How to Repair Corrupt PST File? Try These 8 Methods

Every email client has a default limit on the size of emails that can be saved. If you are suddenly unable to locate any data in your large .pst file or if it has suddenly become corrupted, then this article is for you. I have tried all these methods mentioned below and have had a 100% success rate so far. The steps are so simple that even an average computer user can follow them without any hiccups. Try them once and get back your lost mailbox items safely!

Follow Steps to Repair Corrupt PST File

1-Scan Using Inbox Repair Tool (Scanpst)

The first thing you need to do is scan your corrupt .pst file using the inbox repair tool (scanpst). But before scanning, make sure to do the following.

1-Close Outlook if it is running.

2-Exit any instances of Outlook or other email clients such as Windows Live Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, etc., if they are running in the background.

3-Delete all files with .tmp extensions from the temporary folders where your email client stores its temporary data such as C:\Windows\Temp and/or C:\Users\<UserName>\AppData\Local\Temp\. If you don’t find these folders, then just skip this step itself since we will be deleting them in a few minutes anyway!

4-Now open Command Prompt and navigate to the location where you have saved scanpst.exe (typically this file should be located in your system drive under the folder Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14 or Office15, where 14 or 15 are your Office version number). Once you have located scanpst.exe, type C:\scanpst.exe without quotes in the Command Prompt and hit Enter. This should launch Scanpst with default parameters.

5-You can now browse to your corrupt .pst file using an easy-to-use File Open dialog box that comes up next. Once you select your Outlook data file, it should start scanning automatically after displaying a progress bar. Make sure not to disturb the progress bar at this stage. It might take anywhere between 5-10 minutes depending on the size of your PST file and computer speed!

6-Once the scan is complete, a new dialog box will ask you to select an email item for preview. In this stage, there are two options:

a- If you have access to all your mailbox folders and they are not password-protected or encrypted, then choose each of the messages from every mailbox folder separately and hit Repair so that Scanpst can recover them successfully. Depending on the number of messages in your .pst file and their sizes, this process might take some time!

b-However, if you have a lot of mail folders or if any of your folders are password protected/encrypted or otherwise inaccessible due to some reason then just go ahead with the second option which says “Let specify where Outlook should look for the files” and hit next. If you want, you can even select an Outlook Data File (.olm) from the list but usually .pst is what we need (see figure below).

7-Once this is done, specify the location where you want to save the repaired file. By default, it selects your user directory under Users\<UserName>. Sometimes, you might not find this path and that’s fine! Just go ahead with whatever works for you and click OK and then Start Repairing & Exit at the bottom of the window.

8-As soon as Scanpst starts repairing the corrupt PST file using its default settings, a new window will pop up asking if Outlook Express should be so that it doesn’t start recreating your default Outlook profile. One of the main reasons for PST corruption is that profiles get corrupt due to which you need to create a new one, but this new window just asks if Outlook Express should remain open or not before Scanpst starts repairing your file. Go ahead and click on Yes.

9-Once this is done, another dialog comes up saying Repair Complete! Click OK and you should be out of Command Prompt now! However, depending on how large your .pst files are and what speed your PC has, it might start flickering a bit as it begins the repairing process all over again because sometimes items can’t be repaired using the default settings especially if they have been badly corrupted.

In such cases, you will see that the progress bar keeps on moving up and down showing 1% progress every few seconds, but this shouldn’t affect the speed of your computer (unless you have a very old PC) or corrupting process. However, it’s best to be patient because something that takes 5-10 minutes to repair can sometimes take just a little more time too!

How the Inbox Repair tool validates and corrects errors

ScanPST for the most part approves and rectifies mistakes in the interior information designs of a .pst record. The .pst document is a data set record. In this way, designs, for example, BTrees and reference counts, are checked and fixed as required. These low-level articles have no information on the upper-level designs, like messages, schedule things, etc, that are based upon them.

Assuming ScanPST discovers that a particular square of the construction or table is incomprehensible or defiled, ScanPST eliminates it. Assuming that square was important for a particular thing in Outlook, the thing will be eliminated when it is approved.

You may not anticipate this way of behaving, yet the expulsion of the thing is fitting given the conditions. Additionally, this particular sort of circumstance is interesting, and it will continuously be placed in the ScanPST log record. At a more significant level, the more apparent changes that you see include envelopes and messages.


Once the entire process is complete, your Outlook data file (.pst) should be fixed! It’s best to take a look at it first by right-clicking on the file and choosing “Properties”. Here you can check out how many items are present in the .pst, their sizes etc. If everything looks okay, go ahead and try opening Outlook first by double-clicking on this newly repaired .pst file. If everything goes well without any errors then you have succeeded!

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