Tuesday, March 3, 2009
nless there's something terribly wrong, I use one of several computers everyday. They are an indispensable part of my. Like most days, I started Monday by checking my email. Lots of incoming emails. As I ran down the list in my inbox, the screen was showing cryptic code and I knew something wasn't right. That something was the size of my PST file. I use Outlook 2000 and it doesn't like PST files bigger than 2GB, but it will create one--one that it can no longer read! That's called bad programming design. Stupid really. I'm imagining a last cigarette, a firing squad and a stone wall caked with dried blood, but I guess those days are gone.
The program crashed. When I tried to restart it I received an error message: Quit the program and run the Inbox Repair Tool. It doesn't tell you what this repair tool is or where to find. More bad programming.
Fortunately I've paddled up this creek before and knew about SCANPST.EXE. I ran it. It seemed to want to work, but then crapped out. Onto a portage for another creek, moving deeper in this forest, the canopy blocks out the sun. I hear the crack of lightening.
The next body of water is murky and idle. It's called PST2GB.EXE. It takes your PST file, hacks it up and reduces so it will work with OUTLOOK. The process takes an hour or more. I'm paddling and paddling. I can't see across the water to the other side. A fog has rolled in. I'm startled by a splash of water, jerk around to look and catch a glimpse a of crocodile's tail as it submerges. The waves it creates bounce off the side of my canoe. The snaps for my lifejacket shatter, it hangs loose. I fiddle with it and in the process lose a paddle overboard.
I tell myself to not look. Just keep paddling and as I reach the shore I run for land, leaving the canoe and paddle behind, Don't look back, but I must. I started OUTLOOK with my truncated PST file. What emails did I lose?
In front of me wasn't anything I recognized as my email and contact data. There were numerous "Lost and Found" folders. I have to rearrange all the folders and in the process I realize I have lost the most recent emails. It could have been worse. I had an image of the croc snapping his mouth shut on my leg, pain shouting through my entire body, panic paralysing me as my life was about to end.
But I was on land again. The rain had stopped, the dark clouds behind me. When as I walked toward what looked like a beautiful woman in a clearing, I tripped and fell forward. When I looked back there was nothing but air. Dumbfounded, I rose to my feet, see the girl wave and trip over air. God damn it! What the? There was a folder called "Recovered Folder 8082". It was my Inbox and no matter what I tried, the program wanted to use RF 8082. I couldn't delete it. I couldn't rename it. You want to explain that one to me?
I searched web sites for suggestions, tried them and I was still tripping over something invisible. I resigned to live with it when I moved on to the next phase. Lose some weight.
I used the archive feature, something I've done before, to take emails from my PST file and put them in a separate PST file. It worked, the emails were gone, stored in their own den, but damn is it slow. It seems to be the type of thing you'd do overnight. It's a lot like trying to burn off excess fat. SLOW GOING.
But here's the thing. I removed about 1GB of data from the PST file, I know this because of the size of the new PST files with the archived emails, but my main PST file was still 2GB! Why didn't it get smaller? It should have.
Since I knew the PST file is nothing more than a giant database file, I knew there must be a compact and repair tool. Yes, I'll run SCANPST.EXE. It worked but it didn't reduced the size of the file. Damn.
All right. Maybe there's a compact tool built into the program. Where's the compact tool? I searched the program menus. Nothing. Searched again. I guess putting it under TOOLS is too obvious. Damn. Then I found it. An advanced feature of the properties feature for a folder.
I backed up my PST file, spat on my palms, twirled my chair six times and clicked on COMPACT. Then. I. Waited. And waited. The pretty girl in the meadow had turned and walked away. I yelled out for her to stop, but nothing came out of my mouth. It was as if I were in the vacuum of space. STOP! She kept walking and as she did, she descended down the hill, only her shoulder and head visible.
After I don't know how long and without fanfare, the compacting process was done. I checked the size of my PST file. 358MB. What a relief, I could pig out again. Where's those rippled chips? I yelled out, this time I heard it. This time, she heard it, turned her head to look at me and started running toward me.
I clicked on RECEIVE. Keep running. Run faster. To my surprise, the new emails went right in the Inbox folder and not the lame "Recovered Folder 8082" subfolder of "Lost and Found" folder. Could it be I found bliss?
I looked up and saw the pretty girl running. She was near the edge of the meadow where it meets the forest. I got up and ran, sprinted really, and as she stepped into the forest she vanished.
I had realized I had archived emails based on their date. Reasonable, but a better solution is to create PST files of archived emails based on topic, sender etc. There's something else to add to my TO DO list.
Posted 2009/03/03 at 21h08ET in Computers.