OUTLOOK PST FILE NOT RECOVERED


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JohnFleming
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I have a large (12 GB)Outlook PST file, which I back up daily using File and Folder backup.  Trying to recover from an eMail crash, I turned to my daily backups, but cannot recover a file that Outlook will open.

MS Office ScanPST tool returns a mere shadow of the original.

I am using Outlook 2010, Windows 10 Pro 20H2

Can anyone help?

capair45
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JohnFleming - 19 January 2021 2:09 PM
I have a large (12 GB)Outlook PST file, which I back up daily using File and Folder backup.  Trying to recover from an eMail crash, I turned to my daily backups, but cannot recover a file that Outlook will open.

MS Office ScanPST tool returns a mere shadow of the original.

I am using Outlook 2010, Windows 10 Pro 20H2

Can anyone help?

Are you attempting the restore from within Reflect (Restore > File & Folder Restore) or by locating the file with Windows File Explorer (Explore Backup)?  I believe I read somewhere in the forum that files larger than 4GB must be restored from within Reflect.


Windows 10 Home (21H1)  Build 19043.1052
Macrium Reflect 8.0.5994
Windows Defender
Malwarebytes Premium 4.4.2


Edited 19 January 2021 2:24 PM by capair45
jphughan
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capair45 - 19 January 2021 2:21 PM
Are you attempting the restore from within Reflect (Restore > File & Folder Restore) or by locating the file with Windows File Explorer (Explore Backup)?  I believe I read somewhere in the forum that files larger than 4GB must be restored from within Reflect.

This is correct.  Use the actual Restore wizard within Reflect to restore such files.

JohnFleming
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jphughan - 19 January 2021 2:45 PM
capair45 - 19 January 2021 2:21 PM
Are you attempting the restore from within Reflect (Restore > File & Folder Restore) or by locating the file with Windows File Explorer (Explore Backup)?  I believe I read somewhere in the forum that files larger than 4GB must be restored from within Reflect.

This is correct.  Use the actual Restore wizard within Reflect to restore such files.

Capair & JPHughan - thanks, yes I have been trying to restore from within Reflect.
jphughan
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If you're not already, try choosing to restore your PST file to a different location rather than overwriting the existing version of the file.  If it still fails, my next question would be whether that PST file restores successfully from any of your other daily backups.

JohnFleming
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jphughan - 19 January 2021 5:24 PM
If you're not already, try choosing to restore your PST file to a different location rather than overwriting the existing version of the file.  If it still fails, my next question would be whether that PST file restores successfully from any of your other daily backups.

JPHughan - I am not overwriting the old file, already moved it to another location.

I had ten days of daily backups, thus far have tried three or four of the most recent, all unreadable.

Back to my desk tomorrow, but I'll post back if I have any greater success.

Thanks for your support.
jphughan
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Sorry to hear that.  By any chance was Outlook always open when you ran your Reflect backups?  If so, I'm wondering if Outlook had that file locked and the Windows VSS snapshot engine wasn't able to get a snapshot of that file in a consistent state in order to perform the backup.  If so, then the backups would not have captured a usable PST file, even though they would have if Outlook had been closed at the time.  I'd be a bit surprised given that both Outlook and Windows are Microsoft technologies, but I also don't use local PST files for email and haven't even supported anyone who does for quite some time since everyone I work with uses server-side mail storage, so I've never had a reason to encounter this myself.

JohnFleming
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jphughan - 19 January 2021 6:13 PM
Sorry to hear that.  By any chance was Outlook always open when you ran your Reflect backups?  If so, I'm wondering if Outlook had that file locked and the Windows VSS snapshot engine wasn't able to get a snapshot of that file in a consistent state in order to perform the backup.  If so, then the backups would not have captured a usable PST file, even though they would have if Outlook had been closed at the time.  I'd be a bit surprised given that both Outlook and Windows are Microsoft technologies, but I also don't use local PST files for email and haven't even supported anyone who does for quite some time since everyone I work with uses server-side mail storage, so I've never had a reason to encounter this myself.

JPHughan - you're so right, Outlook was running, not doing anything, while my backup task ran at 05:00 each day.

Cautionary tale!
JohnFleming
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JohnFleming - 19 January 2021 6:17 PM
jphughan - 19 January 2021 6:13 PM
Sorry to hear that.  By any chance was Outlook always open when you ran your Reflect backups?  If so, I'm wondering if Outlook had that file locked and the Windows VSS snapshot engine wasn't able to get a snapshot of that file in a consistent state in order to perform the backup.  If so, then the backups would not have captured a usable PST file, even though they would have if Outlook had been closed at the time.  I'd be a bit surprised given that both Outlook and Windows are Microsoft technologies, but I also don't use local PST files for email and haven't even supported anyone who does for quite some time since everyone I work with uses server-side mail storage, so I've never had a reason to encounter this myself.

JPHughan - you're so right, Outlook was running, not doing anything, while my backup task ran at 05:00 each day.

Cautionary tale!

JPHughan - going with your hypothesis, is there any way in which I may unlock my PST files from Outlook to make them readable?
jphughan
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I'll emphasize that my idea was just a hypothesis, as you say.  I don't know for certain that backing up PST files while Outlook is open is an automatic recipe for disaster.  But the "lock" I was referring to pertained to the state of the file when it was backed up.  The idea is that if an application has a file open for write access, then it won't necessarily be in a valid state on disk at every specific moment.  Microsoft's VSS (Volume Snapshot) engine offers a way around this in that it can notify applications that a data snapshot has been requested, e.g. by Macrium Reflect in this case.  Applications that are VSS-aware can then take steps to make sure that the file as it sits on disk is in a valid state for the backup and confirm their readiness for the snapshot to occur.  Then Windows takes the snapshot, and applications can go back to doing their thing while Reflect (in this case) makes a backup working from a snapshot that contains data in a consistent state.  The problem comes into play when applications do NOT support VSS.  In that case, there's the possibility of an application writing data into a file while Reflect is in the middle of backing it up, and that scenario can result in your backed up version of that file being corrupt, since the file state was changed while Reflect was working its way through it.  At that point, recoverability would typically depend on the details of the backup and the types of tools that are available to try to repair the affected file type, and I haven't looked into available tools for repairing PST files -- again, assuming this is in fact what happened in the first place.

GO

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