How to fix Outlook PST cannot be accessed error?

You might be feeling horrible after failing to access your PST file in Outlook 2019, 2016, or any other version. As we all know PST file is a crucial data file to perform any offline task on Outlook. If you are unable to open the PST file in Outlook, then you cannot access your emails, attachments, contacts, reminders, events, or any other Outlook items.  

If you have encountered any error messages such as Outlook can't open your PST file, Outlook can't open the set of folders, or PST file is damaged. Do not worry! Because these Outlook errors can be resolved easily and you might be able to access your Outlook data.  

Here is a beginner’s guide on how to fix Outlook PST cannot be accessed error. Before you make use of any of the proven hacks to fix this issue, let’s first understand why Outlook fails to open the PST file.

Why Outlook cannot open PST file?

  1. PST file is corrupt, damaged, or lost.
  2. PST file has crossed the maximum limit.
  3. Interruptions like sudden computer shutdown.   
  4. Windows hard drive is malware-infected or crashed. 
  5. Microsoft Outlook application is crashed. 
  6. PST file is already in use i.e., running in the background.
  7. Outlook is conflicting with incompatible Add-ins.
  8. Using an improper method to import a PST file. 

Note: Check out this article if you are interested to learn how to open or import PST file in Outlook using the reliable technique.

Methods to fix PST file cannot be accessed in Outlook 

1. Start Outlook in Safe mode:

Whenever you encounter the PST file cannot be opened error, then open Outlook in the Safe mode. This way you can resolve any Microsoft Outlook error caused due to the conflict between Outlook and other applications installed on your Windows. 

  • Right-click on the Windows Start button located at the bottom left corner of the screen.
  • Select the Run option.
  • In the Open box, type Outlook.exe /safe and click OK.
    Start Outlook in Safe mode

2. Disable Add-ins:

If opening Outlook in safe mode is unable to fix the PST file cannot be accessed error, then the problem might be related to the incompatible add-ins. Therefore, you need to disable add-ins that are stopping Outlook to import the PST file successfully.

  • In Outlook, click on the File tab and select the Options.
    Select Options in Outlook

  • Go to the Add-ins section and disable all Add-ins.
    Disable add-ins to access PST file
  • Now, open your Outlook again and start enabling add-ins one at a time. This is to find the add-in that is stopping the Outlook PST file to open.

3. Use ScanPST tool:

When your PST file is corrupt, you cannot access emails or any other Outlook data. Under any minor PST file corruption, you can use the ScanPST tool which is an inbuilt tool provided by Microsoft Outlook. This tool can easily fix various errors such as cannot start Microsoft Outlook or Send/Receive error. However, if you are looking to fix a severely corrupted PST file, then scroll down to the below method.

  1. Exit from Outlook and locate the ScanPST tool.
    Follow the below ScanPST path depending 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
  2. Open the SCANPST application on your Windows to fix PST file cannot be opened error.
    Open SCANPST tool to fix PST file cannot be accessed error
  3. Click the Browse option and select the PST file that is not opening in Outlook.
    locate Outlook PST file that cannot be opened
    Note: By default, a new log file is created during the PST file repairing process. So click the Options button and select No log or you can select Append to log and click OK.
    New log file automatically gets created
  4. Click the Start button to initiate the scanning process. Choose the Repair option if the ScanPST tool finds any issue that is causing PST file to not open in Outlook.
    start fixing PST file cannot be accessed
    Note: If you select the Make a backup of scanned file before repairing, the inbuilt repair tool creates a backup Outlook data file. This is to ensure no further damage is made to your PST file that is not opening. To change the default backup file name, provide a new name in the Enter name of backup file field.

Fixing this error when the PST file is severely corrupted is challenging using the ScanPST tool. During such a time, make use of any reliable Outlook PST repair software like Remo Repair PST.

4. Remo PST Repair:

Make use of Remo Repair PST, a recognized tool with more than 10 million downloads to fix various PST file errors. This tool works with advanced Outlook data file repairing algorithms to repair severely corrupted or damaged PST file created on any version of Outlook. Such as Outlook 2019, 2016, and many more. Download this tool on your Windows to fix PST file not opening error with ease.


  1. Download and install Remo Repair PST software to fix PST file cannot be opened error.
  2. Launch the tool and select an option based on your need and click Next.
    1. Open Default PST File: Select this option if the corrupt PST file is located in the defined location.
    2. Select PST File Manually: Select this option if you want to manually locate your PST file not opening.
    3. 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.
      Fix Outlook PST cannot be opened using Remo Repair PST tool
  3. Click the Smart Scan option and select a destination of your choice to save your Repaired PST file on your Windows and click Repair.
  4. After the Outlook PST file cannot be opened is repaired by the software, check the destination path to view your repaired Outlook PST file.

Note: You can check this FAQ page answering how to fix Outlook PST not opening even after repairing the PST file for free.

How to fix Outlook PST cannot be accessed error? was last modified: September 13th, 2021 by Tony Landry

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