Summary: This post outlines common reasons behind damaged Outlook Personal Folder (PST) File, and explains how to repair the file by using the free Outlook built-in repair utility. Also, it discusses an advanced Outlook PST repair solution to fix the corrupt file when the built-in repair tool fails.
A Personal Storage Table (PST) file is a Microsoft Outlook Data File that stores a user’s email messages, contacts, and other mailbox items on the computer. Any damage or corruption in the file could lead to issues such as Outlook keeps hanging or freezing, Outlook taking too long to open, or abrupt crashes, etc. Also, you may receive errors like ‘Outlook data file cannot be opened’, ‘errors have been detected in the file path’, etc.
NOTE: If you receive a message suggesting PST file damage, it is strongly recommended that you should stop using Outlook immediately to avoid the file from being overwritten.
Common Reasons behind Damaged PST File
Some of the common reasons that may result in corrupt or damaged Outlook Personal Folder (PST) File are as follows:
- PST file has exceeded its permissible size limit
- Abrupt termination of Outlook when the PST file is in use
- Virus infection
- Hard drive, where the Outlook Data File is stored, has developed bad sectors
- Errors while transferring network shared .pst files
Methods to Repair Outlook PST file:
You can try restoring the PST file from backup. But if the backup is not available, use the below-mentioned methods to repair damaged Outlook Personal Folder File:
Method 1 – Use Microsoft Built-in Repair Utility (Outlook Inbox Repair Tool)
Microsoft provides a built-in repair utility, called the ‘Inbox Repair Tool’ or ‘Scanpst.exe’, to diagnose and fix corruption errors in a PST file.
NOTE: Before running the Inbox Repair Tool, make sure to close your Outlook application and back up the Outlook Data File (.pst) you want to repair.
Follow these steps to repair corrupt .pst file by using the Inbox Repair Tool:
Step 1: Browse to any of these locations:
Outlook 2019: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
Outlook 2016: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15
Outlook 2010: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14
Outlook 2007: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12
Step 2: Double-click SCANPST.
Step 3: In Microsoft Inbox Repair dialogue box, click Browse to select the PST you want to repair.
NOTE: If you are not aware of Outlook PST file location, open the File Explorer window and type the command: %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook.
Step 4: Click Start to initiate the scan.
NOTE: The scanning process may take some time to complete, depending on the PST file size.
Step 5: If the scan finds any errors in the file, click Repair to fix those errors.
Step 6: Click OK when the repair process completes.
Although Scanpst.exe can repair broken PST file, it has a few drawbacks:
- It might fail to repair a severely corrupt or damaged file.
- You may need to run ‘Scanpst.exe’ multiple times to fix the damaged file.
- It does not support recovery from the password-protected file.
- It may freeze in the middle of the repair process or return unexpected errors.
To Repair Outlook Data Files Manual Guide
Method 2 – Use Stellar Repair for Outlook Software
You can overcome the limitations of Scanpst.exe tool by using Stellar Repair for Outlook software, and here’s how:
- Can repair severely corrupt PST files of virtually any size.
- Supports mailbox recovery from a password-protected PST file.
- It is a reliable tool that helps fix Outlook PST errors with integrity and precision.
- Repairs Outlook Personal Folder (PST) File in 3 simple clicks: ‘Select’, ‘Repair’, and ‘Preview & Save’.
Select the PST file.
2. Repair the file.
3. Preview and save the repaired file.
Stellar Repair for Outlook software is the best alternative to Scanpst.exe that you can download for free to scan and preview all recoverable PST file items. Further, it helps save the recovered items in a new usable PST, which can be easily imported into Outlook.
Reasons such as large file size, virus infection, bad sectors on a hard drive, etc. can result in broken or damaged Outlook Personal Folder (PST) File. You can use the Microsoft Outlook built-in ‘Scanpst.exe’ repair Outlook PST. But, the tool has certain limitations. It cannot repair a severely corrupt file, takes considerable time to fix it, returns unexpected errors, etc. Use Stellar Repair for Outlook software when backup and ‘Scanpst.exe’ fail to restore PST file.