An Outlook data file is a PST file that consists of Outlook items such as emails, reminders, events, and calendars saved on the local computer. This Outlook PST file can be used to backup Outlook or transfer Outlook emails from one device or account to another. The major advantage of using Outlook data file (.pst) is you can access all your emails, contacts, or events with no internet connection.
When you encounter an Outlook error saying Outlook data file cannot be opened, then you cannot access your PST file and you also cannot send or receive emails. Most of the users, delete and recreate OST file if they cannot open Outlook data file. However, Outlook cannot open PST file error and cannot be fixed this way if your PST file is actually corrupt or damaged.
Why is my PST file not opening?
You cannot open PST file in many instances, some of the common reasons are as follows;
- PST file is corrupt or damaged
- PST file has crossed the maximum limit
- Due to sudden system shutdown
- Due to Microsoft Outlook errors
- System or Outlook application crash
- PST file already running in the background
How to fix Outlook data file cannot be opened?
Here is a complete guide on how to fix Outlook data files that cannot be opened using the 3 proven hacks. If you have already tried the manual methods or looking for the easiest way to fix corrupt PST file using a PST Repair tool then you can prefer method 3.
- Create a New Profile
- Use ScanPST tool (Recommended)
- Use Remo Repair PST tool ( Highly Recommended)
Method 1: Create a New Outlook Profile
Creating a new Outlook profile eliminates the configuration problems related to the current Outlook data file which cannot be accessed or opened. And using the new profile as the primary Outlook profile helps you fix Outlook data file cannot be opened issue.
- Type Control Panel in the windows search box and Open it.
- Select the Mail option.
- Click on the Show Properties button > Properties > and Data Files
Note: Record the Outlook Data File location
- Go to Control Panel and click the Mail option
- Select the Show Profiles button to locate your Outlook profiles
- Click Add button to add a new Outlook profile.
- In the Profile Name field, provide a name for your new profile and click OK to save it.
- To start setting up your email account with Outlook, select the Manual setup or additional server types option and click Next.
- Select your Outlook account type and click the Next button.
Note: If you have POP or IMAP email account credentials, select the POP or IMAP option and manually configure the Outlook account settings.
- Complete providing information of your email account in the respective fields as shown in the below image. And select the Existing Outlook Data File under Deliver new messages to: and click the Browse button to locate the Outlook data file that you noted earlier.
- Now, finish the email account setup wizard. And follow the below steps to make your new profile the default for Outlook
- Go back to the Control Panel > Mail > Show Properties and select your newly created Outlook profile with Always use this profile and click OK
Method 2 Repair an Outlook data file (.pst) file using the SCANPST.EXE tool
If your PST file is corrupt, then creating a new profile would not help you fix Outlook data file cannot be opened error. Microsoft Outlook offers SCANPST, an inbuilt repair tool to fix corrupt PST file. Using this ScanPST tool you can easily fix and access Outlook data file without any issue.
- Quit Outlook application and start with the following steps to fix cannot open Outlook PST file error
- Locate the ScanPST tool based on your Outlook version:
- Outlook 2019: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
- Outlook 2016: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
- Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15
- Outlook 2010: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14
- Outlook 2007: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12
- Open the SCANPST tool on your Windows to fix Outlook data file cannot be opened error
- Click the Browse button to select the Outlook Data File (.pst) that is not opening
Note: By default, a new log file is created during the Outlook data file repairing process. So click the Options button and select No log or you can select Append to log and click OK
- Select the Start button to begin scanning for Outlook PST file problem
- If the scan finds Outlook cannot open PST file error, choose Repair to fix it
Note: The scan creates a backup Outlook data file during the repair process if you select Make a backup of scanned file before repairing option. To change the default backup file name, enter a new name in the Enter name of backup file field
- After the corrupt Outlook data file is repaired, start or open Outlook using the profile with the Outlook Data File (PST) you just repaired
One of the disadvantages of using ScanPST tool is it cannot repair the severely corrupt PST file. And to access your Outlook data file, you should repair it multiple times using this method.
The best way to repair PST file is by making use of Remo Repair PST software. This tool easily scans and repairs corrupt or damaged Outlook PST file created on any version of Outlook including the latest Outlook 2019.
Method 3: Repair Outlook Data File using Remo Repair PST
Make use of Remo Repair PST to easily fix Outlook data file cannot be opened issue in simple clicks. This user-friendly tool works with advanced Outlook repair algorithms to fix and recover Outlook data items like emails, attachments, contacts, notes, reminders, folder structure, rules, etc. This tool supports repairing of encrypted & password protected PST files.
Steps to Repair Outlook PST file:
- Download and install Remo Repair PST Software to fix Outlook cannot open PST file.
- Launch the tool and select an option based on your need and click Next.
- Open Default PST File: Select this option if the corrupt PST file is located in the defined location.
- Select PST File Manually: Select this option if you want to manually locate your PST file not opening.
- Find All Your PST Files: If you have more than one Outlook profile then, select this option to locate all your PST files. Later, you can select the inaccessible Outlook PST file that needs to be repaired.
- Click the Smart Scan option and select a destination of your choice to save your Repaired PST file on your Windows and click Repair.
- After the Outlook PST file cannot be opened is repaired by the software, check the destination path to view your repaired Outlook PST file.
Tony Landry is a Web Content Editor at Remo Software. He loves to write, edit, and manage content for users trying to troubleshoot and fix problems on Windows, Outlook, storage drives and Cloud storage networks.
He has published more than 200 articles in Remo Software blog. He actively engages in research and problem-solving techniques to consistently generate great web content. Fixing various hardware problems on computer and storage devices along with a great knack for fixing Outlook errors, Tony is also the fun-time IT guy for all his work friends. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and enjoys cycling.