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Repairing Damaged Outlook Data Files

Posted: 2023-09-07
By: dwirch
Viewed: 71

Filed Under:

Tip, Tutorial, Outlook, Email

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Microsoft Outlook is a trusted email client used by millions worldwide. One of the components that allow it to function so seamlessly is its data file, known as the Personal Folders File (.pst). However, like all digital files, .pst files are not immune to corruption or damage. If your Outlook data file gets compromised, it can lead to various issues like inability to open Outlook, missing emails, or error messages.

Thankfully, Microsoft provides an inbuilt tool called the Inbox Repair Tool (ScanPST.exe) to help users repair their .pst files. Let's walk you through the process.

Locate the ScanPST.exe Tool

The location of the Inbox Repair Tool varies based on your version of Outlook and whether you're using a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows. Here are some common paths:

Version Path
Outlook 2019/Office 365 C:\Program Files (x86)\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\

Once you navigate to the right folder, look for the ScanPST.exe application.

Backup Your Data

Before running the repair tool, ensure you back up your .pst file. The repair process might alter the data file. By default, .pst files are located in C:\Users\Documents\Outlook Files\.

Start the Repair Process

Review the Results

Once the repair is done, you'll receive a report detailing the issues found and the repairs made. Keep a note of this for future reference.

Open Outlook

After the repair, start Outlook using the profile associated with the repaired .pst file. Check if your emails, calendar appointments, and other items are present and intact.

Consider Creating a New PST File (if required)

If the repair tool doesn't solve the problem, consider creating a new .pst file and importing your old data. Here's a quick guide:


Outlook's .pst files, though generally robust, can encounter issues due to factors like abrupt shutdowns, disk errors, or even malware. The good news is, with tools like ScanPST.exe and the right precautions, such issues can often be rectified. Always remember to backup your data regularly to safeguard against unforeseen data loss.

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