Monday, August 18, 2008

Outlook : Hazy with a chance of Pain

This morning I booted up my laptop and launched Outlook to pull up my calendar and task list (one of my favorite Outlook features) and plan out my day. However, my expectations were quickly dashed when Outlook informed me that it "Cannot open your default e-mail folders. The file c:\Documents and Settings\mquinlan\Local Settings\Appclication Data\Microsoft\Outlook\outlook0.ost cannot be accessed. You must connect to Microsoft Exchange at least once before you can use your offline folder file." and then closed immediately upon clicking the OK button.

Now I'm actually a big fan of Outlook, when I was working for RedHat and switched my laptop over to Linux I was forced to live without Outlook for more than a year and I must admit that the alternatives (Thunderbird and Evolution) are complete crap. Yes, Thunderbird is fine for email only users. But if you actually need to run your life in your PIM and you need something simple like calendaring support... you are stuck using buggy 3rd party extensions like Lightning. So needless to say, one of my favorite aspects of leaving RedHat was to return to my previous level of personal productivity through Outlook. Or so I had hoped.

Now on to debugging the problem. I've checked to ensure that the file it references does indeed exist. I've even temporarily removed the file so that Outlook might recreate it from the server-side (Exchange). But no luck. I'll post the resolution here once I figure it out. Not because anyone reading this is likely to benefit, but more likely that I will stumble across this again in 12-24 months and not be able to remember how to fix it and this will be my documentation.

Update: Looks like the problem wasn't Outlook, but rather another piece of software which I use to sync Outlook's calendars with Google calendar. While Google provides a free piece of software to do this, it is only capable of syncing your main Outlook calendar and I like to separate out personal and work calendars. I purchased and use SyncMyCal and it has worked flawlessly... until today. I'll see if there's an update. But luckily, this issue was fairly easy to resolve and didn't require me to rebuild my entire Outlook .ost file.


Greg said...

For you or others that google into this:

"The connection to Microsoft Exchange is unavailable. Outlook must be online or connected to complete this action"


"Cannot open your default email folders. The file C:\Users\user_name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\outlook.ost is not an ofline folder file.

Some common examples are:

1. In Outlook, you haven't set the email account for accessing the Exchange mailbox correctly.

2. In Outlook, you delete the email account for the Exchange mailbox.

3. In Exchange server, the Exchange mailbox, or the email account for the Exchange mailbox is disabled or deleted.

4. There are communication problems between the Outlook and the Exchange server.

5. You don't have an Exchange email account at all. And your email account is based on POP3, IMAP, HTTP or mail servers other than Exchange server. But you set your email account as Exchange-based by mistake.

5.2 If your Exchange mailbox or email account doesn't exist any more, or you don't have an Exchange email account at all, or the instructions in 5.1 don't work, then your current mail profile is incorrect, you should delete it and create a new one, as follows:
5.2.1 Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
5.2.2 Click Switch to Classic View if you are using Windows XP or higher versions.
5.2.3 Double-click Mail.
******If this is Windows Vista 64Bit, then go to Control Panel and click on View View 32-bit Control Panel Items and after that you can see the Mail Icon.

******If still you are not able to see the Mail Icon or you are using Windows Vista 32-Bits, then the Outlook is not set as default program for e-mail. To set the Outlook as default email program, do the following steps: -
1. Go to Control Panel,
2. Click on View Classic Icons
3. Click on Set Default Programs
4. Select the Microsoft Office Outlook in the list in left side.
5. Now, click on Set this Program as default.

5.2.4 In the Mail Setup dialog box, click Show Profiles.
5.2.5 Select one of the incorrect profile in the list and click Remove to remove it.
***Option: Click properties -> Click email accounts -> highlight email account/double click and edit. May be better to remove and create a new one as detailed below:
5.2.6 Repeat 5.2.5 until all incorrect profiles have been removed.
5.2.7 Click Add to create a new profile and add email accounts according to their types.
Note: you may need to plug in all POP/IMAP email account settings/mail server settings/passwords
5.2.8 Start Outlook, you should find that the problem disappears.

Alex said...

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Anonymous said...

When I closed my MS Outlook my computer saw to me blue screen and went off.This was terrifically.To my surprise myself helped next utility-export mail from .ost file,which I found in a big community.Program is free as far as I know,besides that application can as well export ost file without Outlook and export data from ost file to pst.

Alexis said...

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Mike said...

I want a tool which can convert ost to pst, i have a tool for pst repair
Repair outlook pst file tools
to repair pst file. I have deleted my email, but still i recover all my emails, now i have problem with ost, please tell a tool to convert ost to pst.