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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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The underlying reason why Outlook displays this "data file" check is very simple. There is a single flag in the header of the data file that is a Boolean value (True or False). While you use Outlook the value of this flag is constantly changing as the data file
is updated. When the update begins the value is changed to False and
then when the update completes the value is changed back to True
(implying the update is finished and successful).
the key to the problem is the shut down process because once the
Outlook.exe process is exited this flag value cannot be changed. If the
Outlook.exe process was terminated prematurely or a 3rd party add-in did
not properly set the flag value to True then the flag value can be left
at False. If you start Outlook with a data file where the value of the
flag is False you are guaranteed to see the "data file" check. If the
value of the flag is True then you will not see the "data file" check.
Right now, there are a few known common causes for this issue:
- Shutting down Windows before the Outlook.exe process has exited
- 3rd party add-ins improperly "closing" the data file
- Outlook crashing
- Non-Outlook process accessing the data file
Regarding the post advised by Rod, I would like to explain more detailed:
you shut down Outlook, the Outlook window goes away, but the
Outlook.exe process can continue to run for some time. That's why you
can see Outlook.exe sitting in Task Manager for a few minutes after
closing the Outlook window. If you shut down Windows while the
Outlook.exe process is still running Windows will not wait for the
Outlook.exe process to exit. So, you increase the likelihood of
encountering the "data file check" issue the next time you start Outlook
(because the Outlook.exe process was not able to "close" your data
file(s) completely before Windows was shut down).
On the other hand, if you leave Outlook running when you shut down Windows the Outlook.exe process will continue to run and exit on its own. When Windows is shut down, it sends messages to all visible window frames telling them to quit, and will wait for those programs to quit before shutting down. Not until all processes with open windows have exited will Windows finally shut down. This is somewhat counter-intuitive to most people as traditional training has always advised manually closing applications before shutting down Windows.
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