Software

Fixing Task folder corruption in Outlook 98/2000

Ever have one of those days? You try to do something simple like save a new task in Outlook, and things go wrong. It could be a corrupt Task folder. Ron Nutter shows you how to fix the problem at the client and on your Exchange server.

I came across this problem recently, and it proved a most challenging one to fix. Have your users ever been unable to create new tasks in Outlook, but they could still edit previous tasks? If so, you may have a problem with Task folder corruption. In this Daily Feature, I’ll show you how to diagnose the problem and explain several options for fixing it.

Diagnosing the problem
After you’ve encountered this problem the first time, you may notice other related problems as well. If you get an error message when saving a task, that’s a definite indication that you’re encountering Task folder corruption. Outlook will report that you can’t save the task, but the task will indeed be saved if you click on the Save Task button.

Solving the problem at the client
The first solution I tried was to create a new Task folder, copy all of the tasks from the old folder to the new, and then delete the old folder. That fixed the problem temporarily, but it reoccurred after a while because the new Task folder became corrupt as well.

Finally, I settled on the final solution, which was to save the task order in Outlook. To do this, switch to the Tasks view and select View | Current View. When the drop-down list appears, make sure that either Simple List or Detailed List is the only view selected. Select Save Task Order from the Actions menu. (If this menu selection is grayed out, you need to go back and double-check the Task view you have selected. Select one of the two proper views and try again.)

Depending on the number of tasks you have in Outlook, it may take several minutes for this process to complete. You should now be able to create and save a task without having to create a new Task folder. Next, you must take a trip to your Exchange server. You will need to perform the following steps during a period when you can take the information store offline for a while.

Finishing up at the servers
Don’t forget to make sure you have a full backup of your Exchange server before going any further. The first process you must initiate at the server involves running the Isinteg command-line utility with the –Fix option. To do so, start a command prompt, type isinteg –fix, and press [Enter]. This command will reindex on the information store.

The Microsoft support engineers I asked about this problem recommend running the Isinteg utility at least two or three times a year. Since there are temporary files created during the repair process, run the Isinteg utility from a drive on your Exchange server where there is plenty of room for temp files to be created.

After bringing the information store back online, if you still experience the problem, your next option is to run the Eseutil command-line utility. Although the technical notes on this utility say that you have to be in the \winnt\system32 folder to run the utility, I have been able to run it from other drives on the Exchange server. Open a command prompt, type eseutil /d /ispriv, and press [Enter]. This command will defragment the information store.

Conclusion
Solving a Task folder corruption problem can be time consuming. There are several things you can do to diagnose and solve this problem. In this Daily Feature, I’ve shown you how to fix corruption in your Task folder. After going through the above steps, I haven’t had a problem with corruption reappearing on my system.
The authors and editors have taken care in preparation of the content contained herein but make no expressed or implied warranty of any kind and assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. No liability is assumed for any damages. Always have a verified backup before making any changes.
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