Here’s what you can do if you launch Microsoft Entourage and find messages missing, or Entourage refuses to launch at all. Entourage stores your contacts, messages, attachments, calendar, to do, and project data in a file called Database. The Database file is designed to grow, but never to shrink. Even when you delete messages within Entourage, they are not deleted from the Database. They’re simply marked as being deleted, so they never appear in any of the Entourage mail lists. They still occupy space, which means the Database is larger than it needs to be, and is occupying more space on your hard drive than necessary.

Sometimes that file can become damaged, which causes problems when Entourage tries to launch, display, and receive messages. Follow these instructions to repair the database and also delete all the deleted messages…which makes the Database smaller, faster, and easier to manage.

1. If Entourage is running, click Quit in the File menu.

2. Hold down the Command and Option keys on the keyboard and launch Entourage. Keep holding down the keys. Instead of launching Entourage, this should launch the Database Utility.

Click Compact, then Continue in the Database Utility window

3. Make sure the listing for Main Identify is highlighted in the database list at the top of the window. If not, click on it to highlight it.

4. Click the button for Compact database, then click the Continue button. Database Utility creates a brand new, blank Database file, renames your old damaged file, copies all the undeleted data from the old file to the new, then creates an index within the new file to make all your messages and data easy for Entourage to find.

5. When Database Utility has completed compacting your Database, the Compact Status window indicates that it’s complete. Click the Done button to close Database Utility and continue to your Entourage main window.


If Entourage still has trouble launching or there are missing messages, the Database file needs more TLC than the Compact Database routine could provide. Repeat the same 5 steps above, but this time in step 2 click Rebuild Database instead of Compact Database. This procedure take longer than compacting, but does a more thorough job of running diagnostics on the Database file, repairing them, then copying all the good data to a new file. When the rebuilding is done, the Compact Status window will say it’s complete. Click the Done button to proceed to Entourage’s main window.