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Outlook error PST is in use by another application

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Microsoft ended support for Office 2003 on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article was previously published under Q244330
Symptoms
When you start Outlook, you may receive the following error message:
File <drive and path>\xxxx.pst is in use by another application. Close Microsoft Exchange and all other mail-enabled applications and try again.
Cannot open your default e-mail folders. The file <drive and path> outlook.pst is in use and cannot be accessed. Close any application that is using the file, and then try again. You might need to restart your computer.
This problem occurs even if you have full access permissions and there is no password on the Outlook Data (.pst) file. The problem may appear intermittently. This can also affect an Offline Outlook Data (.ost) file.
Cause
This problem can occur if the .pst or .ost file is being accessed by a backup program. Larger .pst or .ost files take longer to back up and are more prone to this issue if the backup is running while someone is trying to access it. 
Resolution
To resolve this problem, stop the backup job, or wait for the backup to finish and then start Outlook. Additionally, you should contact the third-party vendor to confirm that you have the latest updates installed and to report the problem.

Workaround
You can use one of the following workarounds to try to prevent the error.
  • Schedule the backup program to run at a time that you are not using Outlook
  • Exclude the Outlook data file name extensions from the backup: *.ost and *.pst

Properties

Article ID: 244330 - Last Review: 03/12/2013 19:20:00 - Revision: 5.0

Microsoft Outlook 2000 Standard Edition, Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, Microsoft Outlook 2010, Microsoft Outlook 2013

  • kbnofix kbprb KB244330
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