can access the database (emails) until the defrag process is complete.
  • You need some available disk space (1.2 times free space) to perform the defrag. This is because a new file is written during the defragmentation process. 
  • Most important one the backup that you can use for recovery if something goes wrong during the defrag. 

Here the steps that you can follow to perform defragmentation exchange 2010 database:
Step 1: Check the size of mailbox (how big it is?) and how much whitespace is there. To check this you need to run the following command in Exchange Management Shell.
[PS] C:\>Get-MailboxDatabase -Status | ft name,databasesize,availablenewmailboxspace –auto
This command will show Name, Size and Available New Mailbox Space (whitespace). The whitespace is created due to             archiving. If you want to reclaim this space go to step 2.
Step 2: Open the Exchange Management Shell and navigate to the folder containing the database file.
cd D:\Data\MB-HO-01
Step 3: Dismount the mailbox database.
Dismount-Database MB-HO-01
Step 4: Run ESEUtil to defrag the file.
[PS] D:\Data\MB-HO-01>eseutil /d MB-HO-01.edb /t\\testserver\defrag\temp.edb
  It is recommended that you immediately perform a full backup
  of this database. If you restore a backup made before the
  defragmentation, the database will be rolled back to the state
  it was in at the time of that backup.
Step 5: Mount the database again.
mount-Database MB-HO-01
Step 6: check that the file is smaller, and all the white space is gone.
Get-MailboxDatabase -Status | ft name,databasesize,availablenewmailboxspace -auto

Reasons why not to do offline defrag

Here are the top reasons why you should not perform offline defrag using Eseutil /d unless or until it is very necessary:
  1. Database Dismounted during the defrag process: During the defragmentation process as stated above you need to dismount the database first. Dismounting the database for a long time can cause problem (emails can’t be accessed). After the defragmentation process complete you need to remount the database and take a full backup immediately which is time consuming.
  2. Risk of Database Corruption: There is risk of database corruption during the defrag process.
  3. Complicated and time consuming: offline defrag not only complicates the process of backup and recovery but also a time consuming process. 

So what’s the alternative for offline defrag process?

So what to do in case of getting active alerts for low space on storage (database need to be cleared) otherwise database dismounting problem.
Read the following post for better solution to increase the size of database and other life saving strategies that you can perform in order to save you exchange database from being corruption. 
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Sunday, 3 May 2015

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How to Solve Outlook Error (Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window)

Problem of Outlook Cannot Start:

While starting Microsoft Outlook it shows error “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window”. In this post we will go through a series of troubleshooting technique in order to resolve the above stated error.  

Steps to Resolve the Error Cannot Open the Outlook Window:

Step 1: Start Outlook in Safe Mode
Why to start Outlook in Safe Mode?
Sometimes the reason behind non opening of Outlook Windows is due to Add-in which can cause conflict with Outlook settings and prevent Outlook access to the user.
Method 1:
Step 1: Click Start>> Run [or simply press  Win+
Step 2: type outlook.exe /safe [remember to leave space between exe and /]
Method 2:
Holding Ctrl key from your keyboard double click on Outlook icon to launch it in safe mode. Outlook will automatically detect this and shows you the following pop up. Press Yes button to start outlook in safe mode.
outlook safe mode

Step 2: Disable Add-ins
Click on Tools>>Trust Center
outlook trust centre
Click on Add-ins in left panel of Trust Center and then click Go Button to enter in COM Add-ins where you can manage Add-ins.
Now uncheck all the add-ins that is listed under COM Add-Ins windows as shown.
uncheck all the add ins
Step 3: Restart Outlook
Press OK button and restart Outlook normally without Safe Mode to check the problem is solved or not.
If the problem still persists you need to create a new user profile and set Outlook to use this profile.

How to create a New Profile Outlook 2007

Click Start>>Control Panel>>Mails>> show profiles
outlook profile
Click Add button to add new profile. Type profile name and click OK.

create new profile
Now enter your credentials like Name [type new name], Email Address and password and click Next button.
add new email account
Your account should auto setup if you are joined to the STB domain, and then click Next.

In the Add Account dialog, click Finish.

Under Always use this profile; select the profile name that you used

Click OK.
Try restarting Outlook. If creating a new user profile did not resolve the issue,
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Thursday, 30 April 2015

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Exchange Database Exceeds Size limit Problem and Solution

Error: Database size has exceeded the size limit of

Product: Microsoft Exchange Server
Error Message: [Event ID 9690]
Exchange store '<storage group name>': The logical size of this database (the logical size equals the physical size of the .edb file and the .stm file minus the logical free space in each) is <number> GB. This database size has exceeded the size limit of <number> GB.This database will be dismounted immediately.

Problem Cause

The above error message comes when the logical size of the database becomes greater than the one that you configured.  
The logical size of the database is calculated by adding the physical size of EDB and STM files minus the logical free space in them.

Default Size Limit of Exchange Server 

Exchange Server 2003 Database Size Limit

In Microsoft Exchange 2003, Standard Edition supported two databases in single storage group (one for mailbox and other for public folder database). The standard edition before SP2 of Exchange Server 2003 have 16 GB database size limit for each database which cannot be configured further. However with SP2 Edition you get 18 GB default configuration limit which is 2GB extra with a maximum size limit of 75 GB, which means you can increase the limit by upto 75 GB by using a registry key.
The enterprise edition of Exchange Server 2003 gives 8,000 GB (actually it depends on the hardware of the system) size limit for each database. 

Database Size Limit in Exchange Server 2007 and later version (2010 and 2013).

Exchange Server 2007 standard edition RTM supported five databases and up to five storage group (instead of just two databases which is the case of in Exchange Server 2003 edition). The default size limit is 50GB per database which can be increase up to 15 TB by editing registry values. In Exchange 2007 Standard Edition SP1 the limit is 250GB. There is no default database size limit for the Exchange 2007 Enterprise Edition.
In standard edition of Exchange Server 2010 the default size limit is 1024 GB (i.e 1 TB) and there is no default size limit for Enterprise edition users.
In Exchange Server 2013 we got maximum limit of 16TB although it recommended to use 2 TB size limit for database because the larger the size of Database, larger the time taken to take backup and recovery process.

What will happen if the configured or licensed database size limit reached?

As soon as the database mounts in Exchange Server the following process will happen
  1. The store process compares the Physical Database size with the Configured Database Size Limit.If the physical size is within or exceeds the configured Database Size Warning Buffer in Percentage, the store performs a logical calculation of the database size.
  2. If it is below this warning buffer, there is no need to calculate the free space because the logical size will never exceed the physical size. 

With Exchange Server 2003 SP2 or later, the server performs the following tasks when the configurable (or default configured) database size limit is reached:
  • If the first check after a database mount finds the database size above the limit, the database will not be taken offline but an error event (ID 9689) will be logged in the Application event log.
  • If it is the second check, an error event will be logged in the Application event log and the database will be taken offline. 

So what’s the solution to the problem stated above? Offline Defragmentation! No, you will need at least 1.5 times the database size in available hard drive space to run it. Below are the best possible solutions for the problem of Database size exceeded size limit.


Method 1: Increase the configured size limit of Exchange Database using Registry

Note: Incorrectly editing the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system.
Step 1: Open Regedit and browse to the following registry key: 
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeIS\<Server Name>\Private-<database GUID> 
Step 2: If the key “Database Size Limit in GB” DWORD already exists under the subkey “Private-[database GUID]”, change its value to the desired size in gigabytes, be sure to select ‘decimal’ when you enter the number.
If the “Database Size Limit in GB” DWORD does not exist for the subkey then create a new DWORD “Database Size Limit in GB”, and then set its decimal value to the desired size in gigabytes.
Note: You may need to restart the information store service for the changes to take effect.
Step 3: Restart the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service
Step 4: Check event viewer for the following events:
Event ID 1216 will provide information about what is the current physical size of the database and how much size is allocated.

Method 2: Reduce the size of database or create a new database.

You can reduce the database size by creating a new database and move the files into it. Or you can ask users to delete mailbox or public folder data that is not required. But deleting mails will not create free space most of the time and it is better to create a new database and move some data into it. Moving mailboxes from one Exchange Database to another cleans corrupt items and will boost the performance. After moving the database makes sure you update your backup scheme to include the newly created second database. One more benefit of creating a new database is it allows you to keep your store up and the mail flows.

What if the problem still exists?

What if the above two solutions failed to work and you still get the error “This database will be dismounted immediately.” So it is recommended to convert the edb files of the Exchange Server into PST file which can done by EDB to PST Converter easily even if there is size, corruption or dismounting database issues.
By converting EDB file (priv.edb and pub.edb) into PST file format user can get rid of the problem of edb size and dismounting issues.
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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

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How to reduce size of large OST file ?

MS Outlook File grows as you create and receive items. Sometimes user of MS outlook encounter an error that OST file exceeded its default maximum file size while sending and receiving emails.
 The default maximum file size (OST/PST) of various outlook versions is: 
  •    Outlook 2002 and earlier versions : 2 GB
  •    Outlook 2003 and 2007  : 20 GB
  •       Outlook 2010 and above : 50 GB

Deleting some data item from OST file might not decrease the file size in proportion to the data that you deleted. To reduce the size of ost file you should use Synchronization Filter method and then go for Compact now option on advanced tab settings of exchange account.  

Synchronization filter method 

When you are using exchange server account and selected ‘cached exchange mode’ all data items of your exchange mailbox get cached in OST file in your system. Thereby OST file increases in size as the data cached is increased, you can filter the data coming from exchange mailbox using synchronization filter. Synchronization filter Method restricts particular data items to be synchronized from exchange mailbox to ost there by reducing the size of ost file at some extent. Using this method you are able to cache the data items that are received last month, year or on particular date. 

Steps to be followed for Synchronization filter method, 

Step 1: Right click on folder and click properties 
Step 2: Click synchronization tab and then click Filter 
inbox properties
Step 3: Now provide the appropriate criteria for filtering that you want according to what data items should arrive in folder. For examples
       Filter method for mail folder, Select advanced tab and enter these values
       Field: received
       Condition: on or after
       Value: 1 year ago
You can do the same procedure for calendar and public folders
Step 4: Click Ok and Restart outlook now. 

Compact Now method 

After performing Synchronization filter method you can further reduce ost file size using compact now option.  As MS outlook not directly reduce the size of ost file when you delete the data item from it but it can shrink ost file after a particular threshold reached instead of waiting for this threshold you can manually perform compact process using Compact Now.

Steps to be followed for Compact Now method;

Step 1: Open control panel and click on mail 
control panel
Step 2: Then select data file in mail setup wizard 
mail setup
Step 3: Select the ost that you want to shrink and click on settings
account setting
Step 4: Microsoft Exchange setting wizard will open here select advanced tab and then select outlook data file setting. 
exchange setting
Step 5: Browse and locate the ost then click compact Now.

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