How to Repair Corrupt PST File: Cause, Prevention and Solutions

If the OST and PST files are not opening, and you think that the file is corrupted, you can use either inbox repair tool to identify the errors and repair them. Or the second option is to go with the third-party tool like Outlook Recovery tool. Both the methods are good answers to how to repair corrupt PST file. A user can choose anyone depending upon the needs and situation. So, let us get started.

Error Messages When a PST File Gets Corrupted

A Microsoft Outlook user can easily identify and understands the following error messages:

  • Microsoft Outlook has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience
  • The file abc.pst is not a personal folder file
  • Unable to display the folder. The file abc.pst could not be accessed

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Reasons Due to Which a PST file Gets Corrupted

PST stands for Personal Storage Table and is used to store emails, attachments, contacts, calendars etc., on the local machine. PST file format is also used to backup the data or export the data from one platform to another. Even though it provides many advantages but, it is a lot likely that the file can be damaged or corrupted. The cause of the corruption in the PST file can be any hardware or software issue. Some of the most prominent reasons are:

  • Improper shutdown of the Microsoft Outlook application
  • Increasing size of the Outlook PST file
  • Virus attack on the local system

Ways to Avoid Corruption of PST File

There are some effective points that are certainly helpful in sidelining the technical issues. The need to repair corrupt PST file can be avoided by keeping the following things in mind:

  • Close the Outlook window properly after the user has finished the Outlook task. Before the user wants to shutdown the system, make sure that any of the PST files is not left opened in the system.
  • Save the PST files in such a location from where they can be easily accessed
  • Make sure that the size of PST file is not too large. The PST file of larger file size is more prone to corruption
  • Avoid handling a large number of emails at once. It is so because when the user deals with many emails, there are chances that they will not be accessed, resulting in file corruption.
  • Install the licensed version of antivirus program in the system. PST files are installed on the local machine. Hence, it is no big deal if the PST file is corrupted due to virus present in the local system.
  • Take the backup of PST files regularly. By doing this, the data of the file can be recovered even if the original file gets corrupted.

Methods to Repair a PST File

There are three methods to fix any corrupted PST file. These are:

  • Using inbuilt inbox repair tool
  • Using Backup File
  • Using the third-party tool

Let us study about each method in detail

Method 1: Using Inbuilt Inbox Repair Tool

To fix corrupted Outlook data file, a user needs to follow given set of instructions:

  1. Exit the Microsoft Outlook application, and navigate to C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files (x86) depending upon whether you are using the 32-bit operating system or 64-bit.
  2. In the search box, type scanpst.exe. If you are unable to find the location of scanpst.exe, try searching in the following locations based upon the version you are using:

In Outlook 2007: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office 12

In Outlook 2010: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office 14

In Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office 15

In Outlook 2016: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office 16

  1. Open scanpst.exe
  2. Enter the name of the PST file you want to scan in the box. The tool will check the file. Or you can browse the file directly. Click on Start to begin the repairing of PST file.
  3. If the tool finds any error, they need to be fixed by clicking on

Note: A backup file is created when the tool scans any corrupted file. The location of this backup file can be changed according to the need of the user.

  1. Once the file is repaired, start the Outlook application with the PST file you repaired

Other Outlook Folders

There are other folders too that contain the data recovered from the corrupted PST files. These are Recovered Personal Folders and Lost and Found folder. Lost and Found contains those recovered items that MS Outlook cannot put into original structure.

Create New PST File

You have to create a new Outlook PST file and drag the recovered items here. All the retrieved items present in lost and found folders and recovered personal folders(.pst) file are dragged and dropped in the newly created PST file

Method 2: Recovering Items From Backup File Created

If you are able to open the original PST file, then you can recover more data items from the corrupted PST file. While scanning the PST file, inbox repair tool creates a backup file with the same file name as the original, but extension as .bak. There are chances that some of the items that could not be recovered from inbox repair tool can be retrieved from the backup file created. To repair PST 2013, follow the given set of instructions:

  1. Navigate to the folder where the original PST file is stored. Here, you will find the backup file. This backup file is created by inbox repair tool while scanning the PST file.
  2. Replicate this backup file and rename it with bak.pst extension
  3. Import this replicated backup file into MS Outlook. Then, use the Import and Export Wizard to import other items into the required PST.

Method 3: Using Third-Party Tool

To repair a PST file Outlook 2010, users can use an automated method to repair any PST file. This can be done with the help of the third-party tool like Outlook recovery tool. This is the professional solution to fix corrupted PST file. The user interface of the utility is so simple that even a novice user can use it without any issue.

Time To Sum Up

There are many reasons due to which a PST file can get corrupted. The corrupted file can be fixed by the manual and automated approach. The only limitation of the manual method is the files with major corruption cannot be fixed with the help of inbox repair tool. Hence, a third-party tool is also introduced. This is the best answer to how to repair corrupt PST file.

By Peter Baris

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