Repair PST File by using Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe)

repair PST fileAre you having corruption in your Outlook data files? You may lose your crucial email messages and other mailbox content until you repair PST file. Luckily Microsoft provides you Inbox Repair tool scanpst.exe for scanning corrupt PST file and to repair it. But if it fails due to severe corruption, you should look for a professional recovery solution. Keep reading this blog post to know how to repair PST file via scanpst.exe, the Inbox Repair tool.

In these days, email is 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 management, contact management, note taking, journal and web browsing.

Outlook uses an Outlook data file, known as PST or Personal Storage Table, to store the entire mailbox content. There’re 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 is only supportable by 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 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 its size limitation, corruption takes place for sure.

Common Issues with Outlook PST File

An oversized PST file is always prone to corruption. Once a PST file becomes corrupt, Outlook email client fails to open it. An oversized PST file doesn’t cause only corruption but also cause some other serious problems. Microsoft 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. You can easily overcome this abnormal behavior by splitting PST file into multiple smaller parts. Refer to this post to know how to Easy Way to Split PST File into Multiple Smaller Parts. By breaking an oversized PST file into multiple parts, you can avoid the situation of PST corruption. Also, you can improve Outlook performance.

Other than this, there’s one more solution for this situation. If you compress PST file, it becomes small in size. But you must choose a safe and effective way to compress an oversized PST file. Refer to this post to know how you can Safely Compact PST File using Outlook Compact Feature. But if the PST files have become already corrupted before breaking them into smaller parts, then there’s only one solution left. You must repair the corrupt PST file, otherwise, you can’t open the file in Outlook. In addition to, you may lose all the crucial data stored in the PST file.

Important note

Duplicate items can also increase the size of your PST file. You must remove all the duplicate items from your Outlook mailbox in order to make the files handy and compact in size so that they don’t exceed the maximum size limitation. Refer to this blog post for some useful information Smart Way to Remove Outlook Duplicates with Ease.

PST File Corruption

Though the primary reason for corruption in Outlook PST files is the size limitation, several other reasons can also harm your PST files and make them corrupt. Some of the common reasons are virus attacks, hard drive failure or storage media malfunction, sudden system shutdown, unexpected cancellation of Outlook client, etc.

PST file error message

Whenever PST file shows an error message, the very first thing an Outlook user should try is this:

  • First, go the location where PST files are stored. You can simply locate the PST files by opening Outlook client. Click File tab on the menu > Info > Account Settings > Data Files.
  • Once you locate the PST files, right-click it and go to the Properties.
  • On file properties, select the Compatibility tab. You need to click on it to clear down all the Comparability Mode checkboxes. After that, click Apply and OK.
  • Now you can restart your computer system.

I hope this time you can open the PST file without any error message. If you still you face the error messages, this means PST file is corrupt and you must repair it. Microsoft Outlook provides a built-in repair tool to repair PST file. The Inbox Repair tool of MS Outlook, aka scanpst.exe, can scan corrupt PST file for errors and repair it. You must try scanpst.exe if you’re having corruption in Outlook data files. This file is installed at the time of MS Office or MS Outlook installation. Before you can run it on your system, you need to locate its executable file first.

You can search the exec file in these locations as per your Microsoft Outlook versions:


Inbox repair tool scanpst.exe to repair PST file

To repair PST file by using scanpst.exe, first go to the scanpst.exe location as per shown above. Make sure Outlook client is not running on your system, i.e. you must close it. Now follow these simple steps:

Step 1: First of all, locate scanpst.exe on your system.

scanpst.exe location

Double-click the scanpst.exe utility.

Step 2: The Microsoft Outlook Inbox Repair Tool window will pop up.

Inbox Repair tool (SCANPST.EXE)

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

Step 3: You can see the selected Outlook PST file in the edit box.

Inbox Repair tool (SCANPST.EXE)

Now click Start to start scanning the selected Outlook PST file.

Step 4: The scanning process is being conducted on your system. Please wait until it gets completed successfully.

Inbox Repair tool (SCANPST.EXE)

Step 5: It’ll take a few seconds to scan the PST file. Here you can check all the errors and corruption issues (if found).

Inbox Repair tool (SCANPST.EXE)

Note: You can also create a backup of this scanned file before repairing it. Just check the Make backup of scanned file before repairing box. You may also uncheck it.

Now click on Repair to repair the scanned PST file.

Step 6: You receive a message saying “Repair complete”.

Inbox Repair tool (SCANPST.EXE)

Finally, click OK to confirm it.

Professional Solution to Repair PST File

Usually, scanpst.exe successfully works with corrupt PST file. But sometimes it may fail to fix corruption issues if files are severely corrupt. The Inbox Repair tool scanpst.exe is very useful to fix minor issues from corrupt PST file. Or sometimes it may happen that scanpst.exe doesn’t show any corruption issue or errors. But when you try to open the same PST file Outlook client, it fails to open the file. This means the PST file is severely corrupt since scanpst.exe has failed to fix it.

repair pst file

To compare best professional solution available in the market for corrupt PST files, refer to this post – Top Most PST Repair/Recovery Tools for Outlook Users

In such critical situation, a powerful and advanced third-party PST Repair software application is required. PST Recovery software is the most efficient and affordable solution recommended by Outlook experts and professionals to repair PST file. It works effectively with high-level of Outlook corruption and ensures users maximum possible recovery from corrupt PST file. Any Outlook version you’re using, be it older or newer, this software can effortlessly perform Outlook 2003 recovery, Outlook 2007 recovery, Outlook 2010 recovery and Outlook 2013 recovery with ease. The software consists of a 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.

Why choose professional solution over scanpst.exe? 

Do you want to recover deleted items in Outlook 2010? Generally, Outlook users ask when we have scanpst.exe utility, why we would purchase a professional tool. The answer is pretty simple, scanpst.exe has limited features and can only work if corruption is minor. Below are the few common reasons which make you choose professional software over scanpst.exe.

  • The Inbox Repair tool scanpst.exe can scan PST file and repair it. But it can’t recover deleted email messages and other items from corrupt PST files. Only a professional recovery tool can help you in this.
  • Via scanpst.exe utility, you can only repair PST file. But if you choose PST Repair software, you can recover mailbox content and save them into other file formats, such as DBX, EML, MSG, MBOX and archive (EML, VCF, ICS, and TXT).
  • There’s no recovery mode in scanpst.exe. On the other hand, you’ll get three recovery modes in PST Repair software to handle the different level of corruption.

You can also read this post DBX Repair Manual Trick – Repair Outlook Express Files

Watch the online video tutorial below

42 Replies to “Repair PST File by using Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe)”

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  9. MS Outlook data gets corrupted easily with virus attack, header corruption, software problem. if you file also gets damaged than you can repair it with third party tool. pst repair tool repairs mails, messages, contacts, notes, journals,etc.

  10. Let me thank you for this great topic about recovery. I have tried several times to repair my corrupted Outlook data file without success but your suggestion helped me so!

  11. My pst file is not just corrupted–it disappeared. I have searched for it in the folder in which it should be found, and the folder is empty (even when I “unhide” all files and folders). No files appear when I search for it, either. I have uninstalled and re-installed Office (I’m using 365 on a Windows 7 computer), tried to run Outlook in Safe Mode (it won’t even open). How do I make a new pst file?

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  19. There are two methods by which you can easily repair your corrupt Outlook PST files:

    1. By using the inbuilt utility – Scanpst.exe that is provided by Microsoft outlook

    2. By using a third-party repair tool

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  22. I love the post and tried it but I didn’t get the option to repair on the dialogue. Now what? Can i reinstall outlook? My Outlook crashed when the bloody windows 8 did yet another update. I am so frustrated. I am ready for an Apple product.