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How to Repair a Corrupt Outlook PST File with Scanpst?

At times, you may unable to open Microsoft Outlook as the Outlook PST files are corrupted. Learn how to repair a corrupt outlook PST file with scanpst.

Microsoft Outlook stores all its data in a file called the (Personal Storage Table (PST). A PST file is a personal folders file that contains email messages, tasks, calendar and other user items and it can be saved on your computer. At times, you may find that you are unable to open Microsoft Outlook. This happens if the Outlook PST files gets corrupted or damaged.

How Does Outlook PST File Gets Corrupted

There are many reasons for the archive files of personal folders in Outlook getting damaged. A few possible reasons have been outlined below:

  1. Upgrading Outlook to its higher versions may corrupt existing PST file at times.
  2. Unknown virus attacks can also damage the PST files making its data inaccessible.
  3. Terminating MS Outlook application abruptly can also corrupt your Outlook PST file.
  4. Re-installation of Operating System can also corrupt PST file.
  5. If the size of the PST file exceeds the size of 2 GB then it is prone to getting corrupted.(Applicable to Outlook 2002 and its prior versions only).

About File Size Limit of PST Files in Different Versions of Outlook

NOTE: The maximum file size of a PST file is different for different versions of Outlook. The default .pst file size limit for different versions of Outlook is as mentioned below:

  • Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2010: PST/OST files use the Unicode format and have the maximum limit of 50 GB.
  • Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2003: PST/OST Files have the maximum limit of 20 GB.
  • Outlook 2000 or Earlier: PST/OST files use the ANSI format and have the maximum limit of 2 GB.

Repairing Your Corrupted Outlook PST File with Scanpst

Scanpst.exe or the Inbox Repair tool is installed by default on your computer when you install Microsoft Outlook. It tries to correct any problems by resetting the data file structure and rebuilding the headers for Outlook items. However, there is no short cut to it. You will have to navigate all the way to the Program Files to locate the same within the Outlook folder. If you are using an Exchange account, the tool does not connect to or analyze the data saved on the Exchange server.

Locating scanpst.exe for Your Outlook Version

The location of scanpst.exe depends on the version of Outlook installed by you and whether or not you are using a 64-bit version of Windows. You can find an overview of the default locations of scanpst.exe in different versions of Outlook below.

Outlook 2013
  • 32-bit Windows: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15
  • 64-bit Windows: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15
  • 64-bit Outlook: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15
  • Click-to-Run: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\root\office15
Outlook 2010
  • 32-bit Windows: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14
  • 64-bit Windows: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14
  • 64-bit Outlook : C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14
Outlook 2007
  • 32-bit Windows: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12
  • 64-bit Windows: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12
Outlook 2003
  • 32-bit Windows: C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\ \
  • 64-bit Windows: C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\ \
Outlook 2002/XP
  • C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MAPI\ \

NOTE: When using 2002/XP or 2003, the location also depends on your installed language of Office; . For instance, for the US English version this is 1033.

Starting the Scanning Process

Note: You must exit Outlook before using the Inbox Repair tool as it is not accessible within Outlook.

After you locate the 'Scanpst.exe', as shown in Figure 1, double-click it.

Figure 1
Figure 1

Upon doing so you shall find a screen as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2
Figure 2

In the 'Enter the name of the file you want to scan' box, enter the name of the .pst or .ost file that you want to check, or click on Browse to select the file as shown in Figure 2.

To specify the scan log options, click 'Options', and then click the option that you want, as shown in Figure 2.

Then click on 'Start'. The scanning process will then start as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3
Figure 3

If errors are found, you are prompted to start the repair process to fix the errors as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4
Figure 4

Note: A backup file is created during the repair process. To change the default name or location of this backup file, in the 'Enter name of backup file' box, enter a new name, or click 'Browse' to select the file that you want to use.

Click 'Repair' as shown in Figure 4. If everything goes correctly, you will get the 'Repair complete' message as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5
Figure 5

You can then press 'OK' to close it as shown in Figure 5 and start Outlook with the profile that contains the .pst file that you tried to repair.

Then in the Navigation Pane, click 'Folder List'.
Note: Keyboard shortcut to open 'Folder List' is 'CTRL+6'

In the 'Folder List', you might see a folder named 'Recovered Personal Folders' that contains your default Outlook folders or a 'Lost and Found' folder. The recovered folders are usually empty, because this is a rebuilt .pst file. The 'Lost and Found' folder contains the folders and items recovered by the Inbox Repair tool.

You can create an Outlook Data File (.pst), and drag the items in the 'Lost and Found' folder into the new data file. When you have finished moving all the items, you can remove the 'Recovered Personal Folders' (.pst) file, including the 'Lost and Found' folder, from your profile.
Note: If you are able to open the original Outlook Data File (.pst), you may be able to recover additional items from your damaged .pst file. By default, the Inbox Repair tool creates a file with the same name, but with the file extension of .bak. The .bak file is located in the same folder as your original .pst file. You may be able to recover items from the .bak file that the Inbox Repair tool could not recover. Make a copy of the .bak file, and give the file a new name with a .pst extension, such as bak.pst. Import the bak.pst file, and then move any additional recovered items to the new .pst file that you created. A copy of the log file is saved to the same folder as the .pst file.

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