At times, some MS Outlook users may encounter an error message which mentions that the application data file was not closed properly. In this article, we dwell deep into the genesis of this error and offer six effective solutions to tackle it.
The MS Outlook application has maintained its pole position in the desktop email client market for decades. Over time, it has revamped its feature set and matured itself into a fantastic product that today is often used by many firms as a productivity tool to even as a mini CRM solution. While there is very little that one can complain about when it comes to its range of features, the MS Outlook application still has apparent weak spots when it comes to robustness. It is quite normal for Outlook users to come face to face with unexpected error messages and the error, “A data file did not close properly the last time it was used and is being checked for problems. Performance might be affected while the check is in progress.” is a classic example. Let’s jump into the issue and understand its context.
Possible Causes Behind the Error
This error typically shows up when a user is attempting to open the application. Once the error appears, the application checks the file for problems and in most cases mentions that error checking is complete after a few minutes. Further, a user can access the application once this process completes. However, this error can be an indication of a whole gamut of issues and should be rectified at the earliest.
One of the key causes behind this issue is the size of the underlying PST file. If it has extended into multiple GBs, it is better to reduce its size by splitting it. If you are using an older iteration of Outlook, it is better to keep the PST file size to less than 2GB. That apart the issue can actually occur due to a power outage or system crash too. In addition, resource conflicts and malware too are known to cause this scenario. Let’s look at six ways to effectively deal with this error.
#1. Reduce the PST File Size
The very first thing that you need to do when you encounter the error message is to simply reduce the size of the PST data file. Even if you are using a newer edition of Outlook and data file size is within the prescribed limit, it still makes sense to compact it. Not only can it stop the error from showing up, but it may also speed up the Outlook application. Here’s what you need to do
- Open the MS Outlook application and reach the File tab
- Next from the Account settings, reach to the Data Files Screen
- Select the PST file you wish you to reduce in size and click on Settings
- Next click on Compact Now to complete the process
#2. Run a PST Recovery Tool
If reducing the size of the PST file fails to resolve the issue, you are possibly looking at a corrupted PST file. Hence you need to extract the contents from the compromised file and store them in a new PST data file. This can be achieved with the help of the DataNumen Outlook Repair tool that boasts of the highest recovery success rate for any tool in this genre. The application can dig out virtually every possible Outlook contents that you can think of; from embedded files to contacts and journals in quick time.
#3. Use Inbox Repair Tool(ScanPST)
The MS Office package that you are running on your local machines comes loaded with a PST repair tool called ScanPST. While the jury is still out on the efficacy of the product, you may still use it to deal with routine cases of PST corruption. To figure out the place where this tool is available in your system, you need to visit Microsoft’s Support website and check details for the version relevant to you. Once you have got hold of the tool, simply try the steps given below.
- Start the Inbox Repair Tool (also called ScanPST) application
- Next by using the Browse option just go ahead and choose the specific messed up PST file
- Once you are ready, hit on the Start button to initiate the recovery process.
#4. Recovery from Drive/Disk Directly
Recovering the contents of a corrupted PST file can be tricky. In some cases, it may not be possible to directly recover all the contents from a corrupted file. An alternate approach involves attempting to recover the contents from the source data drive itself. This can be achieved with the help of a tool like DataNumen Outlook Drive Recovery, which can scan the source drive and recover all Outlook contents stored in it with aplomb.
#5. Revert Back to a Previous State
In some cases, despite trying out the above steps, you may still be stuck with the issue. In such cases, it is best to revert back the system to a day when Outlook was working without a glitch. To do so, run the System Restore application in Windows and try out the instructions mentioned below.
- From your Windows desktop screen, go to the Windows Search Bar (also known as the Run Box) and then type in System Restore
- Now bring up the Recovery Control Panel
- Thereafter select Open System Restore from the Advanced recovery tools options.
- Select an apt Restore Point date that you are confident about when Outlook was working perfectly and then perform the onscreen instructions to finish the roll-back process.
#6. Restore to a Previously Backed-up PST File
Occasionally a system restore may not work, especially if the issue is related to the PST file and somehow seems to persist. In such cases, it is best to get hold of a previously saved copy of the Outlook data file and then replace the existing PST file with it. Here’s how you can find the location of the Outlook data file and achieve the goal.
- Open up MS Outlook and in the application interface, move to the File tab
- Go to the Account Settings which is typically showcased below the Info tab
- Once you reach there, just click on Account Settings and go to the Data Files screen to locate the current PST file. Just replace it with the previously saved file.
Outlook users can at times come across surprising error messages at the most inopportune time. For example, you may be planning to send out critical emails to your customers and suddenly the application crashes. In such cases, you should follow a logical step-wise process, as shown in this article to isolate the cause and rectify the issue. Better still, keep a powerful Outlook recovery tool like DataNumen Outlook Repair handy to deal with unforeseen circumstances.