chuckomoss
Contributor
Contributor

Outlook.pst file sharing error when located on Host OS

Greetings,

I have a MACbook Pro 2.2GHZ with 4.mg of RAM. My host OS is MAC OS X 10.5.2. I am running VMware Fusion 1.1.2, I have installed the recent VMWare Tools for the 1.1.2 upgrade. On the guest OS, I am running Windows Vista Ultimate and the Office 2007 suites of applications. I have the 1 TB Time Capsule that serves as my wireless router and the regular backup using Time Machine, which all of the above has been generally successful.

I am not a developer and I apologize in advance if I have missed a post somewhere explaining this. I am totally dependent on Outlook and Franklin Covey Plan Plus (time management system using outlook tasks) after reading a few post yesterday I changed the location of my Outlook.pst files from the default location in Vista/Outlook in the Guest OS to a shared folder on the MAC Host to have Time Machine backup my Outlook.pst file nightly and so I could have access to it as an individual file in the backup. Outlook was working fine until this morning when I restarted after the computer was off all night and I received the following errors in Outlook:

When trying to send an email message:

"The operation failed because of registry or implementation problem. Restart Outlook and try again. If the problem persists reinstall"

When trying to save a draft email:

"The item cannot be save to this folder. The folder was deleted or moved, or you do not have permission. The file
.host\shared folders\[my path to path to my shared folder on the MAC]\Outlook.pst cannot be accessed because another workstation has modified it. Close and then restart all mail enabled applications. You might need to restart your computer.
"

When I received this the first time I went to Time Machine preferences and turned Time Machine backup off. I went to the file sharing preferences on the host MAC for the shared folder where I located the Outlook.pst file and enabled file sharing (I had no idea if this would work). After restarting the Guest OS, Outlook worked fine for about 15 minutes (send & receive e-mails) and then I received the same messages above that I think have to do with Time Machine trying to backup my 1.25GB Outlook.pst file.

Any ideas on what I can try to enable locating my Outlook.pst in the host shared folder so it can have nightly backups by time machine with out having file sharing issues?

Thanks in advance!

0 Kudos
13 Replies
admin
Immortal
Immortal

Hi chuckomoss,

Sorry for the delay in answering. Your report is nice and detailed, but the problem you describe is not something I've personally tried so I was thinking someone with more direct experience might be able to respond first. It sounds like you have two challenges - get Outlook to happily keep data somewhere on the OS X filesystem, and then back it up with Time Machine. You're punting on the Time Machine part until you get Outlook to work, which is the sensible thing to do. Is this right?

I went to the file sharing preferences on the host MAC for the shared folder where I located the Outlook.pst file and enabled file sharing (I had no idea if this would work). After restarting the Guest OS, Outlook worked fine for about 15 minutes (send & receive e-mails) and then I received the same messages above that I think have to do with Time Machine trying to backup my 1.25GB Outlook.pst file.

When you turned on OS X's file sharing, did you also move the Outlook.pst file from
.host\Shared Folder\path-to-shared-folder\Outlook.pst to the network share? VMware Shared Folders take a different path from the host's normal network sharing methods, so just enabling OS X file sharing won't do anything. I would expect using an OS X network share to work better - there are some known issues with VMware shared folders in general that we're working on but aren't solved yet.

0 Kudos
hkhwong
Contributor
Contributor

Outlook does not support accessing pst files on network drives.

Personal folder files are unsupported over a LAN or over a WAN link

If you want backups, my suggestion would be to perhaps copy the file over on a regular basis to the shared folder for Time Machine to pick it up.

0 Kudos
IMware
Contributor
Contributor

Even with Outlook .ost file (offline folder file), I still see this problem periodically. The outlook ost file is stored inside the VM by default. This is a big problem for outlook users, since one has to download all the emails every time, if one has to revert to a previous snapshot.

0 Kudos
hkhwong
Contributor
Contributor

You're putting the .ost file in a Shared Folder?

In terms of downloading e-mails again after reverting -- well, it is what it is. You're going back in time, right? If someone is reverting to previous snapshots all the time, it makes me wonder what they're doing....

0 Kudos
IMware
Contributor
Contributor

That's a good question. I'm running Mac OS X 10.5.4. My VMWare fusion is 1.1.2, which I had to revert back from VMWare fusion 2.0 beta because of Office 2007 file saving issues in shared folder.

As to reverting to previous snapshots, it's the price to pay for experimenting with VMWare. So it could be that I'm still using a mixed version, even though I think I've followed the procedures listed in this forum completely to revert back to 1.1.2.

I had a huge problem with VMWare image getting corrupted, if I quit outlook from the VM, and immediately suspending the VM. The image is guaranteed to be corrupted. After redowloading GB's of email each time I revert, I decided to put the ost into the shared folder. It's great, I can revert as many times as I want.

I do still see an issue with Outlook Connector not able to download hotmail messages when the ost is in the shared folder. . It may still be, but I don't want to take too much risk without any antivirus software.

0 Kudos
hkhwong
Contributor
Contributor

This is my 2 cents -- if pst files aren't supported over network shares (which shared folders seems to emulate), I would imagine that .ost files are definitely not supported either. .ost files are caches, so you're kind of screwing around with out Outlook is managing databases. There's nothing I think the VMware Fusion team can do about this -- you're trying to do something that Microsoft wouldn't event support in a non-virtual environment.

0 Kudos
IMware
Contributor
Contributor

Not really, this is from the link you provided:

"Recommendations

Microsoft recommends the following solutions, instead of .pst files over a LAN or WAN.

Exchange Server with .ost File

When you are working over a WAN or LAN, it is better to use the offline folder files (.ost files) to allow the remote client to work without being connected to the server. .ost files support local replication, which means that all folders and their data can be replicated to the .ost, not just e-mail messages, as is the case when you use remote mail. The use of .ost files is therefore more efficient and more useful. .ost files also do not have a dependency on the availability of the Exchange Server computer (except to synchronize new data from the server to the client and vice versa), because the information is cached in the local .ost file. This improves performance because the information being viewed is stored on the local drive while the master copy of the data remains on the server, where it can be accessed and backed up. .ost files also provide data redundancy, which ensures greater integrity and recoverability of the data."

So they do recommend using ost, instead of pst files over a LAN or WAN.

Also, having the mail folder on a network driver is actually quite a common practice.

0 Kudos
hkhwong
Contributor
Contributor

I think you're inferring something that's not there. Yes, they suggest using .ost files, but they're not suggesting that you put .ost files on a network drive.

0 Kudos
IMware
Contributor
Contributor

point taken, your link did contain a line about .ost on a networkshare being unsupported scenario, though it still works, but with a performance penalty (sounds familiar to VM users).

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/ork2003/HA011402691033.aspx is also quite explicit about this.

I'll trust my VM again when I don't have to revert for a few more months.

0 Kudos
IMware
Contributor
Contributor

Ok, so here is the end of the story. Using the .ost on the shared folder file again caused a crash of the VM and the Mac OS X. Surprisingly, the benefit is that the VM image isn't corrupted this time. In any event, that's the end of the trials for me. Your 2 cents is worth a lot with a living proof :). Now it's 2 hours before all the emails are sync'ed again. I'm switching to Entourage, unfortunately, a very different beast, in the mean time.

The problem I was trying to get around is the complete loss of data since the last snapshot when the VM crashes. I suppose Parallels' support for multiple snapshots would be a good feature to add soon.

There are a number of known issues that I've experienced that would cause the VM image to become corrupted:

1) Connecting or disconnecting an external monitor while in Unity mode. The screen is all jumbled, and a hard reset of the host OS is required. The VM image is corrupted as a result. End result: I almost never use Unity mode anymore.

2) Putting the VM into suspension while having many (Microsoft) applications running appears to correlate with the increased likelihood of a VM image corruption. End result: I quit alll my major applications before suspending my VM.

3) Running a VM for Windows XP, while trying to start Windows Vista from a VM image stored on a Little Disk. Not sure whether it was a contention for memory, or something else that happened after reverting back to 1.1.2, the Windows XP image is corrupted after the Vista image failed to start.

0 Kudos
hkhwong
Contributor
Contributor

Yikes. I don't think a VM should crash or get corrupted in those situations. I tend not to suspend my VMs that much because I never trust WinXP to be that reliable anyway, so I've been lucky. I've always shut them down completely at the end of the day. Save's me most of the time.

0 Kudos
admin
Immortal
Immortal

2) Putting the VM into suspension while having many (Microsoft) applications running appears to correlate with the increased likelihood of a VM image corruption. End result: I quit alll my major applications before suspending my VM.

I agree, this shouldn't corrupt the virtual machine. In Fusion's preferences, what is the optimization preference set to: Mac OS application performance or virtual disk performance?

0 Kudos
IMware
Contributor
Contributor

I set it to "Optimize for Virtual Machine Disk Performance". I must say 99% of the time I don't have any problems with the VM image being corrupted, since I suspend the machine many times a day when I close the laptop lid.

The most bizzare one is when I just quit Microsoft Outlook, and Outlook, as usual, is tidying up things in the background, even though it appears to have ended, then I pressed command-Q by accident, and caused VMF to start going into suspension. The image is not rebootable any more.

I don't know how reproducible this is since there may be other factors, e.g., how many processes are running on the Mac, and whether the Antivirus software is active or not. It may also be complicated by the fact that my VMF at the time may not be a clean revert, and Mac OS X wasn't in a clean environment to host the guest OS.

It's certainly safer to shut down the virtual machine each time. Maybe that's what I'll end up doing if this type of corruption occurs again, but just not convenient for a laptop...

0 Kudos