How to Repair Corrupt PST Files of Microsoft Outlook in a Few Simple Steps

Microsoft Office Outlook is one of the best and popular email client applications developed by Microsoft. It is mainly used as an email application, but it also offers multiple features like: calendar, task manager, contact manager, note taking, journal and web browsing. MS Outlook is a popular email client application therefore, it is commonly used in large organizations to send and receive emails and to manage them as well. But sometimes MS Outlook may create some troubles or it may work in an abnormal way. The main reason behind this unexpected behavior of MS Outlook is corruption. The data file, which stores all the email messages and other mailbox items of MS Outlook, has a size-limitation issue. The Outlook data file is known as PST or Personal Storage Table. There are two types of PST file: ANSI and Unicode. ANSI is used in older versions of MS Outlook and has a size limit of 2 GB. While Unicode is used in the newer versions of MS Outlook and has no size limit, i.e. up to 20 GB. In the higher version of MS Outlook the size limit increases by 50 GB. If a PST file crosses the size limit (mentioned above), then it may become inaccessible or corrupted. You cannot open an ANSI PST file in newer versions of Outlook and a Unicode PST file in older versions of Outlook. If you try such thing, your PST files become more susceptible to corruption.

Other than this, a PST file may also get corrupted due to several reasons, such as: virus attacks, abruptly system shutdown, sudden power failure, unexpected cancellation of Outlook, storage media malfunction, hard drive has bad sectors, human errors and many more. While opening a corrupt PST file you will receive an error message saying the file is corrupted or cannot be used. Some of the common error messages are shown below which may take place at the time of corruption:

  1. “Errors have been detected in the file Outlook.pst.”
  2. “The file Outlook.pst could not be found.”
  3. “Outlook.pst is not a personal storage folder file.”
  4. “PST has reached the maximum size limit.”

Whenever you face these errors your Outlook PST files, it means the files are corrupted cannot be used until you repair them. You must repair the files, otherwise, you cannot use them anymore. There are two effective ways to repair corrupt PST files:

SCANPST.EXE or Inbox Repair tool:SCANPST.EXE is an Inbox Repair tool for corrupt MS Outlook data files. It scans a corrupt.pst file, resolves the corruption issues and repairs it within a couple of minutes. SCANPST.EXE is installed at the time of MS Office or MS Outlook installation. It is located here in these locations:

  • In MS Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15
  • In MS Outlook 2010: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14
  • In MS Outlook 2007: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12
  • In MS Outlook 2003: C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\<locale ID>
  • In MS Outlook 2002 or XP: C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MAPI\<locale ID>\scanpst.exe

Once the SCANPST.EXE file has been found, double-click it. But before this make sure your MS Outlook application is closed, i.e. it is not running in your system. You need to follow these simple steps to repair corrupt file by using SCANPST.EXE:

  1. Double-click SCANPST.EXE.
  2. Microsoft Outlook Inbox Repair Tool window will pop-up.
  3. Click on Browse to select corrupt PST file from your system directory.
  4. Now click on Start to start the scanning of corrupt file.
  5. Be patience. It may take some time (scanning time depends on your file size).
  6. Click on Browse to select the location for this new repaired file.
  7. The box “Make backup of scanned file before repairing” is checked by default. Keep it checked if you want to create backup of the file.
  8. Now click on Repair to repair the scanned file.
  9. Once the file has been repaired, you will receive a message “Repair complete”.

Now you can check the repaired file. But sometimes SCANPST.EXE fails to repair the corrupt files. This may happen that your SCANPST.EXE reports no error in the corrupt file, but your MS Outlook program still complains when you try to open it. Other than this, SCANPST.EXE cannot recover the email messages which have been accidentally deleted by Outlook user. During the recovery, sometimes SCANPST.EXE may lose a large amount of data of corrupt PST file. In all these critical situations, when you are not satisfied with the result of SCANPST.EXE, you can try some third-party PST recovery software. A third-party PST repair or recovery application is the best solution to fix MS Outlook file corruption.

Third-party PST Recovery tool: Third-party PST recovery tools are specially designed to fix high-level of corruption from Outlook PST files. There are several software companies which offer such recovery applications at very affordable price. When you search for some advanced PST recovery applications on Google, you get a wide range of recovery tools for corrupt PST files. This could be very challenging for you to find out that which software application is the best one. In such situation you can check demo or trial version of these recovery software. The demo or trial version works very similar to the full software and helps you check it before buying. It repairs your corrupt file and recovers your data like a full software application does. Then it shows you the preview of recovered data. If you are satisfied with the preview, then you can get its full version to save the recovered data. Generally these recovery software applications are very safe and easy-to-use. Any technical and non-technical user can use them without requiring any extra technical knowledge. Third-party PST Repair or Recovery software is the best solution for MS Outlook users, especially when SCANPST.EXE fails to repair the corrupt files.

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