A customer suddenly found that her outlook stopped sending and receiving emails.
At first, she thought that she had received a power surge, but after switching everything off, then on, emails were still not working.
I had a look, and noticed that outlook was generating error 0x8004060C
It didn’t take me long to find out that this was due to the outlook database file was “full”.
All emails and attachments in outlook are stored in a big database file called outlook.pst
All outlook PST files cannot be bigger than 2GB, and in this case, it had reached this limit.
Once this happens, outlook starts to behave in all sorts of strange ways.
The solution is reasonably simple, but can take quite some time.
First, make sure outlook has an archive folder/account. If not, create a new archive folder. (file -> data file management -> .pst -> ok -> give it a reasonable name like “archive-2009”)
Note that you can create as many archive folders as you like.
Within the archive folder, I create sub-folders to reflect the main folders that I want to archive (eg inbox and sent items)
Next, I highlight the emails that I want to archive.
If most of the emails are in the inbox, and/or sent items, then sort all emails into date order, and then highlight all emails that are, say, older than 6 months. Use click, then shift-click to quickly highlight large numbers of emails.
Then, drag-drop the highlighted emails into their appropriate folder in the archive. This should remove the emails from the main account.
Once all the inbox and sent items (and anything else) is moved to the archive folder, then you need to compact the main database (it will not compact automatically, so you must do this step before you can send/receive emails again)
file -> data file management -> select the main .pst file (usually outlook.pst) -> settings -> general -> compact now
Compacting can take anywhere between a few minutes and a few hours, so be sure to allow it to complete.
Once this is done, the main database should be much smaller & restarting the PC is a good way to be sure that outlook re-reads the new, compacted database.