Blog: Office 2003

There is a limit on how many rules you can create in Outlook.  This limit is actually based on how much space the rules take up.  The error message says “"There is not enough space on the Microsoft Exchange Server to store all of your rules", even though there is plenty of space on the drive, in the Exchange databases, etc.  According to, this is a limitation and applies to Exchange 5.0 through Exchange 2003 and Outlook 97 through Outlook 2002.  It looks like Exchange 2007 and Outlook 2007 are not affected.  That article has a few (virtually useless) pointers on how reduce the amount of space the rules take up.

Note: There is a followup to this post that provides more details and instructions on how to increase the number of rules allowed in Exchange 2007.


Microsoft Office uses various types of password protection.  In general, passwords used to limit modification of documents are reasonably weak and can be cracked easily (and immediately) with tools such as Office Key (from  Passwords required before a file can be opened usually require brute force type cracks but until I did some research, I still didn't know how strong the encryption was for these types of protection. [more]

There is also an online service ( that offers document recovery for about $29/document in many cases.  The service will show you part of the decrypted document before you have to pay for the whole document decryption process.  If they can't decrypt it, you don't pay.  However, it seems to work pretty well.  I tested it with a simple Office 2003 document that required a password to open.  Within about 30 seconds, they showed me the first two lines of the document's contents (which, in this case was the whole document).

Note - this does not work with 2007 XML formats - only with previous versions of Office documents.  That is consistent with Microsoft's warning that encryption with older versions of office is not as strong as it is with native mode 2007 documents.

The online document recovery process does not determine what the password is.  It just involves removing the password requirement altogether.

Of course, you would want to be very careful with confidential documents…

This came up in a recent audit where the bank was using password protected Word and Excel files for security measures.  We determined this isn't a suitable method for securing documents they send via e-mail.


In troubleshooting a very obscure error in Outlook 2003 (0x800…error unknown), I ran across a very helpful tool called the Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe). This tool can be used to find and fix errors in a .pst or .ost file. Scanpst.exe file is found at C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\1033\ on a standard Windows XP and Office installation. One of the less obvious things about .pst and .ost files is that they never reclaim unused space. They just keep growing much like Microsoft Access jet databases. If you want to shrink the size of your .pst or .ost file, you must manually compact it. If you use Office 2k3, go to Tools -> Options -> Email Accounts -> View or Change an Existing Account. Then select your Exchange account and click “Change”. Select “More Settings” and on the “Advanced” tab, there is an “Offline Folder File Settings” button. Click that and choose the “Compact Now” button.