Outlook 2010 message "The file c:\...\outlook.pst is in use and and cannot be accessed. Close any application that is using this file, and then try again. You might need to restart your computer."

When I start Outlook 2010 (64 bit), I receive the error message "The file c:\users\...\appdata\local\microsoft\outlook\outlook.pst is in use and and cannot be accessed. Close any application that is using this file, and then try again. You might need to restart your computer."  I have restarted the computer repeatedly.  I have also tried opening Outlook in safe mode.  None of these has fixed the problem.  The issue seems common, but answers seem few.  One suggestion was to create an entirely new Outlook profile, but the issue is I need to retain the data in the existing .pst folder (I have backups, but I'd like to see if there is a simpler fix before I go about restoring a backed-up file).

For what it's worth, I have not recently added any new software, or made any changes to my Outlook profile.

Any suggestions?  Thanks.

DJ

It sounds like you have another application running in the background which either loads outlook.exe or a part of it to access the data contained in your pst-file or simply relies on Outlook itself. Sync and fax software are the most common applications but also the Office Communicator or Lync software. Depending on how these applications initiate Outlook, you may not be able to start Outlook after these applications were started.

If the pst-file is indeed locked by another application, then you'll be able to copy (do not move!) it to another location when you start Windows in Safe Mode.

If that works, you'll have to find out which application is starting Outlook in the background and therefor creating a lock on the pst-file. For further info and application suggestions also see; http://www.howto-outlook.com/faq/outlookdoesntclose.htm

If you can't copy the pst-file in Windows Safe Mode either, it might indicate a disk issue. To troubleshoot that see;
http://www.howto-outlook.com/faq/crcerror.htm

Robert Sparnaaij [MVP-Outlook]
https://www.howto-outlook.com
https://www.msoutlook.info

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Ready:

Thanks for your response.  I do in fact use a sync program, known as Sync 2, but I have turned it off, and have tried re-starting Outlook with the relevant add-in disabled, and I still get the same error message.  I have previously used that sync software for some time without incident, and had not recently updated it or made other changes to Outlook when the error message cropped up.  in fact, the error appeared after an ordinary computer restart.

Some further issues:

  (1) I tried opening Outlook after starting Windows in Safe Mode, and got a bizarre error message stating:  "Microsoft Outlook cannot verify the license for this application.  A repair attempt failed or was canceled by the user.  The application will now shut down."  The copy of Outlook is genuine and licensed, and I only got this error when starting it after starting the computer in Safe Mode.

  (2) I tried making a copy of the Outlook.pst folder (with Outlook closed) and using File/Info/Account Settings/Change Folder/New Outlook Data File to open the new folder, and received an error message stating:  "Errors have been detected in the file C:\...\Outlook.pst".

  (3)  Outlook *will* open in normal mode, displaying my Inbox, but it also displays the error message listed above, i.e., "the file is in use...", and will not display my calendar, contacts, any new mail, etc.

What steps would you recommend next?

DJ

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Roady:

A bit of a further follow-up.  With the help of one of the MIS people from my office, we were able to solve the above-referenced problem.  We used the Microsoft Outlook Inbox Repair Tool; this tool was able to repair the .pst file, which eliminated the problem.  The less-than-helpful aspect of this otherwise-positive result is that we still down know what caused the problem in the first place.  It was not, apparently, an issue with a second program accessing the .pst file, but rather something inherent in the file itself.  Anyway, I suppose all's well that ends well, but I would like to have known what brought this all on.

Thanks again for your help.

DJ

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I had the same problem and used LockHunter.  It said Sync2 was locking it.  I clicked unlock and it was fixed.

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Last updated August 9, 2019 Views 2,506 Applies to: