A User-Friendly Guide to Fixing PST File Corruption in Outlook

Crafted for the everyday user, this guide aims to simplify the complex world of PST file corruption, empowering you with the know-how to regain access to your valuable emails and data.


If you’re an Outlook user, chances are you’ve heard of Personal Storage Table files or PST files. But what happens when these files become corrupted? This article is here to guide you through understanding what PST files are, how they can get corrupted, and, most importantly, how to fix them even if you don’t possess technical expertise.

What is a PST File?

A PST file is essentially a data file used by Microsoft Outlook to store your emails, attachments, contacts, and calendar entries. Think of it as a storage box where all your Outlook data is packed in.

Why Does PST File Corruption Happen?

PST file corruption can be likened to a lock on that storage box getting jammed. This can occur due to various reasons:

  • Large PST Files: Older versions of Outlook have a size limit on PST files, and when it exceeds, corruption may occur.
  • Improper Shutdowns: If your computer shuts down suddenly while Outlook is running, it can result in a PST file corruption.
  • Virus Attacks: Harmful software can corrupt files, including PST files.
  • Software Errors: Sometimes, errors within Outlook itself can cause corruption.

Detecting PST File Corruption

If you’re unable to open Outlook, or if you’re encountering errors when trying to access your emails, there’s a chance that your PST file might be corrupted.

Fixing PST File Corruption: A Step-by-Step Guide

Let’s dive into the steps you can take to fix this issue. Don’t worry; we’re keeping it simple.

Step 1: Locate the PST File

First, you need to find where the PST file is saved on your computer.

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. Go to File > Account Settings > Account Settings.
  3. Click on the Data Files tab.
  4. Note down the file path under ‘Location’.

Step 2: Use the Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe)

Microsoft provides a built-in tool called the Inbox Repair Tool. This tool can be used to repair PST files.

  1. Close Outlook.
  2. Go to the Windows search bar and type scanpst.exe.
  3. Open the scanpst.exe application.
  4. Click ‘Browse’ and locate the PST file you found earlier.
  5. Click ‘Start’.
  6. If errors are found, you’ll be prompted to begin the repair process. Click ‘Repair’.

Step 3: Create a New PST File

If the Inbox Repair Tool doesn’t resolve the issue, you can create a new PST file and transfer the data.

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. Go to File > Account Settings > Account Settings.
  3. Click on the Data Files tab.
  4. Click ‘Add’, and create a new PST file.
  5. Set this new PST file as your default.
  6. Drag all the folders from the old PST file to the new one.

Preventing Future PST Corruption

To avoid PST file corruption in the future:

  • Regularly back up your PST files.
  • Keep your computer protected against viruses.
  • Avoid storing too much data in a single PST file.

Final Words

Facing PST file corruption can be a hassle, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. By understanding what PST files are and taking a systematic approach to resolving the issue, you can conquer this challenge. Keep this guide handy and make sure you take steps to prevent future corruption.

Here’s to uninterrupted emailing and efficient data management!

Disclaimer: This article is meant for informational purposes only. Always make sure to back up your data and consult a professional if needed.

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.