How to rebuild your identity database in Entourage 2008 for Mac and Entourage for Mac 2004 to resolve most problems

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Article ID: 268322 - View products that this article applies to.
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Summary

This article describes how to rebuild and repair your Entourage database.

IMPORTANT You must determine whether the hard disk on your Apple Macintosh computer contains sufficient free space to allow for the procedure in this article because database maintenance replicates the existing information store. Rebuilding the Entourage database should not be considered as a substitute for a sufficient backup. You are encouraged to back up critical data regularly. For more information about data file locations in Entourage, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
268323 Storage locations for Entourage user data

More information

When you create an Entourage information store, hard disk space is allocated for the data that the information store receives as you work. When you add and delete messages, appointments, tasks, and notes, the database can develop wasted space. Over time, inconsistencies may result from this condition.

Symptomatically, a database that needs rebuilding may not respond when you try to move or delete items from any of the specialized folders. You may also experience issues when you start Entourage.

To start the Database Utility in all versions of Entourage, hold down the OPTION key on the keyboard, and then start Entourage. The Database Utility window opens. In the Database Utility window, you have the option to select the database that you want to maintain.

Entourage 2008 includes the following four maintenance activity options:
  • Verify database integrity: Use this option to check database corruption. If problems are found, you can choose to rebuild the database. If the database is working correctly, no changes will be made.
  • Compact database: Use this option to compact and to back up the current database files. You can use this option to help recover some space from the database.
  • Rebuild database: Use this option to perform repairs, to compact database files, and to back up the current database. If you have Outlook.com, MSN, IMAP, or Exchange accounts, you must download the folder list and the messages from the server again.
  • Set database preferences
In addition to these options, you can choose to first select the identity on which you want to run the maintenance wizard. For example, if you have multiple identities for the same user, you have to select the identity.

How to determine when to use the Rebuild feature

The identity contains a set of email messages, contacts, tasks, calendars, accounts settings, and more. Your identity is located in the Microsoft User Folder data. 

If you have any of the following problems, the database might be damaged, and you might have to rebuild your identity database by using the Microsoft Database Utility: 
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Entourage doesn't open, stops responding, or quits unexpectedly. 
Entourage items don't open, or the item that opens is not the item that you selected. 
Blank lines appear in the Entourage  message list or in Entourage  contacts. 
Entourage contact entries are not displayed correctly. 
You can't find information that you added to Entourage , such as a calendar event or a contact. 
When you perform a search in Entourage , the search results don't match the criteria that you set. 
A blank Office Reminders window appears. 
The clippings in the Scrapbook disappear. 

Note When you perform an advanced rebuild of the database, Entourage removes all your Internet Mail Access Protocol (IMAP), Outlook.com, and News messages from the local cache. Download these messages again from the server, and then reset your folder column preferences for these message folders. Re-enter your settings for your news and mail schedules, and then update any rules that copy or move messages into IMAP or Outlook.com folders.

Note Pictures that were attached to contacts in your Address Book are lost.

Both the typical and advanced rebuild processes copy the existing database and other elements of the information store and use the new copy for the rebuild process. The original copy is retained and renamed "Old Database" and "Old Messages." Additionally, a copy of the Database Cache is made with the word "Old" added, and the Database (Rebuild) Cache is retained.

How to rebuild

Step 1: Quit all applications

You must quit all applications before you continue with the following steps. To quit an application, click the  <application name> menu on the toolbar (top), and then select Quit . If you cannot quit an application or do not know how, hold down the Command and Option keys, and then press Esc on your keyboard. Select the application in the Force Quit Application window, and then select Force Quit . Click Force Quit  to quit the application.

Note You cannot quit Finder.

When you are finished, click the red close button in the upper-left corner to close the window.

Step 2: Determine the amount of space available on the hard disk

Before you perform any database maintenance, make sure that you have at least three times as much hard disk space available as the current size of your Outlook identity. For example, if the identity is 1 gigabyte (GB), there should be at least 3 GB of free space available on the hard disk (not including the space that is needed for virtual memory).

To determine the size of your identity, follow these steps:

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1. In the  Finder , click Go , and then click Home . Open the Documents folder.
2. Open the Microsoft User Data folder.
3. Open the Office 2011 Identities folder.
4. Click the Identity folder.
5. On the File menu, click Get Info , and then click Get Information . Note the size of the database.
When you create an Entourage identity, hard disk space is allocated for the data that the identity receives as you work. When you add and delete messages, appointments, tasks, and notes, the database can develop wasted space. 

Step 3: Discover and back up the current identity

To back up your identity, follow these steps:

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1. In the  Finder , click  Go , and then click Home. Open the Documents folder.
2. Open the Microsoft User Data folder. 
3. Open Office 2008 Identifies or Office 2004 Identities folder.
4.Control-click or right-click the "Main Identity" (or your identity name)  folder, and then select  Duplicate. A copy of the folder is created. If you cannot locate control-click, click File and click Duplicate.
4. Close all the windows.
You have created a backup of your identity (or identities) and are ready to continue.

Note This backup can be used by third-party database recovery software, which generally work better on non-rebuilt identities.

Step 4: Rebuild the database 


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1. Quit all applications. 
2. Hold down the Options (alt) key on the keyboard, and then start Entourage 2008/2004. Do not let go of the Option (alt) key until you see the Database Utility window.
Note  You can also browse to the Database Utility by opening the Application folder and then opening the Microsoft Office 2008/2004 folder. Open the Office folder, and then double-click Microsoft Database Utility.app. 
3. In the Database Utility window, select the database (Ensure it is the Main Identity selected), click Rebuild database then click Continue.
4. The Rebuilding Main Identify window will open and show the progress. When the operation is completed, you will receive the message "Your database was successfully rebuilt."
5. Click Done . Click Quit then start Entourage and see whether the problem is resolved. If the problem is not resolved, proceed to the next step. 

Step 5: Create a new identity

If you are using Entourage  in more than one capacity, such as at home and at work, Entourage may be configured to have multiple identities. Each identity stores separate sets of e-mail, address books, tasks, calendars, account settings, and more.

If Entourage  has multiple identities, one of the identities might be damaged. Try to use a different identity to determine whether this is the problem. If an identity is damaged, you must create a new identity to resolve this problem.
  1. Exit all Office applications. This includes Entourage and Office Reminders. This is an important step. If you dont quit all applications, you will receive an error message "To switch identities, quit Microsoft Messenger and all Microsoft Office programs and then restart Microsoft Entourage."
  2. Locate the following folder, and then copy this folder to your desktop, to an external hard disk, or to a network location:  HD/Users/USER_NAME/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2008 Identities/IDENTITY_NAME
  3. Start Entourage. If you use multiple identities, click Switch Identity on the Entourage menu.

    Note If you receive a confirmation message, click Switch.
  4. To create a new identity, click New, and then type a name for the new identity in the Identity name box.
  5. Exit Entourage.
  6. Locate the following folder, and then rename the database file to a new name:  HD/Users/USER_NAME/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2008 Identities/NEW_IDENTITY_NAME
  7. Copy the database file from the IDENTITY_NAME folder that you copied in step 2 to the NEW_IDENTITY_NAME folder that you created in step 4.
Start Entourage and see whether the problem is resolved. If the previous steps did not resolve the issue, the Entourage  database most likely is damaged beyond repair. If there are no viable backups available and there are no other sources of the data (such as another computer or a handheld device), you will have to start from scratch because the data is not recoverable. To start from scratch, you have to drag the Office 2008/2004 Identity folder (only if there are no other identities) to the Trash, and then restart Entourage.  

Properties

Article ID: 268322 - Last Review: September 12, 2013 - Revision: 14.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Entourage 2008 for Mac
  • Microsoft Entourage 2004 for Mac
Keywords: 
dftsdahomeportal kbinfo KB268322

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