All posts tagged outlook

Fixed Problem – Mozilla Thunderbird with Lightning

If like us, you try to keep the majority of the software you use open source, then Mozilla Thunderbird (with the Lightning add-on) might just be the perfect solution to your PIM (personal information manager) needs.

We use Thunderbird exclusively within our organisation for email, and with the Lightning add-on, for task and calendar management.

Recently, we have come across an issue with Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) whereby the New Event and New Task buttons were greyed out or disabled – making adding calendar entries impossible.

This was fixed by uninstalling the add-on, closing Thunderbird and running the following command in a terminal session:

sudo apt-get install libstdc++5

Reinstalling the add-on after libstdc++5 was installed fixed the issue – the calendar portion worked as it should. It appears that this prerequisite was not installed on the machine we were using.

In any case, Mozilla Thunderbird and Lightning represent (in our opinion!) the killer email and calenar application for Ubuntu.

You can download Thunderbird here, and Lightning here.

Thanks to this blog for the pointer!

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DamianFixed Problem – Mozilla Thunderbird with Lightning

Repairing a corrupt PST personal folders file

I wrote previously about corrupt PST files. The first you may know about it may be an error message like this:

Unable to expand the folder. The set of folders could not be opened. Errors could have been detected in the file drive:Documents and SettingsuserLocal SettingsApplication DataMicrosoftOutlookOutlook.pst. Quit all mail-enabled applications, and then use the Inbox Repair Tool.

Thankfully, Microsoft provide a PST repair tool for just this occurance:

  • On the Start menu, click Run.
  • In the Open box, type:
  • C:Program FilesCommon FilesSystemMapiLocaleIDscanpst.exe

Where LocaleID is the locale identifier (LCID) for your installation of Microsoft Office. For example, the LCID for English (United States) is 1033. For a list of LCIDs, see Microsoft Office Help.

  • Click OK.
  • In the Enter the name of the file you want to scan box, type the path and file name given in the error message above.
  • Note that you may not be able to use the Browse button to locate this file because it is located in a hidden folder.
  • To change the options for logging errors during the scan, click Options. If you choose Replace log or Append to log, the log file is saved to the same directory as the .pst file.
  • Click Start
  • When the file scan is completed, select the Make a backup of scanned file before repairing check box.
  • Click Repair

If the file is successfully repaired, you will see a Repair complete message. If the Inbox Repair Tool was unable to repair the file, you will need to use a backup of your file.

There are third party programs available which could also help:

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DamianRepairing a corrupt PST personal folders file

Backing up Microsoft Outlook PST files

Sometimes, you may find that you wish to move or backup the PST archive files you have created in Microsoft Outlook. In this walkthrough, we show you how to find these files so they may be copied, moved or backed up.

In this walkthrough, I’ve used Outlook 2003, however the process is similar for all versions of Outlook.

  • Open Microsoft Outlook
  • Right-Click on your ‘Personal Folders’ file (note, this may be called Archive or similar) and select Properties


  • Click the ‘Advanced’ button
  • The red highlighted area in the below image shows where the file is located on your computer.


Note this location down.

  • Close Microsoft Outlook.
  • Open Windows Explorer or ‘My Computer’ and browse to the location of the file that we noted above.
  • You should see a window similar to the below image:


  • Copy the ‘PST’ files (such as outlook.pst in the above image) to your preferred location. This may take some time if the file(s) are large.
  • Repeat the above for any additional PST files.

If you no longer wish to use the PST file in Outlook, right click the folder (in the Outlook folder list) and select ‘close’

WARNING! There are a couple of points to note. Firstly, that PST files are susceptable to corruption. In our experience, the larger the PST file, the more likely the corruption. It’s important therefore to make regular backups.

Secondly, PST files have size limits:

Outlook 97 to Outlook 2003
Starting with Microsoft Outlook 97 the Personal Storage file is encoded in a format with a maximum file size of 2 GB. If the file exceeds this size it will become corrupted. This format is supported by Microsoft Outlook 97, Outlook 98, Outlook 2000, Outlook 2002, and Outlook 2003.

Outlook 2003 onward
From Outlook 2003 onward, the Personal Storage file is encoded in a new format. It allows a user-definable maximum file size up to 33TB that exceeds the previous limit of 2GB. This format is supported by Microsoft Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007. A file that is created in the personal folders format in Outlook 2003 or Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 is not compatible with earlier versions of Microsoft Outlook and cannot be opened by using those older versions.

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DamianBacking up Microsoft Outlook PST files

Fixing a broken mdadm array – failed drive

Sometimes, even with the best intentions things can go wrong with a RAID array. A drive may fail, or the array may become ‘dirty’ for any number of reasons.

Here, we will go through some simple steps to repair a damaged array.

In our example case, a drive has failed. By running the following command in a terminal, we can get a status update on our array:

sudo mdadm --detail /dev/md0 # Displays detail about /dev/md0

The output:


You can see the state is listed as “clean, degraded” this means a drive is missing from the array. Also note that device 1 has been “removed”.

Before we do anything, we need to unmount our array (in this case, /dev/md0)

sudo umount /dev/md0 # Unmounts /dev/md0

If you recieve a ‘device is busy’ warning, you can find out what process is using the array with the following command:

fuser -m /dev/md0 # Shows what process number is using /dev/md0
/dev/sdc1: 538
ps auxw|grep 538
# Shows what process number 538 refers to
damian 538 0.4 2.7 219212 56792 ? SLl Feb11 11:25 rhythmbox

So in this case, it is rhythmbox that is using the drive. Close this, and umount again. If it is Samba, then issue the following command then umount:

sudo /etc/init.d/samba stop # Stops the Samba process

Failed Drive has been re-added

In this instance, we can try to re-add the lost device. In this case I believe that restarting your computer is a good first step. On reboot, open a terminal and run su to become root. Then run the following commands:

sudo mdadm --detail /dev/md0   # Just to check nothing has changed
sudo mdadm --add /dev/md0 /dev/sdc1  # To re-add the faulty (now working) HDD

You should recieve mdadm: re-added /dev/sdc1. If so, run the following:

sudo mdadm --detail /dev/md0   # To ensure the drive has readded successfully

The output should look like this:


Notice “clean, degraded, recovering” this is a good sign – as is “spare rebuilding” these messages mean that the array is rebuilding successfully (so far).

To monitor further – run the following command:

sudo watch cat /proc/mdstat

This command will display the status of mdadm, and refresh every 2 seconds. When you are done watching, you can press CTRL+C to escape back to the command line, or you can simply close the terminal window

The eventual result of another sudo mdadm --detail /dev/md0 should show the array as “clean”

MDADM can be tricky – Jaytag can help. Give us a call on 0845 310 2750 about software and hardware RAID arrays, and we can give advice about choosing the right option for you.

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DamianFixing a broken mdadm array – failed drive