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I've been using Microsoft Outllook 2000 for receiving and sending e-mails happily with Windows XP SP3 for a long time but in the last few days Outlook has been unexpectedly closing almost immediately after opening without any error messages. To try and cure the problem, I have used Windows System Restore but have been unable to restore to an earlier date/time. Any help or advice you can offer would be gratefully appreciated. Many thanks in advance.

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  • wbroad Sep 08, 2010


    Thanks for the prompt response. Since I originally contacted you I have checked a few thing for myself (see below):-

    I don't think the data file (mailbox.pst) is corrupt.
    I have scanned the file with scanpst.exe and no errors were found.
    I have also temporarily moved the data file from its default location which forced Outlook to create a brand new data file but this did not cure the problem.
    Also, I added a new profile in Outlook and removed/re-added the original profile but I still have the same problem.
    After searching the internet, I found a workaround for the problem as follows:-

    1) At a command prompt run: Outlook /cleanprofile (this switch prompts for a profile to use and then apparently removes invalid profile keys and recreates default registry
    keys where applicable).

    2) I have to do this with both profiles and then Outlook opens and stays open OK. When I close Outlook the problem returns so I have to do this each time I want to open Outlook. It's not an ideal solution but it works for now.

    I don't think a Windows update has caused the problem either because I have not installed any updates for 2-3 weeks and Outlook was working fine until last weekend.

    Just before the problem started, I downloaded an I-Tunes update. Do you think this may have caused the problem? Perhaps I should un-install I-Tunes and re-install the previous version?

    I've also tried Outlook's own "Detect and Repair" utility but this made no difference.

    I suspect that something might be corrupting the Outlook profiles or incorrectly removing Registry keys when I close Outlook. Perhaps I should completely un-install Microsoft Office 2000 Professional and then re-install it from the original set of two CDs?

    Lastly, I've noticed that the data file is quite large (374 MB). Is there a limit to the size of file that Outlook can handle? Should I perhaps compact the data file or archive some of the older messages?

    Is any of the above additional information of any help?

    Let me know what you think. I'd be really grateful for your opinion.

    Thanks in advance.


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Most Outlook problems of this kind are caused by a corrupted Outlook data file. In that case system restore and Office reinstall will not work.

Outlook/Office 2000 is also quite an outdated version, and may have troubles with Microsoft updates, that usually are set to install automatically.

As first step, locate and copy and paste onto an external hard drive, a CD or a USB memory stick the Outlook PST data files (look for personal.pst). This are located inside the hard drive. They can be found used Windows search. In the search window use advanced to enable searching hidden files and system files.

Once you have done manually a backup of your data, find a copy of Office 2007 or Office 2003 (better), and install it onto the computer. If the operation is successfull, the newer Outlook will convert and update automatically the old PST file, importing all your personal folders, contacts etc. and fixing the problem.

If the update cannot be performed, or if that does not fix the problem, then report exactly the error message that you get. The fixes are different depending on the error prompted by Office.

Posted on Sep 07, 2010

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