PST file stands for Personal Storage Table and it consists of a copy of all your Outlook items such as emails, events, contacts, calendar, notes, reminders. PST file is saved on the client’s hard drive. The best thing about a PST file is you can work on it with no internet connection. And sync the changes with the mail exchange once the internet connection is restored.
However, there are various reasons under which a PST file gets corrupted and shows errors like “PST is not a personal folder file” or “The PST file is corrupted and needs to be repaired”. Due to this, Outlook cannot open various folders or you cannot receive or send emails.
How to Fix Outlook PST file?
1. Two proven methods to fix PST file
Method 1: ScanPST tool (Manual solution for Free)
- Steps to repair PST file
- Steps to recover Outlook items
- Steps to recover additional Outlook items
Method 2: Remo Repair PST tool (Highly Recommended Automated Solution)
- Limitation of ScanPST tool
- Unique features of Remo Repair PST tool
- Tips to avoid PST file corruption
If your PST file is corrupt or inaccessible, the first thing to do is to utilize the SCANPST tool. This inbox repair tool, designed to solve all the minor corruption associated with the Outlook data file (.pst) with ease. However, it is recommended to take a backup of your PST file before you start fixing it.
Steps to be followed to fix PST file using ScanPST tool:
- Locate the ScanPST tool on your Windows computer. You can make use of the following ScanPST location 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 SCANPST.EXE by double-clicking on it to start repairing corrupt PST file.
- Click the Browse button and select the corrupt Outlook PST file that you want to repair.
- Click the Start button. Now, the inbox repair tool will start scanning the PST file to find any corruption or error in the Outlook data file (.pst).
- Once the SCANPST tool finds any corruption in the PST file, select Make a backup of scanned file before repairing option to create a backup copy. This will ensure the safety of your corrupt Outlook data file.
- Now, click the Repair button to start fixing PST file corruption.
The major disadvantage of using the ScanPST is you need to run it multiple times to repair PST file. And also it cannot repair the severely corrupted Outlook PST file. During such instances, you can make use of the Remo Repair PST tool.
Utilize Remo Repair PST tool to easily repair PST file with any level of corruption. Remo PST Repair tool works with advanced Outlook data file repairing algorithms to safely repair damaged, corrupt, and inaccessible PST file.
What should I do after fixing PST file using ScanPST file?
Once the ScanPST repairs minor Outlook PST file corruption, open your Microsoft Outlook account (If you use multiple profiles, then open Outlook with the repaired PST file). And follow the steps to access missing or deleted emails, contacts, reminders, and other Outlook folders.
In Folder List, locate the Recovered Personal Folders, a folder that gets created after repairing the PST file. And it contains all your default folders like Calendar, Contacts, Deleted Items, Inbox, Journal, Notes, Outbox, Sent Items, and Tasks.
If you find the above recovered personal folders empty, then look for the Lost and Found folder. It contains all the recovered items. However, the recovered Outlook items cannot be placed in their original structure. To overcome this issue, you can create a new Outlook PST file.
Steps to create a new PST file:
- Open Outlook and go to File > Info.
- Click on Account Settings and then, Account Settings.
- Select the Data Files and click on Add tab.
- In the File Name field, enter the PST file name of your choice.
- Click OK. This will create a new PST file.
Note: Creating a new PST file, will help you import the recovered items from the Lost and Found folder to your desired path. In your new Outlook PST file, you can just drag the recovered Outlook items from Lost and Found or Recovered Personal Folders to your specified location. And later, you can delete the Lost and Found/ Recovered Personal Folders.
What is a backup (.bak) file and how can it help you after repairing PST file?
A .bak file is a backup file created by the SCANPST tool during the PST file repairing process with the same name of the corrupt .pst file under the same location or folder but with a .bak extension. With the help of this backup file, you can recover Outlook items, that cannot be restored even after using the inbox repair tool.
Steps to Recover Additional Outlook items using .bak file
Go to the PST file location or folder > locate .bak file > Make a copy of the .bak file > Rename the .bak file extension to .pst file (for example outlook.bak to Outlook.pst) > Import the .pst file in your Outlook using Import/Export wizard.
Note: In some cases, even this method of recovering Outlook items might not work effectively if the severity of PST file corruption is beyond repair.
Utilize Remo Repair PST a read-only mode software to safely fix corrupted or damaged PST file created on any version of Outlook including Outlook 2019, 2016, and its previous versions. This PST file repair tool takes only a few simple clicks to repair PST file. And it recovers also missing Outlook items such as emails, attachments, contacts, folder structure, rules.
Steps to Repair PST file using Remo Repair Outlook PST tool:
1. Download and install Remo Repair PST Software.
2. Launch the Outlook PST repair tool and select an option from the main screen based on your need and then, 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 browse your corrupt Outlook PST file.
- Find All Your PST Files: If you have more than one PST file in your Windows, then select this option and click Find. Now, the tool will locate all your available PST files. Select the corrupt PST file which you want to repair.
3. Now, click the Smart Scan option. And select a destination of your choice to save your repaired PST file on Windows and click Repair.
4. After the repairing corrupt PST file process completes, check the destination location to view your repaired PST file.
1. Why should you not fix corrupt Outlook PST file using the ScanPST tool?
- Repairing a corrupt PST file manually takes time due to its lengthy process. And in some cases, you need to run the inbox repair tool multiple times to fix the PST file errors.
- ScanPST only fixes issues related to the internal data structures of a .pst file. And it cannot fix the severely corrupted or damaged PST file.
- If ScanPST finds any corruption in the block of a structure during the scanning process, then it removes it. Due to this, you might lose some important emails, events, or notes that were a part of the corrupt or unreadable block of structure.
- ScanPST tool cannot recover the folder structure of the PST file.
2. Why Remo Repair PST tool the best choice to Repair Corrupt PST file?
- Remo Repair PST file can easily repair your corrupt Outlook data file (.pst) of any size with any level of corruption.
- The tool can safely recover deleted Outlook emails, contacts, attachments, calendars, events, notes, etc. including the folder structure and rules.
- It is compatible with all the versions of Outlook such as Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, and its previous versions.
- It can also fix password-protected and encrypted PST files. And allows you to preview the repaired PST file for free.
3. How to Avoid PST file corruption?
- Take a regular backup of your PST file. This avoids the risk of PST file corruption or error. Check out this Remo Outlook Backup and Migrate tool, if you are interested to learn how to backup Outlook using a tool.
- Do not shut down your Windows computer while working on the Microsoft Outlook 2019, 2016, or any version.
- Do not save the PST file on a faulty network drive or server.
- Do not let the PST file size exceed its limit.
- Turn off Microsoft Outlook properly.
- Avoid using irrelevant Outlook add-ins.
- Avoid sudden interruptions while working on the 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.