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How to fix “Unable to expand folder” error of Offline Storage Table”

Mailbox created with MS Outlook holds emails and attachments in different folders. Moreover, email folders of an Outlook user mailbox are stored in several PST files in the system disk. In an IT company, each employee as outlook user is connected with MS Exchange Server. There can be only one outlook mailbox on single desktop of an Exchange workstation. Outlook users in an Exchange Workstation are connected with internet through Exchange Server. When Exchange Server turns in offline mode, an offline copy for each Outlook mailbox mounted on that server is generated on every client desktop. The offline copy of Outlook mailbox is also known as OST file. It is stored in the same location of PST files.

OST file or Offline storage table is different from PST file as it is visible for limited duration only. It allows the Outlook user to use his/her mailbox in offline mode. All email records of Outlook user mailbox in offline Exchange period are stored in OST file and finally exported to PST files when MS Outlook reconnects with mail server. However, transfer of data from OST to PST is stalled due to certain factors such as Trojans, crash of exchange server, slow internet and bad sectors in hard disk. This situation is also called OST to Exchange Synchronization failure. Corrupt OST file prevents Outlook user from accessing his mailbox on Live Exchange Server. Different error messages are displayed by a corrupt OST file when any one tries to open his/her live mailbox from that file. One common synchronization error of OST file is:

  • Unable to expand the folder. The set of folders could not be opened. Errors could have been detected in the file XXXX.OST. Quit all mail-enabled applications, and then use the Inbox Repair Tool

Microsoft has added scanpst.exe utility in MS Outlook that can scan OST file for synchronization errors. This inbuilt recovery tool is located in the Local MS Office folder of your computer disk. To start repairing corrupt OST or PST file with scanpst.exe, do the following steps:

  • Open Start menu and search or find folder
  • In the search box, type “scanpst.exe” and press “search”
  • Right click on the scanpst.exe application
  • Click on “Browse” to select corrupt OST file from your local drive
  • Click on start to find errors of chosen file
  • Press “Repair” to fix the corruption errors of OST file

However, scanpst.exe fixes only minor corruption errors of OST or PST files. To fix major corruption issues of OST file, one must use scanost.exe which is inbuilt with MS Outlook 2002, 2003 and 2007. Older Outlook versions and MS Outlook 2010 do not include scanost.exe tool.

Therefore, to eliminate major corruption errors of OST file, one must use smart data recovery software. Tool to scan OST is a complete solution to all minor as well as major corruption errors of Exchange OST files. It successfully extracts email folders from a corrupt OST file and exports to new PST file. Moreover, tool to scan OST file allows user to save the recovered emails in other file formats such as .DBX, .MSG and .EML. This software also recovers emails from password protected PST files.

Scan OST email program supports MS Outlook 95, 97, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2013. It also supports Outlook Express 4.0, 5.0, 5.5 and 6.0. This software is also compatible with various versions of MS Windows.

Summary: OST or offline storage table of Exchange mailbox fails to synchronize with Exchange Server due to some factors. You can use scanpst.exe or scanost.exe utility of MS Outlook to fix certain synchronization errors of OST file. In case, both inbuilt tools fail to repair corrupt OST files, you should use third party software to fix the issue. Tool to scan OST file successfully recovers data from a corrupt OST file and sends to new PST file.

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