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Troubleshooting Project Center Projects

The information on this page is courtesy of Entourage users that took the time to share their troubleshooting experience with the Entourage talk list. Thanks Dan and Eric!

Entourage freezing - fixed (for me anyway)

For about the last 8 or 9 months. I had been experiencing freezing in Entourage whenever new mail was being received. When I first encountered the problem, I posted to the list and learned that this was a well-known problem without a clear fix. Some people told me they resolved it by deleting emails from their database. I tried that over the holidays last year but it didn't fix it for me.

Yesterday, I decided to archive and delete some older projects in Project Center. From what I can tell, I make fairly intensive use of the Project Center, with anywhere from 40 to 150 projects at any given time. Some of the projects involve dozens of emails and thousands of files, notes, events, tasks, and so forth. Even though it's about half-baked, the Project Center has become nearly indispensable for me.

While archiving some projects, I came across three that would not archive. Each time I tried, the backup would abort, claiming that I stopped it before completion (even though I had not). When I looked at the project folder in the Finder, everything looked OK (they were not particularly large and only had a few dozen files involved). However, when I looked at the "Files" tab each of the projects via Project Center, all three displayed a file named "Picture 1" that did not have an icon. When I tried double-clicking these files I got an error message.

Thinking my database was damaged, I checked it, but the database tool said it was OK. I rebuilt it anyway, but the files were still there. I then manually deleted them from within the database, and voila, the three projects then archived without a hitch.

I then worked my way through the list of projects, until I hit another one that would not archive. When I clicked the "Backup" button, it completely locked up Entourage and required a Force Quit to recover. When I examined the project in Overview, the Project Center indicated that there were over 7000 items displayed, which was strange because there were only 41 mail messages, and 38 files and folders, and only a half dozen other items in the other tabs. However, I did have a couple of folders inside the main project folder that each had thousands of files in them, with hundreds of megs of data. I suspect somehow that the Project Center was "reading through" the folders, and/or that the backup was choking on the amount of data.

Anyway, I decided to zip the mega-folders in order to create single zip files of each. When I did this, the project then successfully archived and deleted.

When I finally finished the archive/delete process, I had removed about 100 projects, and the freezing problem also completely disappeared. Not sure what the culprit was, but I'm guessing that it was the volume of projects, either in number or size, that was causing Entourage to freeze.

Dan

Comment on Dan's fix by another Entourage talk user.

To recap, I was suffering from the exact same set of issues as Dan: freezing of Entourage for up to three minutes per every email message that came through. I had gone around and around, thinking first it was a problem with Exchange, then with Entourage and database size, etc. After reading his email message it made sense to me. I also made extensive use of the Project Center, having well over 100 projects in the database, and having never archived any older projects.

After attempting his solution of archiving as many projects as I could, eliminating the errors in the archiving, my problem with freezing, which has been plaguing me for almost a YEAR, and which caused me to briefly flirt with returning to Windows and Outlook on the PC, has been SOLVED!

As far as I can tell, it happens when two things occur:

  1. The User is making extensive use of the Project Center, containing at least 50 projects.
  2. Some projects in the Project Center might have issues in their files list, as Dan wrote of in his letter

In my experience, this was due to Aliases being present in the Watch Folder for the project. Entourage cannot understand symbolic links or aliases being present in its Project Center Watch Folders and so has major issues when trying to archive projects with those element in the watch folders. This could also have been a contributing factor to the freezing issues.

These 1-2 issues cause Entourage to spend a considerably long period of time scanning the Project Center for appropriate projects with which to associate each new email message. This is a result of Entourage's very cool ability to associate new email messages automatically with projects that correspond to the email senders of each message. This is why it would happen for every email message.

Once again, thank you Dan! The solution that you wrote about was definitely the trick. I will know more over time if the cause is a combination of 1 & 2 or just #1 as I go through and add more projects back into the system. Hopefully Project Center in the next version of Mac Office will be better adapted to larger usage of the Project Center itself. :-)

Best Regards, Eric