Every time I open Outlook it tells me that it was not closed
properly and the data file is being checked for errors. How do I
correct this issue?
Outlook’s funny that way.
I would run into this issue from time to time when using Outlook
myself. What I found was something that most might find
Exiting Outlook didn’t always exit Outlook.
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Like many programs, I think Outlook tries to optimize for what its
designers consider the most common usage scenarios. In this case, what
that means is that sometimes after exiting Outlook, I would find it was
still running, though not open or on my desktop. I’m not sure if that
was intended to speed it up the next time I opened it (which it did) or
what, but that’s what I saw.
The difference was actually even more obscure:
If I closed Outlook by typing ALT+F4 (the Windows
standard ‘close application’ command), Outlook would disappear from my
screen, but would remain running behind the scenes. Depending on the
version of Outlook the Outlook icon would remain in the notification
If I closed Outlook by clicking on File and then
Exit, Outlook would actually exit completely.
The reason that this might relate to your situation is that when
Outlook remains running, it does not close the PST file. That, in turn,
means that if Outlook is forced to close immediately, say by a system
shutdown, or particularly by turning off the system without
having exited Windows first, the PST will be in that “not closed
close the PST file.”
So, what should you do?
Here’s my suggestion:
Try exiting using File->Exit and see if that makes a
Always make sure that your turn your computer off by clicking the
Start menu, and then Turn of
Computer. (Yes, I know, clicking Start to Stop seems
counter-intuitive, but the fact is turning off your computer is a
process where a number of things need to be “cleaned up” first. Think
of it as Starting that shut down process.)
Many of the PDA/cellphone syncing programs will actually cause
Outlook to continue running, since they use Outlook to access your
contacts and other information for synchronizing to your handheld
device. If you run such software, you might consider turning it off and
seeing if that gets rid of the problem.
If you continue to have this problem, just before you turn off your
computer, run Process Explorer
and see if Outlook is still running. If it is, then that is, at least,
a possible indicator that what I’m describing here might be the
problem. (You can terminate the process, of course, but that will
almost guarantee that you’ll get the “not closed properly” error, since
that will prevent Outlook from closing properly.)
It’s possible that Outlook is having an error on its own shut down
and not reporting it. Check your anti-malware software to see if it’s
trying to interfere with Outlook – things like real time email checking
can sometimes cause these kinds of problems, though typically more
You might consider a re-install of Microsoft Office, and making sure
that Office itself is up-to-date with it’s latest patches.
And finally, for completeness, I also have to encourage you to
double check your anti-virus and anti-spyware software, making sure
that both are up to date and have up to date databases. While it’s
unlikely that malware is the cause, it remains a possibility since
malware does often like to mess with email programs, and Outlook is a
big, popular target.
It all boils down to making sure that Outlook has the opportunity to
completely and correctly shut down prior to turning off your computer.
If that’s interrupted or prevented for some reason then the error
you’re getting will result the next time you start Outlook.
Oh, and of course, making sure that some other program isn’t
stepping on your PST file for some reason. That’s rare, and typically
much more disastrous, but worth a look if the steps above don’t resolve