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Closing Outlook folders can be a problem if Outlook's PST file is corrupted somehow. Scanpst may fix the errors.

I'm trying to close an email folder in Outlook but I get the following message, "The operation failed. An object cannot be found." What am I supposed to do for closing or deleting the mentioned folder?

In this excerpt from Answercast #79, I look at ways to correct problems in an Outlook .pst file that is calling folder errors.

Closing Outlook folders

What I do in a case like this is:

  • Exit Outlook completely;

  • Then specifically back up the PST file that you're having the problem with.

Then, in the Office menus (in other words > All Programs > Office > perhaps even underneath Outlook), there should be a program called Scanpst: scanpst.exe. If it's not in the menus, it will actually be in the same folder that contains Outlook.exe on your machine, so you can search for scanpst.exe.

Run scanpst.

Direct it to the .pst file that you are having problems with. It will actually scan the PST file and look for problems in the file itself. File format corruption is one of the ways that this kind of problem could result.

Cleaned .pst file

By using scanpst, the result will be a cleaned file that (hopefully) the next time you open Outlook will simply not have this problem.

The only risk (and the reason I say you must back up your .pst first) is that in correcting the problems it finds in the .pst file, scanpst can as a side effect cause some data to be lost.

Ultimately, we have to realize that there's a problem to begin with. Data is going to be hurt somehow. Data has already been hurt somehow.

Scanpst is doing the best that it can to fix things up - but occasionally, that means that some of the contents of some of the messages might be lost. Saving the original uncorrected file is one way of ensuring that if something important is lost, you can still go back to that unfixed PST file and potentially retrieve what scanpst kind of "fixed" away.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

End of Answercast #79 Back to - Audio Segment

Article C6148 - December 17, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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