Fix PST File Exports Hangs under Outlook 2010 on Windows 10

I oftentimes find myself lumbered with legacy software, for a myriad of reasons varying from backwards software compatibility to a personal dislike of new software versions, etc.

One such piece of legacy software — and perhaps the most egregious example thereof — is Microsoft Outlook 2010, which I still currently run under the Windows 10 operating system to connect to an Microsoft Exchange account.

One unfortunately inconvenience of being married to legacy software is that we become “zeta-testers”; the opposite of “alpha-testers”. Our antiquated software ceases to function as the environment around it changes.

The Problem….

Under Windows 10, Microsoft Outlook 2010 (with all current patches applied) will no longer perform a reliable “hands-free” export to a .PST file (at least in my case, which means a 12GB PST file). This makes it difficult to “migrate” from one exchange account/server to another or to “back up” the exchange account to a .pst file, from which the account can later be restored.

Outlook 2010 tends to “crash” or “hang” when an export is performed.

The Solution…

Well, let’s call this “my solution”. It’s probably not going to work for everybody, but here is what has worked for me in circumventing the hangs/crashes on multiple machines:

  1. Close all applications (including Outlook) such that no apps in the taskbar appear with a blue line underneath.
  2. Disable all anti-virus software; I run Kaspersky and disabled it.
  3. Open an Explorer window and navigate to the folder to which you’ll later be saving the .PST backup / exported file. Then, select the “Details” view, so you can see file sizes.
  4. Open Outlook 2010:
    1. Click “File”
    2. Select the Exchange account that you wish to export under “Account Information”.
    3. Click Options > Advanced
    4. Under “Export”, click “Export”.
    5. Select “Export to file a file”, then “Outlook Data File (.pst)”.
    6. Choose the email folder(s) you wish to export (I chose the main account folder and included all sub folders).
    7. Select the destination folder for the .pst file (same location to which you navigated in the Explorer window earlier.)
    8. Click “Finish”

And, now for the REALLY Important part…

While Outlook is performing the export, you MUST CONTINUE MOVING THE MOUSE. The green status bar should continue going from left to right; The estimated time remaining will be incorrect (as always), but so long as it keeps recycling from left to right, you’re good!

If the Outlook window becomes washed-out — or if you get the “Not Responding” window — then I suggest you force close Outlook and try again (in my experience the grayed out window means that it has died entirely.)

Periodically (every 1-2 mins), click on the  Explorer window (opening it by moving the mouse over the Explorer icon in the taskbar and clicking on it)… Quickly look at the file size of the .pst you’re exporting, which should continue to increase every time you check, indicating that the export process continues.

After checking the that the file size continues to grow, switch directly back to Outlook and continue moving the mouse.

One hell of a strange bug, but this solution works. Reminds me of software that use the mouse movements as random entropy input for encryption purposes.