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other user's mailbox won't open, forms disappeared

mr_malkovich

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2007
Email Account
Exchange Server
#1
Hi all. Using Office 365/2016 on Windows 10. I'm in the early stages of phone support hell with GoDaddy on this issue, and I have a sneaking feeling they're gonna do what they always do when Outlook questions get too complicated: tell me I have to call Microsoft, who in turn tells me I have to call GoDaddy since they're my vendor, et al. In anticipation of that loop-de-loop of suicide, I figured I'd post the query to the one place on Planet Earth that might have a clue.

I have two colleagues with mailboxes on my 365 account. For months their mailboxes have been easily accessible through the left vertical pane on my main Outlook screen. I click on their names and can view and edit their inbox, sent items, you name it. Two days ago one of those mailboxes disappeared from that vertical pane. I noticed that mailbox had also disappeared from Permissions so I reinstated it, set it to Owner, and got the mailbox name back in that pane, but when I access it, I get the attached prompt.

I've also noticed that I can no longer access my Personal Forms screen. For instance, I'm trying to add/remove custom columns on my Contacts views like I always do, but when I choose 'forms' I only get a choice of Enterprise forms, not my personal ones. So something's up.

Anyone got any ideas here?
 

Attachments

Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
#2
The dialog is saying the something is using the ost file - it's not an uncommon error message, especially if you use skype for business (which accesses it for communication history). Skype is 100% of the cause of that message here, but any application that accesses outlook data could trigger it too.

I'm wondering if the profile is corrupt. Do you have a second computer you can create your profile on to test ? If it works, then this profile is the problem. (A second windows account will also work for testing.)
 
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
#3
I noticed that mailbox had also disappeared from Permissions so I reinstated it, set it to Owner, and got the mailbox name back in that pane, but when I access it, I get the attached prompt.
BTW, this has me concerned, especially if you logged in and set the permissions in the admin center. They should never disappear on their own - only the mailbox owner or someone with admin permission can change it.

FWIW, you could probably get a better deal (less money, larger mailbox) and more control over the tenant if you get office 365 directly from microsoft. Migrating isn't difficult, but because the domain is already in office 365, you need to migrate at a slow time as you need to remove the domain from the office 365 account before moving to a tenant direct from microsoft. Some mail could bounce during the short period of time the address is not hosted anywhere.

Godaddy has good 'first year' rates and i thought the support was good when i tested their offering (and compared it to getting it directly from MS), but the mailbox quota was somewhat smaller (my plan had 5 GB, MS gave 50GB) and some things in the admin center were not accessible. (Plus you were limited to one domain.)
 

mr_malkovich

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2007
Email Account
Exchange Server
#4
And heaven knows I'd like to hear the last of GoDaddy's support team sending me back into that GoDaddy/Microsoft support ping-pong. But the mere thought of migrating right now is laboring my breathing. Maybe once my life calms down a bit (hi from India).

Yes, I've had Skype for Business running recently. Skype For Business is supposed to be Outlook365's communicatino tool but it causes this kind of conflict? That's just perfect, really. I changed my settings so that it doesn't open on startup, and restarted the laptop, but the mailbox problem persists (note, only with one mailbox. my other colleague's mailbox is fine). Another program that has recently been attempting to start at startup alongside Skype for Business is OneDrive for Business. I always hit cancel. I have OneDrive running on my computer at all times, but I'm assuming it's not the Business version? Could OneDrive be screwing around with things too?
 
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
#6
You're in India? I would have guessed UK, only because of the middle of my night posts. :)

Onedrive won't be affecting it. Skype for business saves conversations to the mailbox - it need to access the mailbox, which can cause the error. I turned off that feature and don't have a problem. (I also don't use skype for biz a whole lot, so maybe it hasn't helped as much as i thought it did.)

Exit Skype (in Task manager) and restart outlook. Does it work?

So how do I uninstall Skype for Business and OneDrive for Business?
You don't. The best you can do is disable them, but then you can't use them...

The information in that link is somewhat misleading and would only apply if you had separate installs. Skype and OneDrive are included in the office 2016 install (they were not in some office 2013 installs).

How large is the ost? I hate to suggest this is the ost is close to or over about 10 GB or if you have a slow connection, but a new ost could fix the problem. Close Outlook. Go to %localappdata%\microsoft\outlook and rename the ost file. Restart outlook and let it sync.

I have two articles on the the problem - this one suggests exiting skype to test it then checking the exe properties.
How to Prevent Skype (Lync) from Locking Outlook's .OST File

This one blames a sharepoint calendar synced to outlook. The error message isn't quite right though.
"Failed to open message store" Error
 

mr_malkovich

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2007
Email Account
Exchange Server
#7
I'm from LA. But I travel pretty much nonstop....

Quick thought. Could Skype for Business being active on the machine of my colleague with the screwy inbox be an issue?
 

mr_malkovich

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2007
Email Account
Exchange Server
#8
Update! I turned off "save conversations" in Skype for Business (and deleted the Conversation History in Outlook for good measure), restarted comp, and the mailbox is accessible again. Thank you as always.
 
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
#9
It could. I would force skype closed then restart outlook - if the problem goes away, it was skype and I would start with a new ost file and try different settings in skype options.

These are the settings I'm currently using - they seem to help. I'm not sure when conversation history was enabled - probably after an update to see if the problem was fixed - but disabling most of the integration seemed to help.

Like i said, i don't use skype a lot - a few of my clients are heavy users and use it to contact me and i use it for up to 2 or 3 meetings a month with microsoft - and that could be why the error hasn't come back in a while.

skype.png
 

mr_malkovich

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2007
Email Account
Exchange Server
#10
It returned! Everything was great for like three days. And now it's back.
You think I should start a new OST? Do you have a good link for a step-by-step? And isn't that like inviting a million more problems? or no?
 
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
#11
I'm not sure a new ost will help... if you want to try, right click on the account name in the navigation pane, choose open file location. This opens File Explorer with the ost file for that account selected. Close outlook, rename the old ost and restart outlook.
 

mr_malkovich

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2007
Email Account
Exchange Server
#12
I don't see Open File Location when I right-click, but I see Data File Properties, which when chosen prompts 'cannot display folder properties'. Also worth noting: I can't access my Personal Forms when this problem occurs. Something is jamming Exchange up.
 

mr_malkovich

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2007
Email Account
Exchange Server
#13
Other things to note:

On Office365 via browser I realized the mailbox in question - judy@mydomain.com - wasn't in my list of folders like my other colleague's is - christy@mydomain.com. I went through the steps to add it, and it's now sitting nicely in the web version, completely accessible.

Now that I think about it, that's something else to note - christy@mydomain.com has zero problems. It's been hooked up for years. judy, not so much.

Also, I noticed an nst file. Tried deleting it and it just pops back up. I read that it's for Lotus Notes? Outlook Hotmail connector? What is Lotus Notes? I don't use anything like that.

Finally, I'm noticing that whenever I shut down outlook a new inferences.xml file appears in the root Outlook16 folder.
 

mr_malkovich

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2007
Email Account
Exchange Server
#14
Read somewhere to look out for ucmapi.exe in the task manager because apparently that's Skype for Business and lo and behold.. it's running, even after I set SFB to NOT automatically turn on when I log onto Windows. I restarted the computer and SFB STILL opened up. And there seems to be a couple other related programs hanging around. As we speak the problem mailbox is currently accessible from Outlook proper, but who knows how long it will last. How is it remotely acceptable that Office365's flagship messenger conflicts with Outlooks's root file? How can this be? How?

Update: restarted the computer and the mailbox is gone again.
 
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
#15
I don't see Open File Location when I right-click, but I see Data File Properties, which when chosen prompts 'cannot display folder properties'. Also worth noting: I can't access my Personal Forms when this problem occurs. Something is jamming Exchange up.
Right click on the account name - open location is near the top.

open-file-location.png


personal forms is stored in the mailbox, i think (will need to see if they sync to my new computer), so it makes sense they go away when this error comes up.
 

mr_malkovich

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2007
Email Account
Exchange Server
#16
Right click on the account name - open location is near the top.

View attachment 2155

personal forms is stored in the mailbox, i think (will need to see if they sync to my new computer), so it makes sense they go away when this error comes up.
Open File Location is actually greyed out for the problem mailbox!

Now, my OTHER colleague's mailbox - christy@mydomain.com - when I right-click on that one, Open File Location is available, but when I choose it I get the message The Attempted Operation Failed. An Object Could Not Be Found.
 
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
#17
Also, I noticed an nst file. Tried deleting it and it just pops back up. I read that it's for Lotus Notes? Outlook Hotmail connector? What is Lotus Notes? I don't use anything like that.
They used the extension in the past for notes (and Exchange competitor) and for an early version of the Hotmail Connector and decided to reuse it for the new groups feature rather than making a new extension. You should have one for each account (in the file, account settings list) on office 365.
 
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
#18
Open File Location is actually greyed out for the problem mailbox!
its only available for actual accounts in your profile, not shared mailboxes, and only for cached exchange (which is the default), not online exchange. (Also available for IMAP and pop/pst.)
 

mr_malkovich

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2007
Email Account
Exchange Server
#19
its only available for actual accounts in your profile, not shared mailboxes, and only for cached exchange (which is the default), not online exchange. (Also available for IMAP and pop/pst.)
Is it easier if I set these mailboxes as cached exchange? Anything to end this. The judy mailbox was accessible for 9 minutes. It was beautiful. But it's over now.