Working on laptopImage: Maggie Smith /

I’ve been using Microsoft Outlook to manage my life, contacts and emails for many, many years now. I’ve synchronised the information to a variety of portable devices over the years ranging between a PDA in the early days and then to my mobile phone ever since I started to own Smartphones. Outlook has, in all honesty, been very reliable for me. I’m a big Mozilla Firefox fan but have never given Thunderbird a trial despite it being lighter and more than likely, better to use. (No iTunes integration has kept me away).

The only problems I’ve encountered previously have been to do with my own actions. I once ended up duplicating all of my appointments through a silly sync. I once deleted all of my contacts by accident, but due to the graciousness of the recycle bin / deleted items, I got them back, but not before a little panic! (Yes, I know, back-ups are important!)

Since owning an iPhone I’ve had a string of Outlook related issues. Some of these have been blogged about and trouble shot in a very public manner. I believe I’m on top of them now; however I recently had to deal with an issues totally new to me and my research towards a resolve led me down several confusing paths, so I’ve decided to share with you the solution to my particular issue.

Each time I’d open Outlook I’d see any reminders. One of my reminders, when I clicked to dismiss it would generate the following error message: “Cannot turn off the reminder. You may be reminded again. Cannot locate recurrence information for this appointment.”


As always, I turned to Google to do some digging to see how common a problem this is. The majority of search results referred to issue with exchange servers. I don’t have one, my email is retrieved from a POP3 mailbox. There were a number of other results that suggested running Outlook with a /cleanreminders switch. (Press your windows key and the letter R to get a Start>Run prompt, then type “outlook.exe /cleanreminders”). This didn’t work for me either.

My problem appeared to be an issue with Outlook’s internal database. A level of corruption had occurred which I needed to correct. To do so, I followed this process:

0. Downloaded and installed the MFCMAPI tool from here
1. Run MFCMAPI on the desktop
2. Go to Session->Logon and Display Store Table
3. Select your profile
4. Select Mailbox
5. Expand “Root Container”
6. Right click “Reminders” and select “Open Contents Table”
7. New Window Launches with Title Reminders
8. Select all the reminder items listed there, Right click and select “Delete Message”
9. Close MFCMAPI
10. Open Outlook and your issue should be resolved.

If you aren’t very careful you could wreck your Outlook profile so it’s very important that you take a backup copy of your profile BEFORE you start to take corrective action.

This may also work for the following error messages:

“Cannot open the item for this reminder. The end date you entered occurs before the start date”

“Cannot turn off the reminder. You may be reminded again. Could not complete the operation. One or more parameter values are not valid.”

I am running Windows Vista x64 Business edition with Microsoft Outlook 2007 Enterprise; however my finding are that this is common within other office platforms such as 2003 and is not limited to any windows platform.

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