Corrupted Outlook Personal Folders

July 27, 2005 at 15:59:33
Specs: Win XP Pro SP2, 2GHz 1GB

In Outlook 2003 I have two sets of personal folders.

The first I have named "Jet's PST" and contains all my mail folders etc. This is the PST file I work from, and all my incomming mail goes here.

The second is called "Personal Folders". I don't know how it got there, I don't use it, and I want to get rid of it. But it appears to be corrupted.

If I left-click on this name "Personal Folders" (or left-click on the [+] next to it, to expand it), I get the following error message:

"Microsoft Office Outlook: The set of folders could not be opened."

There is a [Show Help >>] button. If I click this it says:

"This error usually appears if the OST or PST file you are using is:
- Unavailable
- Protected with file permissions
- On a share on a server and the network is down
- Corrupt
To correct this problem, store the OST or PST file on the local computer. You may also want to run the scanost.exe and scanpst.exe tools to verify file integrity. More information about this error message online."

Following the link to online help doesn't help.

If I right-click on the name "Personal Folders" I get a context menu offering the following options:

- Open
- Open in New Window
- Send Link to this Folder
- Advanced Find...
- Rename "Personal Folders"...
- New Folder...
- Outlook Data File...
- Close "Personal Folders"
- Properties for "Personal Folders"

The choices "Properties...", "Rename..." and "Send Link..." are shaded grey and unavailable.

If I click ANY of the available options, I get the same error message as above ("The set of folders could not be opened"). The only exception is when I click "Close Personal Folders..." - that generates the following error message:

"Microsoft Office Outlook: The operation failed. An object could not be found."

The only option then is to click [OK].

So I think the file is corrupted, I just don't know how to get rid of this link to it!

I've tried going into:

C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

... but in there, there is only the one PST file (called "jet.pst" - this is the outlook file I am using).

Does anyone know how to get rid of the link to "Personal Folders" - or how to somehow fix the corruption so I can then delete it?

luckypingudog at

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July 28, 2005 at 06:43:31

Ensure Outlook is not open, right click on the Icon on your desk top and you should see the files that are installed, i.e. Internet, Jet.pst & another marked Personal Folder, highlight then REMOVE and when you launch Outlook it should be gone.

Bob Mitchell.

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July 28, 2005 at 16:03:53

Hi Bob, thanks for your help.

Unfortunately there isn't an Outlook icon on my desktop. I tried right-clicking on the one in my Quick Launch toolbar, and the one in the Start Menu, but these only refer to the shortcuts.

I'm not sure if this is relevant, but I opened Outlook 2003 and went:

File > Data File Management

There is only one file listed there ("Jet's PST").

Can you suggest another thing to try?

luckypingudog at

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July 29, 2005 at 02:15:20

I am not sure about Outlook 2003 but you should be able to go TOOLS-SERVICES & see the display I was referring to. The "Personal Folder" must be in there and you should be able to delete it with no ill effects if your mail is being delivered to your jet.pst.

Bob Mitchell.

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Related Solutions

July 29, 2005 at 16:55:35

The problem is with your outlook profile - not the pst. to fix, close outlook, run regedit and delete the following reg folder, HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-35785*****-**********-**********-****\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging subsystem\Profile.(stars will be numbers - diifferent on each machine)

Restart outlook, enter the new profile name, close outlook, replace the pst, start outlook, problem solved(hopefully!)

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August 1, 2005 at 01:44:10

Solution found! (The Registry solution above works, but with some problems)....
But, after making a backup, you can do this...

1. Make a new Data Folder (Tools>Email Accounts>View or Change...>New Outlook Data Folder)
Name it "New" (For example)

Make it the Default Delivery Location for Email (The dropdown menu on that screen)

2. Delete the Folders (File>Data File Management)

I deleted them all, and I am down to only one "Personal Folders" now! Just one more reason that I'm glad I use Thunderbird. Now to get my customers to switch from Microshaft :)

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August 2, 2005 at 13:11:53

Thank you all for your input.

Bob - unfortunately in Outlook 2003 that option didn't exist.

pauljpjo01 - thank you SO MUCH, your suggestion worked perfectly! The problem is now 100% resolved!

atomix - thanks for your solution also, although since pauljpjo01's suggestion worked I have't needed to try it.

Again, thank you all - this is such a relief!

luckypingudog at

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August 12, 2005 at 13:23:07

I have exactly the same problem and have tried some of the same measures as Jet. I was looking to try the same regedit procedure recommended by pauljpjo01 but My Registry has lots of entries:

S-1-5-21-11235*****-*********-**********-****\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\
Windows Messaging Subsystem\
<15 different numbered entries>

One of which has 6 sub-entries numbered 1..6.

I'm not sure which one to delete or if I should delete all of them.

Note: I'm just recovering from a hard disk crash and I copied my outlook.pst and archive.pst files over from the recovery DVD and re-installing Windows XP and Office 2003.


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August 17, 2005 at 08:37:27


I have tried all of the above, and initially it was the REISTRY fix that fixed the issue. So i created a NEW PST, and then once setup renamed the old one as to overwrite.. all looked good and healthy the first time i opened Outlook..
I had to put in the POP3 settings (for some reason this wasn't stored in the PST, must of been the registry what i deleted).
Anyway, the next time i opened outlook i was back to square 1 !, a duplicate of the personal folders both directed to the same pst.
i cannot remove it, as its the main one, neither find any option..
I must say that this pst came from a 98SE machine, so could be corrupt.. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance

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August 18, 2005 at 17:33:41

I have the same problem as chip, but I actually have 30 subfolders.
As I browse through them to search for the "right" one to delete I found that there are 7 of them which contain the words "Personal Folder"
I could do a registry backup and try to delete them all and see what happens. But I'm scared it might do some harm, and I don't fancy having to deal with any "sub-problems"
Can anyone tell me which folder to delete?

Thanks a lot!

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August 19, 2005 at 03:39:34

Ends up I did exactly what I said I wouldn't...
I deleted every registry folder on that tree that contained the words "Personal Folder" inside of it - 7 in total...
Before I did that I backed up that bit of the registry in case something went terribly wrong.
Well, it actually worked! I went back to outlook and the nagging "Personal Folder" thing wasn't there anymore!
What a relief! :-)


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August 26, 2005 at 18:04:39

The Reg fix did the trick. No errors, no problems. I got into trouble trying a tool called Public SyncTool used to sync to PST files. Like BriefCase but easier or so it appears. I would still like to use it if I figure out how...thanks again.


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August 29, 2005 at 15:39:30

I am having the same problem with the duplicate personel folder. There are 2 personel folders and they have identical information. Tried to delete the reg files with "personel folder". Came back with error so I copied back the back up and I am back to 2 personel folders. Can some one help a novice through this?
Thanks for any help.

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August 30, 2005 at 22:09:11

I had this same problem. I was able to resolve it very simply by going to Control Panel - Mail - Data Files, and Removing the duplicate Personal Folders entry (the one that doesn't say "Mail Delivery Location" in the Comment field)

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