How to deal with a corrupt PST file of Microsoft Outlook?

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In these days email has become an important part of an individual and an organization. It enables users to send and receive messages through an electronic medium. A wide range of email applications and programs are available, which are mainly used for mailing purposes. Microsoft is a well-known brand name that provides best and effective software applications. For this mailing purpose it has designed Outlook, a popular email application that is available as a part of Microsoft Office suite as well as a separate application. MS Outlook is also known as a personal information manager and it is popularly used as an email application. Other than this, it includes multiple features like: calendar, task manager, contact manager, note taking, journal and web browsing.

MS Outlook uses an Outlook data file, known as PST or Personal Storage Table, to store all the email messages and other mailbox items. There are two types of Outlook PST files: ANSI PST and Unicode PST. ANSI is the default file format of MS Outlook 2002 and its previous versions. An ANSI file can only store data up to 2 GB and can only be opened in the older versions of MS Outlook. While Unicode is the default file format of MS Outlook 2003 and its later versions. A Unicode file can store data up to 20 GB and in MS Outlook 2010 it can store up to 50 GB of data. These are the size-limitations which are found in Outlook PST files. A PST file can easily cross its size-limit by receiving unlimited emails along with heavy attachments. If a PST file crosses the size-limitation, an unwanted situation like corruption can be occurred. An oversized PST file is always prone to corruption. Once a PST file becomes corrupted it cannot be opened in MS Outlook. An oversized PST file does not cause only corruption, but also cause some other serious problems. MS Outlook application may hang while opening an oversized PST file or an Outlook user may experience poor performance. The main reason behind this abnormal behavior of MS Outlook is an oversized PST file. This abnormal behavior can be easily overcome by breaking an oversized PST file into multiple smaller parts. Click here to know “how to break or divide an oversized PST file into multiple parts”. By breaking an oversized PST file, situation of corruption can be avoided and MS Outlook will run faster. Other than this there is one more solution for this situation. If an oversized PST file gets compressed, then it will become small in size. But a safe and effective way must be chosen to compress an oversized PST file. Click here to know “how to safely compress an oversized PST file”. But if the PST files have become already corrupted before breaking them into smaller parts, then there is only one solution left. A corrupt PST file must be repaired, otherwise, it cannot be opened in MS Outlook and all the crucial data stored inside it will be lost forever.

A PST file cannot only be corrupted due to oversize, but also it can be corrupted due to several reasons. Some of the common reasons behind its corruption are: virus attacks, hard drive failure or storage media malfunction, sudden system shutdown, unexpected cancellation of MS Outlook, etc. Due to all these reasons a PST file becomes inaccessible.

Microsoft Outlook provides a built-in repair function, which is used to repair corrupt PST files. It is an Inbox Repair tool of MS Outlook and commonly known as SCANPST.EXE. This file is installed at the time of MS Office or MS Outlook installation and it can be found in these locations according to MS Outlook versions:

  1. In MS Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15
  2. In MS Outlook 2010: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14
  3. In MS Outlook 2007: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12
  4. In MS Outlook 2003: C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\<locale ID>
  5. In MS Outlook 2002/XP: C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MAPI\<locale ID>\scanpst.exe
  6. In MS Outlook 2000: C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MAPI\<locale ID>\NT\scanpst.exe
  7. In MS Outlook 97/98: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Windows Messaging\scanpst.exe

To repair a corrupt PST file by using SCANPST.EXE, first go to the location according to MS Outlook version shown above. Make sure the MS Outlook program is not running on the system, i.e. it is closed. Once the SCANPST.EXE file will be found, the following steps are required:

1. Go to the location where SCANPST.EXE file is saved.

2. Double-click SCANPST.EXE.

3. A short window Microsoft Outlook Inbox Repair Tool will pop up


4. Now click on Browse to select corrupt PST file from the system directory.

5. A new window Select File To Scan will pop up. Select corrupt PST file.


6. Selected PST file will be shown on the edit box. Now click on Start to start the scanning process.


7. SCANPST.EXE will start scanning the corrupt PST file.


8. Within a few seconds the file will be scanned. All the errors and issues will be shown here, if found.


9. The box “Make backup of scanned file before repairing” is checked by default. You may also uncheck it. Now click on Repair button to repair the scanned PST file.

10. It will take a just a couple of minutes to repair the file. Once the file will be repaired this message will take place.


Usually SCANPST.EXE successfully works with corrupt PST files. But sometimes it may fail to fix this corruption issues if files are severely corrupted. SCANPST.EXE is very useful to fix minor issues from corrupt PST files. Or sometimes it may happen that SCANPST.EXE does not show any corruption issue or errors but when the same PST file is trying to be opened in MS Outlook, MS Outlook complains and fails to open the file. This means the PST file is severely corrupted therefore, SCANPST.EXE has failed to fix it.

In such critical situation a powerful and advanced third-party PST Repair software application is required. The PST File Repair software of SysInfoTools is the most efficient and affordable recovery software for Outlook PST files. It works effectively with high-level of PST corruption and ensures users maximum possible recovery from corrupt PST files. The software consists of variety of advanced features which are not available in other PST Repair software. To know more about this software, please visit SysInfoTools’ website and download the free demo version of this software.