I use Outlook 2007 pretty rigorously.  I host my own Exchange Server, so that’s my primary mailbox.  I include multiple other mailboxes (such as my wife’s, my kids’, etc.).  Finally, I use IMAP to connect to my company’s Exchange Server so I can use a single interface for accessing all my email.  I’d use an Exchange connection if I could, but the Office team at Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, decided this wasn’t something anyone should do.  Grrr.

Anyway, a week or two ago, I started getting an error message that looked like this every time I clicked on one of my IMAP folders:

Failed to update headers in Outlook 2007

An IMAP command failed.
        Protocol:  IMAP
        Server:     my.server
        Port:         143

I finally got myself unburied enough to investigate and found a very helpful post – a forum actually – that described how to solve this problem.  Microsoft provides the SCANPST tool which will scan and repair your personal store (.pst) and offline store (.ost) files which contain the mail data for your mail accounts and profiles.  Here are the steps to solve this problem:

  1. Close Outlook.
  2. Go to \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\ and run SCANPST.EXE as Administrator.
  3. Browse for your .PST and .OST files.  If you haven’t changed the location, you will find them at
    \Users\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\
    on Windows Vista or
    \Documents and Settings\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\
    on Windows XP.
  4. Scan and repair all errors.  I had to do this 2 or 3 times for each file.  Be default the tool will save a backup file.  The second or third time you run it on a file it will want to overwrite the backup file it wrote the last time you ran it, so either change the name or answer yes to overwrite it.
  5. Restart Outlook.

But wait – this didn’t work for me.  No matter how many times I used SCANPST.EXE, it didn’t solve the problem.  My problem turned out to be caused by a corrupted meeting request in my inbox.  As soon as I deleted the meeting request, the problem went away.  I only found it by connecting to my inbox using Outlook Web AccessW when I discovered I couldn’t view it from there either.  What would have been nice is to have found a tool to scan my Exchange inbox.

Oh well.  At least I solved my problem.  I’d be interested to know if you find other solutions to this problem, particularly one that involves a tool that scans Exchange Server mailboxes.

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