Outlook Duplicate Personal Folders

July 19, 2005 at 13:57:54
Specs: Win XP Pro SP2, 2GHz 1GB
I recently installed Office 2003 Professional on a computer which previously didn't have Office installed.

I then copied my PST file from Outlook 2000 on another computer onto the new computer, pasting this PST file into:

C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook, replacing the PST file that was there already.

Then when I opened Outlook 2003 (on the new computer) for the first time, it said something along the lines of "PST File cannot be found" (I can't remember sorry), and it prompted me to browse to my new PST file (in the above directory), which I did. I selected this new PST file then Outlook 2003 opened and all my emails where there.

The problem is that I have two duplicate "Persoanl Folders" in the "All Mail Folders" list on the left of my screen.

Every time I receive a new email, it appears in the inboxes of both of these duplicate "Personal Folders". Everytime I delete an email from either folder, it is also deleted from the duplicate folder.

My PST file is approximately 1.5GB in size and I have approximately 100 custom sub-folders in each "Personal Folders" list - and each one of these is totally duplicated in each list!

Another seemingly related issue, is that when I click "Send/Receive", Outlook 2003 does two sends and two receives. As if it's doing one for one "Personal Folders" and the other for the suplicate "Personal Folders".

If I right-click on each of the "Personal Folders" and choose "Properties", the properties for each are 100% identical - even when I click "Folder Size". When I click "Advanced" in the properties dialogue box, I get the error message:

"The Operation Failed. An object could not be found."

If I right-click each of the two "Personal Folders" and choose "Open Outlook Data File..." - they BOTH browse to:

C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook and show ONLY "outlook.pst" in that folder.

(I have 'show hidden files and folders' turned ON, so I'm sure there's nothing else there).

If I right-click on the two "Personal Folders" then the "Close Personal Folders" option is disallowed (it's grey and unavailable).

I have tried doing a repair of office 2003 professional, and I've also uninstalled it, reinstalled it, and performed an Office Update - but still the problem persists.

Can anyone help? I've hunted on the net and it seems a few people have this issue, but I've tried following suggestions and so far none apply and/or work.

luckypingudog at hotmail.com

See More: Outlook Duplicate Personal Folders

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July 19, 2005 at 15:06:17
This is a super-simple fix. Right-click on the bottom Personal Folder and select "Close." You'll then see only one pst file.

Soylent Green is PEOPLE!

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July 19, 2005 at 15:25:03
Thanks for your suggestion Jennifer - I have tried this but as mentioned above that option is unavailable.

Strange eh?

luckypingudog at hotmail.com

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July 19, 2005 at 16:45:28
Oops. Sorry.. I see that now. First thing I'd do is move the pst file to another folder; preferably on another partition. The reason for this is that if something happens and your profile gets corrupt, you could lose all the data stored within the profile.

Then, right-click on your Outlook icon and go to Properties. See what Data files are listed. Make sure there is only one in the list, and that's it's not listed twice.

If there is more than one, then delete the one that is not indicative of mail delivery. Then, open Outlook. It should generate an error that it can't find the pst file. That's okay. Just browse to the new location when it tells you it can't find the pst file.

Then, close Outlook. Check the Data Files in Properties again and make sure there is only one pst file listed.

Then, try and open Outlook and lemme know what happens...

Soylent Green is PEOPLE!

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Related Solutions

July 19, 2005 at 19:31:11
Thanks Jennifer for your help.

Unfortunately I don't have an Outlook icon on my desktop. I hunted around though, and found:

File > Date File Management...

Clicking this brings up a window called "Outlook Data Files", with buttons including "Tell me more...", "Settings...", and "Open Folder..." on the right-hand side.

- hopefully this is what you were referring to?

There is only one folder in the list. It's called "Personal Folders", with the filepath and filename matching the one listed in my first post above:

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

In the "Comment" field it says "Mail Delivery Location".

If I click the "Settings..." button, it brings up a window called "Personal Folders", with the following attributes listed:

Name: Personal Folders
Filename: C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\outlook.pst
Encryption: Possible Encryption
Format: Personal Folders File (97-2000)

Does any of this provide any clues?

luckypingudog at hotmail.com

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July 20, 2005 at 08:45:05
Did you try moving the pst file and then reassociating it with Outlook?

Soylent Green is PEOPLE!!!

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July 20, 2005 at 14:35:39
Thanks again for your help.

I tried moving the PST file and reopening Outlook - but when I tried to reopen outlook I got the following error message:

Microsoft Office Outlook: Unable to open your default e-mail folders/ The file C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\outlook.pst could not be found.

The only option is to click OK, but when I do that Outlook shuts down.

So without having the PST file there, it seems to be impossible to even open Outlook.

Do you have another idea? Sorry this is such a taxing problem!

luckypingudog at hotmail.com

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July 20, 2005 at 14:44:21

I tried simply renaming, rather than moving the outlook.pst file.

Then when I opened Outlook, after the above message it gave me the option to browse to the new PST file. I selected the renamed file (I called it outlookpst.pst), still in the same folder.

Then Outlook closed itself, but when I reopened it this time I got no error messages and once again could see the two "Personal Folders" in the "All Mail Folders" on the left-hand side.

What's interesting is now the first of these "Personal Folders" appears to have the same characterists as before (can't click "close personal folders", and advanced properties are the same as before).

However the second "Personal Folders" DOES have the "Close Personal Folders" option (whereas the "properties" option is unavailable).

But when I click this "Close Personal Folders" I get the error message "Microsoft Office Outlook: The Operation Failed. An object could not be found".

Hopefully this info is helpful!

luckypingudog at hotmail.com

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July 24, 2005 at 21:51:04
Create a new profile. Then copy the saved PST over the newly created one.

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July 27, 2005 at 15:44:33
Thank you Alex and Jennifer. Alex - I've tried your suggestion and may be some way towards solving the problem.

Will post my latest drama in another message - I'll link the URL from here once ready.

Thanks again for your help,

luckypingudog at hotmail.com

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July 27, 2005 at 16:03:37
Here's the link to the latest situation:



luckypingudog at hotmail.com

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January 1, 2006 at 20:14:43
did you ever get this resolved? i currently have the same problem.

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January 4, 2006 at 17:40:25
i get this all the time (don't know what causes it - but - it's easy to fix (temporarily - for a week or so)

-close outlook
-go to control panel
-go to mail
-select 'data files'
you'll see two listed - although only one has a full path

-highlight the one that doesn't have a path

- select 'Remove'

- reopen outlook and all is peachy -

... now if i could just figure out why it happens randomly every couple weeks!


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