Dear Microsoft,

I just had a user complain about not being able to delete files in her Inbox in Outlook 2007. When I tested, I got a dialog telling me that the outlook.ost file buried six folders deep somewhere was corrupt, and I should run scanpst.

It didn’t tell me where to find scanpst. When I found it, and tried to navigate to the folder containing the corrupted file, it didn’t exist. So I opened a cmd window and it didn’t show up for the dir command, either. I blindly cd’d to it anyway, and it existed, but the next folder in the path wasn’t there, either.

To make a long story short, the hidden file in the hidden folder in the hidden folder had to be located by searching the drive and then pasting the complete path into scanpst’s open dialog. Then all I had to do was exit every application that so much as mentioned the concept of email (including Google Desktop), and the tool quickly repaired the file.

In Office 2003, this entire process could be accomplished by selecting the “Detect and Repair…” menu option from inside Outlook. Hurray for usability improvements.