PST File Size Issues in Older Versions of Outlook

Many Outlook users who use versions older than Outlook 2003 find error messages related to the PST file size. Not paying immediate attention to this problem could cause damage to the PST file and perhaps result in permanent loss of data from the PST file. We look at how to handle the PST file size issue in older versions of Microsoft Outlook.

Users of Microsoft Outlook 2002 and older versions, often come across the error message that reads as follows –

‘ Errors have been detected in the file <file_path>. Quit all mail-enabled applications, and then use the Inbox Repair Tool.’

However, the Inbox Repair Tool in this instance proves unsuccessful in rectifying the errors and the user is simply not able to access the file. Typically, this problem arises due to the limit on the size of the PST file in older versions of Outlook. Not only is there a size limit of 2GB but also any attempt to go beyond this limit results in an immediate corruption of the PST file and one option is to use third-party tools to recover PST data.

Developers of Microsoft Outlook 2002 and older versions believed that a size limit of 2 GB should prove to be sufficient to store all kinds of email messages. However, with improving multimedia technology, messages are no longer simple text messages – they can be HTML or RTF and can have images embedded in them or carry attachments such as documents or videos. If the user does not regularly delete unwanted messages or have a proper archiving system in place, it is possible that the PST file very quickly approaches the size limit of 2GB. What should concern the user is that no prior warning is issued to the user about the file approaching the size limit so that steps could be taken to delete some data and create space. On the contrary, only when the file has reached the size limit and the user is unable to access the file does the problem come to light. At that point, the only option is to try and reduce the file size so that one can recover PST data to some extent.

Microsoft Outlook has certainly provided a tool for this purpose, called the Crop Tool. As the name suggests, this tool is used to delete some data from the oversized PST file and bring the size down to less than 2 GB. Having done that, the Inbox Repair Tool can then compact and repair the PST file. However, a user can only specify the amount of data that the Crop Tool can delete and not what data. This means that it is quite likely for the Crop Tool to delete some recently updated data in the PST file. If you would like to recover PST data from a file that has been damaged using the Crop Tool, you should be aware that the recovery is not going to be a hundred percent successful.

To achiever higher recovery rates from damaged PST files, you might have to turn to applications developed specially for this purpose such as DataNumen Outlook Repair from DataNumen. This tool ensures that all Outlook items such as email messages, appointments, tasks, notes, contacts, etc. stored in the PST file are restored. Further, DataNumen Outlook Repair can repair PST files in both the Outlook 97-2002 format as well as the more recent ones in the Outlook 2003-2010 format.

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