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    Repair PST File

    How to Fix “Microsoft Outlook ScanPST.exe Tool does not recognize the file”

    Table of Content

      The error message- “Microsoft Outlook ScanPST.exe tool does not recognize the file” is a kickback effect of a damaged/corrupted Outlook PST file, when corruption is too severe for the tool to fix. This blog post explains the steps, if you want to know how you to fix this Microsoft Outlook inbuilt tool error. You will be knowing how you can easily fix the error and recover your important Outlook data.

      But first, let us look at some of the noteworthy causes of this error message.

      Causes of “Outlook ScanPST.exe does not recognize the file” error prompt

      Outlook files are easily corrupted, which is why it is recommended to always backup every essential file, email and contact. Nevertheless, in case you forget to back up your files, you are still provided with a built-in repair option (to repair and recover files), in case of damage or corruption.

      At times, Outlook files might become severely damaged or corrupted. In this case, the in-built tool (scanpst.exe) would not be able to repair such files.

      At other times, the Inbox Repair tool (ScanPST) would not even recognize the file you want to repair, resulting in a pop up error-message that reads – “Microsoft Outlook Repair tool does not recognize the file”.

      So, let us take a look at some of the factors responsible for this inbuilt mailbox repair tool error-message, before looking at how to fix it.

      Microsoft Outlook Upgrade

      Upgrading Microsoft Outlook from an earlier version to a later version is one of the most notorious causes of PST file corruption. This occurs when certain files were not properly updated, and the application replaces such files prematurely. In the process, some of the older files might get corrupted and consequently rendered inaccessible.

      Sharing Files over Insecure Network

      Files shared over a corrupt network are very vulnerable to corruption. Although this can be avoided, many users still fall victim. And if the corruption is severe, such files might be rendered inaccessible.

      Overstretched PST File Limit

      The frequent users of Microsoft Outlook might end up consuming a lot of storage space, getting PST file size larger that the defined limit depending upon the Outlook version. This is even worse for critical Outlook users who send and receive tons of emails per day. Over time, the PST limit becomes stretched thin, and this gives room for various forms of file corruption.

      Affected files, in this case, usually become inaccessible. If the damage is severe, the Outlook Repair tool might not recognize the files while trying to fix the damage.

      Damaged Hard Drive

      Hard drive is the primary storage hub of a typical computer system. As such, any damage to the hard drive is likely to have ripple effects on Outlook PST files and even back-ups. If the damage is severe, the in-built scanPST tool might not even recognize it, talkless of fixing it.

      Using Unreliable Tools

      Using untested or unreliable utility tools, either as a file transfer medium or as a compression tool, might damage your PST file.

      However, in this case, using unreliable repair tools is the main culprit. If you are trying to fix a damaged file with an unreliable repair tool, you would only end up aggravating the damage even more. Such file damage is usually too severe for the MS Outlook built-in repair tool to fix.

      Tips: Prevent PST file Corruption

      This is why it is recommended to always use reliable PST repair tools. And we’ll be looking at how to fix the “Outlook Repair tool does not recognize the file” error, using a reliable PST repair tool, in the next section of this blog.

      Fix “Microsoft Outlook ScanPST.exe Tool does not recognize the file” Using Stellar Repair for Outlook

      Stellar Repair for Outlook is the ultimate solution for fixing PST-related errors in MS Outlook. To fix the “Outlook Repair tool does not recognize the file” error, follow the steps outlined below:

      • Download Stellar Repair for Outlook and open it.
      Free Download for Windows
      • Navigate to Select PST File for Repair, and click the “unrecognized” PST file.
      Browse Find Select Pst File for Repair
      • Click Repair to commence the repair process.
      • Preview the scanned PST mailbox data
      Click Repair to start fixing PST
      • Go to the Home menu and click on Save Repaired File
      • Click the corresponding file format under the following Save Options: PST, EML, PDF, MSG, HTML, or RTF.
      Screenshot of Save Repaired File menu options.
      • Click the Browse button
      • Select a new destination for the repaired file
      • Relaunch your Microsoft Outlook app using the profile associated with the newly repaired PST file after the import process.

      This action should effectively repair and recover the “unrecognized” PST file; you can then access the inherent data.


      As emphasized in this article, the “Microsoft Outlook ScanPST.exe tool does not recognize the file” error is occasioned by severe PST file corruption or damage. Sometimes the critical corruption scenarios may happen beyond the ScanPST.exe repair process.

      The ultimate solution, therefore, entails adopting the Outlook repair tool. We have described, in this article, how you can fix the error using Stellar Repair for Outlook, which is, perhaps, the best PST repair tool available online for the free trial.

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      About The Author

      Eric Simson linkdin

      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.


      1. Just tried Stellar and after thinking for a while (it was a large pst file) it gave error message “Invalid file. Please select a valid PST.”

      2. I don’t wish to waste my time due to uncertainty. I will go with Stellar Repair for Outlook.

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