I concure with your friends assesment. Still doesn't change my advice. Look, you have either a pst file that is damanged. our think in terms of lost or unaccessable. In truth it means any number of things. the scanpst tool fixes any number of errors. see here for additional details: http://www.slipstick...ems/scanpst.htm
. at worst all you do is loose about 30 min. while scan pst is running (probably much less time required for it to run).
.... ok, you may not realize it but the pst file is a simple database. the compacting tool is the first step in running preventative maintenance. if it can't or doesn't change anything then you need to run scanpst.
now if you don't want to run scanpst then I suggest that you run the archive funtion. it will extract all the emails and keep the data structure and place them into a new pst file. If you do this and the file size is still much larger then go through and check for duplicate messages, attachements ect.
many tools listed here: http://www.slipstick...ousekeeping.htm
not many free tools, especially for compacting. look through the list. there are at least some trials available.