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since June 19, 2001


Tips that may help you with personal-computer problems

The information offered here is not by a professional computer technician, but it may nevertheless be of some use to you.  It is information that may be contained in some manuals somewhere, but most of it I have not been able to find on the Internet or elsewhere.


Inbox Repair Tool

If you came to this page because you have been looking everywhere in vain trying to find Microsoft's Inbox Repair Tool, you came to the right place.  Contrary to what your so-far-futile search may have led you to believe, there is an Inbox Repair Tool, and it will most likely enable you to recover all or a good portion of the e-mail data you lost access to because either your PC crashed or Outlook seems to conspire to motivate you to do something really stupid, like kill yourself or your PC.

How to Improve the Quality of Files Containing Scanned Text, Before Conversion to ASCII Text

Often I receive JPG files of newspaper clippings that people send to me.  They often are time-consuming to handle or process.  I'll virtually never pass JPG or other graphics files on to anyone else, for the simple reason that they use up time and money in proportion to how many people receive them.
    I don't like receiving them.  We live in a rural area in which any resident will most likely not have ADSL for as long as he is alive (unless he subscribes to digital satellite Internet access that will for quite a long time be unaffordable for the vast majority of people).  JPG or other graphics files therefore tie up telephone lines, sometimes for a half hour or longer, when they are being downloaded.  They will steal just as much time from many other people I send them to.
    However, if the information contained in them is worth passing on, I'll attempt to convert the graphics files to text and pass on the information in text format.

It is an indication of good will and courtesy not to forward text in graphics form, and these instructions will tell you what you must do to avoid doing that, how to achieve the best possible results, to save yourself and others time, and, most importantly, how to convert text that is in graphics form into a useful word-processing document that you don't have to re-type mostly from scratch.

Search-engine optimization

Placing expressions to be indexed for search-engine optimization in the first lines of text is a good start but not all that must be done. The meta tags in the page code come into the picture as well. (More)

Inbox Repair Tool

It had happened to me a few times that something with my e-mail software didn't work right anymore.  Over the years, that happened to me with Eudora, then with an old version of Netscape Communicator, then again with Eudora, then once more with a Beta Version of Netscape Communicator (which, by the way, had the serious flaw that it performed terribly in relation to finding e-mail messages that I was trying to find through key-word searches).

I got fed up with it all because I just could not afford to dedicate a major portion of my life to coping with nothing other than problems that appeared to be caused by flaws in e-mail software.  So I did something really "radical".  A couple of years ago I switched over to MS Outlook. Until last week it looked as if my troubles were over.

But then something happened, a disaster of major proportions, the BIG ONE.  Not only could I not get MS Outlook to work anymore, I found that when I had restored the software to operating condition my address book and all of the e-mail messages and the folders they had been stored in during the past two years were inaccessible. 

You most likely had a similar experience, or you would probably not be reading this page.  Don't despair.  There is hope and help.  It is just that Microsoft has made it virtually impossible to find it.  Nevertheless, even though you may by now have come to believe that the existence of the Inbox Repair Tool is nothing more than a hoax or a rumour, it does truly exist, it works, and you can gain access to it and make it work for you.  But I am getting ahead of myself.

The e-mail problem that hit me

On October 10, 2003, I was forced to send out this request for help:

Please help me out a little.

The night before last my PC locked up and forced me to shut off the power without exiting properly. That was even though I had properly exited all open programs as usual.

That had happened before, fortunately very seldom and always without serious consequences. It seemed that ScanDisk always did a nice job of repairing disk errors, although I can't see for the life of me how the automatic repair jobs don't leave a growing accumulation of scars.

Unfortunately, yesterday's abnormal shutdown either caused or was a consequence of a file from Norton System Works to have become cross-linked with outlook.pst.

The consequence of that was that I could not even initiate Outlook. All I got was a message that told me that the file was corrupted and that I should run "Inbox Repair Tool" (no word anywhere where to find Inbox Repair Tool), which I have no idea how to do, but I will try to find a way to overcome that.

As of now I got Outlook back into operation, but outlook.pst is corrupted. After a few hours of searching I found no menu option that permits me to access "Inbox Repair Tool".

In the meantime, all of my Outlook folders are inaccessible, including my address book....



Address Book Recovered

Thanks to all of you who responded to my request for help when my address book and mail files covering the past two years vanished.

The response was overwhelming.

There were expressions of sympathy and even good advice that I might be best off to kill myself (that was of course only stated in jest), but I have good news. All of my files, my complete address book, and my calendar (without which I would have been in deep you-know-what), are restored to their customary pristine and not quite confidence-inspiring condition.

Although there were a good number of practical suggestions and offers for technical assistance, I had to pick one, try out one avenue, and followed as a first try what Julian Fitzgerald pointed me to.

Incredibly, Julian knew where to find and how to gain access to the MS Inbox Repair Tool. (It had taken him once upon a time a large number of hours to search for it and to find it.)

Just in case you should have a problem like mine (and I know that some people experienced potentially large disasters like that), the instructions for MS Inbox Repair Tool are accessible on the Net.

I used the instructions. They were relatively easy to use, although if anyone ever needs to do the same, he better make sure that he's got perhaps more disk space available than he thinks is required to recover the MS outlook.pst file. A back-up copy will be created, with quite possibly a second one as well, and then there will be the new file that will contain all of the recovered and restored data. I am talking about Giga Bytes of free space. I came dangerously close to causing myself another disaster. At one point only a little over 2MB of free space remained on a disk drive that normally has around 3GB of free space. It is odd but to be expected that MS Inbox Repair Tool says nothing about the need for plenty of free disk space being required to complete the recovery process.

The instructions for Inbox Repair Tool warn that some of the recovered file folders may appear to be empty and that others may be missing completely. That prediction turned out to be true. Inbox Repair Tool also provided some tips on how to address or circumvent that, none of which worked, in which case, so it said, not much more could be done about the lost data.

I hanged my head low and was still relatively happy, because the complete address book had obviously been recovered. However, when I then used Outlook's file-import feature to add the recovered files and folders to the new .pst file I had set up to put Outlook back into operation, a miracle happened. All of the files I could consider to have been recovered were imported in addition to all of the ones that seemed to have vanished forever into the black hole of what some call Microcrap and other endearing names. The .pst file had grown from about 716MB to 1.3GB.

Inbox Repair Tool takes a terribly long time to go through the recovery process, as it makes about eight passes through all of the data. The subsequent file transfers to combine it all again into working condition take quite a bit more time. However, it was all relatively painless, and to boot, Ruth and I had the good sense not to stick around to wait for the agonizingly slow process to complete. We just went to visit her brother and his family for Thanksgiving dinner. When we came back yesterday, the automated portion of the recovery process had completed, and all that was left to do was a bit of housekeeping, copying files to create back-ups, and to rename files and of course to complete the import process that had such marvelous and un-anticipated results.

So, now everything is back to normal.

Once more, many thanks for your help and technical assistance,

About suicide being a kind-hearted solution, maybe the following will throw a bit more light on that.

Search-engine optimization

Placing expressions to be indexed for search-engine optimization in the first lines of text is a good start but not all that must be done. The meta tags in the page code come into the picture as well.
If you examine your page code, you will find the meta tags between the <head> and and </head> tags.
The expressions that you want to have emphasized (identified in the following by the example, global warming, shown in brackets (exclude the brackets, the parentheses and the text between the parentheses)) for search-engine ranking should be contained in the following tags:

<meta name="keywords" content="[(should include the following string) global warming, ]">
<meta name="description" content="[(should include the following string) global warming]">


<title>your page title [(should include the following string) global warming]</title>

That is not entirely or complete true anymore, but not all that long ago that repetition of expressions of interest was of great and even primary importance for search-engine optimization. It is not merely important to make use of the advantage in ranking that provides, but some search engines may even include parameters in their ranking algorithms that penalize the ranking of a web page if it does not follow those and other considerations.

There is much more to it than just that. The best thing you can do is to read a few articles on search-engine optimization.

Some people insist that such principles for search engine optimization cannot be applied with blog applications That is not quite the way things are with blogs. WordPress, for example, is quite well-aware of the importance of search-engine optimization, especially the vital aspects such as those described above.  See: Search Engine Optimization for WordPress, by WordPress.org

Life before the computer

An application was used in search of employment.

A program was a radio- or TV show.

A cursor used profanity. (Today they often trigger it with a simple click.)

A keyboard could be found on a piano, on an accordion or on a type-writer (you can still see those in old movies, usually the black and white ones).

Memory was something that one acquired throughout life and began to lose with advancing age.

A CD was a cash deposit to a bank account.

If you had a 3.5" floppy, you hoped that nobody would find out about it.

Compress was something you did to the garbage, not something you did to a file.

If you unzipped in public, you would run the risk of spending time in jail.

"Log on" involved putting wood on a fire.

A hard drive was a long trip on rough or busy roads.

A mouse pad was something a mouse called home.

A back-up sometimes involved a W.C. and was a very messy, smelly situation. (Today, the lack of one often causes the air to turn blue.)

To cut, you needed a knife or a pair of scissors.

One could not paste without glue.

A web was used by spiders to catch flies.

When you caught a virus, it usually meant hot toddies and maybe some Aspirin and time in bed.

I should have stuck to pad and paper and the memory in my head. I hear that nobody was ever killed in a computer crash, but if it ever happens to anybody, they often wish they were dead.


Well, my PC has a new lease on life, and I put the sledge hammer out of sight for now.

When I first began to work with computers, many years ago, I always maintained that the advent of computers enabled people to cause massive problems with no more effort than the mere push of a button.

I was wrong about that. People are no longer the required initiators. PCs, especially the ones possessed by MS demons, do the job without any human input at all.


whiterose.gif (6796 bytes)The White Rose
Thoughts are Free

Posted 2003 10 15
2004 09 06 (minor edits)
2007 12 23 (reformated)
2011 12 31 (added search-engine optimization)