[Fix] Scanpst.exe Freezes, Fails on Repairing Outlook PST Files

If you use Microsoft Outlook for email communication, you might be aware that the PST (Personal Storage Table) file which stores the messages and calendar events is prone to corruption. To deal with PST file corruption, Microsoft provides the Inbox Repair Tool for Outlook (Scanpst.exe) that can scan the structure of the damaged PST file and also repair it in most cases.

However, users often complain that Scanpst.exe freezes or fails while repairing Outlook PST files. If you are facing a similar issue with Scanpst.exe, this post is for you. 

Before we look at the solutions to fix the Scanpst.exe freezing/fails issue, let’s first understand the reasons behind it.

Note - Close Outlook before proceeding to repair Outlook PST file by using Scanpst.exe.  

scanpst.exe fails to repair pst file

Why Scanpst.exe freezes/Fails when repairing Outlook PST files?

Following are some of the reasons due to which Scanpst.exe may freeze/fails or not responding while repairing a PST file.

  • If a DLL file required by scanpst.exe is missing, it might cause issues such as freezing of the program. In most cases, the system will show an error message when a DLL file is missing.
  • If you have an outdated version of Scanpst.exe, you may face issues like freezing of the utility while repairing the PST file. Installing the pending updates for Outlook can help.
  • If you are using Outlook 2002 version or older, you are more likely to face Scanpst.exe freezing while repairing Outlook PST files. This is because older versions of Scanpst.exe cannot deal with bigger PST files around the size of 2GB or more.
  • A severely corrupt PST file may fall beyond the repair capability of Scanpst.exe, and hence the tool may freeze while attempting to repair it.

How to fix Scanpst.exe that freezes when repairing Outlook PST files?

1. Update Scanpst.exe

Install all the updates available for Outlook client installed on your system. Scanpst.exe is a part of MS-Outlook installation. You can neither install nor update it independently. The only way you can update Scanpst.exe is by installing all the updates provided by Microsoft for the specific Outlook version you are using.

2. Reinstall Outlook program

If updating Outlook doesn’t resolve the issue, there’s a possibility that the installation of Outlook has become corrupt. In that case, reinstalling Outlook may resolve the issue.

3. Check the size of the PST file and try to reduce it

If you still find Scanpst.exe freezing while repairing Outlook PST file, you need to consider other factors. If you are using Outlook 2002 or earlier, check the size of the PST file.

If the size of the PST file is around 2G or more, you need to reduce the size of PST file as follows:

  • Delete the emails that are not important and empty the Deleted items folder.
  • Click File->Account Settings-> Account Settings
  • On the Data files tab, click on the data file you want to compact(reduce size)
  • Click Settings
  • Click the Advanced tab and then click Outlook Data File Settings
  • You will see a dialog box with title Outlook Data File Settings open, click Compact now
  • Click OK

After reducing the size of PST file, run Scanpst.exe again to repair the PST file. In most cases, the Scanpst.exe would run without any errors and repair the PST file.

What to do if none of these solutions works?

If you’ve failed to resolve the freezing issue with Scanpst.exe, you can try a specialized software such as Stellar Repair for Outlook to repair the corrupt PST file.

The Stellar Repair for Outlook doesn’t have the limitations as in the case of Scanpst.exe. It can recover severely corrupt PST files and can deal with large files as well as encrypted PST files. Additionally, it comes equipped with an interactive GUI which makes working with it extremely easy. Take a free trial to ascertain its repair capabilities.

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Charanjeet Kaur linkdin Icon

Technical writer with over 7 years of experience

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