Outlook 2007 often doesn’t close the data file properly


I live in Outlook 2007 all the time as it’s the hub for my communications with clients and friends.  It is the one tool that keeps me informed, on time and in touch with my colleagues and I love the way it works most of the time.  One thing that has bugged me for a very long time is why Outlook 2007 often fails to close its data file properly when you close the program:


I find that it does this on every computer I use and there’s a 50/50 chance when I close Outlook that I’ll see this message the next time I run it.  It doesn’t really hurt anything other than cause the disk to read a bit as it "checks" the data file but it’s annoying that properly closing the program still doesn’t close the data file consistently.  At least that’s what I have to assume since that’s what it tells me.  What’s up with that?



First of all you must know where your .pst file is and which one you are using when the error occurs. Pretty easy while in Outlook just go to tools–>Accounts. Then click on Data files tab. Usually if you are using the default office it will be somewhere such as:

C:Users…Local SettingsApplication DataMicrosoftOutlookOutlook.pst

Either remeber this location or write it down and then close Outlook.

Do a search on your local drive for scanpst.exe. It is usually found somewhere like:

C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice12

run this file. When it starts browse to your .pst file and make sure you click the box to backup your scanned file. Let it run. It will most always find faults espcially if you have large .pst files. Once complete, you should be good to go. If you encounter the error in Outlook again, just run the file again. Worked for me! Hope it helps someone else. Ciao!

Rod Klinger

I have the same issue — drives me nuts. I’ll go thru all add-ins and delete all the unnecessary ones, and see if that helps.


I’m using Vista Ultimate with Office 2007 Standard and am having the problem of OUTLOOK.exe still being active in my Task Manager even after closing the program.

My computer is brand new, less than a week old, so my install of Outlook 2007 is fresh and my .pst has just been created. I’m using no add-ons.

Any idea?



I heard about not bad application-pst repair, recover data, such as messages, notes, contacts and other Microsoft Outlook items will be saved to a new pst file (or several *.pst files), reading data from files created in Microsoft Outlook versions 97, 98, 2000, XP, 2002, 2003, 2007, saving recovered data in the format of Microsoft Outlook versions 97, 98, 2000, XP, 2002, 2003, 2007, repair .pst tool copatible with Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT 4.0, recover .ost files of Microsoft Exchange.

pst repair

You have raised very good issue.This problem occurs since you have shut down outlook, the window goes away, but the process continues running for some time doing file system work on your PST files. To avoid this always close your outlook some time before turning of your system.


I had the 50/50 problem until I completely removed Google Desktop add-ins and another component of GD under the Trust Center in Outlook. Unfortunately, GD never fully addressed the issue (or MS, whomever is to blame), and so I am forced to use the less helpful Desktop Search.

Karan M


This error is caused 90+% of the time by poorly written Outlook add-ins that don’t shutdown properly when you exit Outlook and shutdown the machine.

It is relatively harmless given that your email is stored on Exchange, but a PIA and a hit to productivity.

As a few other users have suggested, I would review your add-ins and remove some you don’t think you need. Earlier versions of Xobni were causing this every time I closed Outlook and I uninstalled it for a while. It seems the more recent versions are much quality and have fixed this issue.


I don’t believe this to be add-in related but rather to the size of the pst files.

I have NO add-ins but several large pst files (usually 4-6GB of pst files open) and have experienced this error/issue.

Very annoying.

Ms really needs to fix Outlook (which admittedly is the best program out there).

M Freitas

It doesn’t matter really how fast you shutdown after Outlook has exited (by exited I mean really finished). I have Knockout and I know when OL is not running so I shutdown AFTER this – and the error still happens.

It’s an add-in thing. The only add-in I have is Xobni. But it also happened before with Avast.

So it is an architectural thing really. Bad OL, bad.


James: I’m glad you posted this so I know it’s not just me! I agree with Brevi and Laura – I think this relates to shutting down Outlook and then powering off the computer “too quickly.” I’m going to look at Knockout too – thanks to those of you posting that tip.



In my experience, and I’ve seen this error on multiple machines (more than 20 at least), this means you’re Outlook store is hosed. That could be the pst or ost file depending on if you are in Exchange mode. In your case, its your ost. Sometimes the repair process can fix it but usually you’ll just keep getting the error. Luckily you can just blow out your Ost file and when you restart Outlook it’ll rebuild. On a pst I’ve done an export into a new pst and that’s done it as well.

It usually starts with bad Outlook add-ins or machine crashes. I’ve not heard of it from going into hibernate but that doesnt sound surprising.


I also think it’s an addin related issue. There are tons of programs linked to Outlook. Bluetooth add-in, Windows Mobile sync, Google calendar sync, iTunes sync, antivirus, Adobe acrobat,etc.
I run “knockout” to make sure Outlook and Word are actually closed. I believe you or Kevin recommended the program here a while ago.


Been there, living it as I can’t give up the Netcentrics GTD add-in. With it I have the problem 90+% of the time, less so if I’ve rebooted within the past few hours. The problem disappears without the NetCentrics add-in. Xobni hasn’t made a difference for me one way or the other. /S


Do you use Google Desktop? I had this same behaviour. Uninstalling Google Desktop fixed it. For more details see here:

To help me be aware if any Outlook plugin is causingn this behaviour, I use a free utility called Knockout It puts an icon in your taskbar that shows you when the Outlook process is still running, even though you have “closed”
it. So you can use it to wait for the process to close before you shut down your computer, &
thus avoid the data file issue when you start Outlook after a reboot.

If you wait & the Outlook process doesn’t end, then Knockout also lets you terminate it directly from the taskbar, without having to open Task Manager.

For more details see here:


You are correct. Google desktop search trashes outlook. I do not know if google has fixed this yet, but that is step one for me when people have outlook problems ost/pst problems if I see that in their add/remove programs.


I run into this all the time with large mailboxes at work.

Be wary of plugins and keep your Inbox and Sent Items folders under 500 items (use folders) and you will almost never have this problem.

Rick Huizinga

“If there’s a single thing that annoys me a lot on Microsoft Outlook is this “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” message.

Yes, it sure slows down everything, no kidding. It’s worst when it happens on a Saturday evening.

I found this before and fixed it by disabling the Avast Exchange server add-in. Now I am using Xobni and it’s happening again.

Is it possible to have any Microsoft Outlook add-in installed that do not crash Microsoft Outlook?”

Pasted from

Laura Rooke

As one person has already mentioned, I think it’s because the OUTLOOK process doesn’t always close itself when you exit OUTLOOK. So if you shut your machine down too quickly, this will happen. I often go in and kill the OUTLOOK process manually – I do this because I have Carbonite which will only back up the .pst file when OUTLOOK is not running.

Skip Coghill

I get this error often using OL 2007 and Vista. I always cringe a bit praying everything will come up OK. It always has.

I was wondering if it had something to do with my tasks or hyperlinks tied to OneNote 2007. I notice sometimes when I open OneNote 2007 before even opening OL 2007 it asks me to log in to profile and password of OL.

When shutting down I wonder if it best to close OneNote first then Outlook or the other way around.

So my thoughts have been, maybe it’s the integration of OneNote and Outlook.


I get this error since i installed a Windows Vista Ultimate and Outlook 2007 (both are German versions) and i’m connecting to my servers via pop. I have installed all available updates and i am not using any third party addins. Allthough i get this message i have never had trouble with my .pst file. It would be nice to know a fix for this as the check of the data file slows down my pc (but fortunately just a bit).


Make sure, you dont shut off/hibernate/standby immediately after closing Outlook. My experience is, that after closing Outlook, there is still some process running in the background, for a few seconds (minutes?) that does some datafile maintenance. Look at “Outlook.exe” in taskmanager after closing Outlook it stays ther for some time.

Jose R. Ortiz

I use Outlook 07 with an exchange account as well but the only time I have seen that error is when my machine shuts off unexpectedly and Outlook is not closed properly.


I have similar problems and find that often Outlook never closes down at all. Recently I formatted and reinstalled everything on my P1610 with XP and decided to install as few Outlook add-ins as possible and then saved that image with Acronis True Image. I am cautious to ensure Outlook has indeed closed whenever I am prompted to reboot. I use Jenson’s Knockout to let me know.

In the last 2 months following the above actions, Outlook and in fact, my entire computer experience, has run much more reliably. It has affected my reboot and resume from standby speeds considerably – to the point that I have put off selling the P1610 and buying a P1620 with a SSD.

Before I used the following Outlook addins:
-Netcentrics GTD
-Text Aloud
-Fedex manager
-Mind Manager 6
-Send to OneNote
-Send to Evernote
-Enterprise Vault

Now, I only install the following:
-Enterprise Vault (used by my company)
-TEO (I am a 95% slate user)
-Send to OneNote
-Text Aloud (to have emails read to me while I am driving)



i have Outlook 2007 on a multitude of machines & have never seen that message. the fact you see it often & on all your machines indicates it’s definitely something specific with whatever youre doing. check for common Outlook environmental variables across all your machines (i.e. problematic email, attachment, etc).

M Freitas

I have had the same error for ages – and like some of you I use cached-mode Exchange Server over RPC/HTTPS so it’s not only a PST problem.

I’ve blogged about this a couple of months ago – it could be some poorly designed add-in such as Avast and Xobni.

Yes, they are related to the problem and Outlook is to be blamed for allowing such poor performance from add-ins.



James, I have been using my job-hunt gmail account with Outlook 2007 for about a month now, and I have noticed this behavior as well. And ilke you, while I have yet to notice any data losses or corruption, I still find it annoying.



Like you, I live in Outlook 2007 and I’ve never seen that message. However, I connect to a remote Exchange Server via HTTP/RPC so maybe it’s the difference between using a .ost file and a .pst file.

Neill Currie

I use Outlook 2003 on Vista and XP machines, and have never (ever) seen that warning in the last 5 years.

Neill Currie

I use Outlook 2003 on Vista and XP machines, and have never (ever) seen that warning in the last 5 years.

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