Outlook? Look out!

Yesterday was a bit of a disaster work-wise, in that I managed to royally snarf up my main VMware instance of Windows XP (entirely my own fault, buggering around with hard disk settings—will I never learn?)

Luckily, I had a back-up of said image on my NAS from the night before. I run nightly back-up scripts (plus weekly off-site ones) and I am very glad I do! So, off I went to retrieve the relevant bit of my back-up… Well, that worked just fine (I love Super Duper). But the file was huge, and took three hours to come back down over my network. Ouch! Never mind, I had other stuff to do. So, once it was all complete, I fired up the instance to check everything. All was well. Lotus Notes was happy. So was Eclipse and the VPN software I was using. The one app that threw a wee hissy fit? MS Outlook. Check this error out:

Brilliant MS Outlook error message

How pointless is this? People whinge about Lotus Notes, often quite rightly. But are they seriously telling me that messages (and underlying functionality) like this are better? There are a fair few things wrong with this dialog:

  1. Why does it matter that the local file is out of date (albeit by approx. 18 hours)?
  2. Why can’t Outlook just download all updates from the Exchange box at Send / Receive time, and be done with it?
  3. Does the average user really know where to find their .ost file? (its location is buried in one of the program’s various settings dialogs)
  4. Is the average user—indeed, any user—happy about deleting a file as vital as their Outlook cache?
  5. If the software is pretty much inoperable until this (stupid) step is completed, why doesn’t it just, erm, do it?

All hail replication!

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I’m a software architect / developer / general IT wrangler specialising in web, mobile web and middleware using things like node.js, Java, C#, PHP, HTML5 and more.

Best described as a simpleton, but kindly. You can read more here.