How to Fix Broken or Damaged Outlook (PST) File Instantly 2019, 2017 & Earlier Versions?

Updated on December 29th, 2020

Kuljeet Singh

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.

fix outlook pst file

 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.

Corrupt Outlook PSt File

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:

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.

Double click on 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.

Microsoft Inbox Repair Tool: Browse PST File

Step 4: Click Start to initiate the scan.

NOTE: The scanning process may take some time to complete, depending on the PST file size.

Click Start to initiate the scan

Step 5: If the scan finds any errors in the file, click Repair to fix those errors.

Press Repair to Repair PST File

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.

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

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’.
  1. Select the PST file.

Select PST File

2. Repair the file.

Browse & Repair Outlook PST File

3. Preview and save the repaired file.

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.

fix outlook pst file

Final Words

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.

Also Read:


Repair Outlook PST without ScanPST

How to Prevent PST Corruption?

Common Outlook Errors

About The Author

Eric Simson

Eric Simson is an Email Platform Consultant and is associated with Stellar Data Recovery from last 6 years. He writes about the latest technology tips and provides custom solutions related to MS Outlook, MS Exchange Server, Office 365, and many other Email Clients & Servers. 

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  1. This software works on unlimited folders without any limitation. Now, we can ensure 100% uptime towards access of Outlook emails

  2. Hello Eric,

    I need your help urgently. I have 20 GB PST file of my organization. I want to transfer PST file to another system.

    But, this Outlook data file is inaccessible.

    Please guide!

    1. Your data file is inaccessible due to damage in the file structure. Before moving file, you should ensure the health of Outlook PST file.

      To fulfill your need, Stellar Outlook PST repair is the best-suited solution.

  3. Yes!

    This software works on unlimited folders without any limitation. Now, we can ensure 100% uptime towards access of Outlook emails.

  4. When I tried repairing a damaged PST using SCANPST.exe, my windows used to get stuck. I had got quite frustrated as even after trying multiple third-party tools and even Microsoft’s own SCANPST.EXE, I was not able to resolve “Cyclic Redundancy Check Error“.

    After reading your blog post I tried repairing my Outlook email file using Stellar PST Repair tool, I was able to view all the emails in it. I’m glad that I bought the software as my Outlook Client is working perfectly again.

  5. Our team had fixed this issue through ScanPST.exe but lost around 70% mailbox emails. Then, we approached an Outlook MVP to work around this problem. He helped us to get back all lost emails through the help of Stellar PST Repair.

  6. But, I have this error on Windows 10 PC with Outlook 2016 email application. I need archive file of Outlook 2016 mailbox in Office 365 suite.

    Is it feasible with the only ScanPST.exe? I also need the support of Office 365 also.

    1. Hi Minnie,

      As per opinion of MS Outlook experts, ScanPST.exe does not provide the output with 100% accuracy.

      Please elaborate your purpose for office 365 environment.

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