3 Methods to Resolve PST Corruption

Summary: A corrupted PST file can be caused due to hardware and software issues and can have many negative outcomes. Explore the 3 effective methods to quickly resolve

PST corruption. Additionally, find tips to prevent this corruption.

Just like a recipe is incomplete without its ingredients, Outlook becomes irrelevant without PST files. PST files are a personal storage table that is utilized by MS Outlook to store the user’s information, like emails, calendar entries, and contacts. They hold all this data to shift it from being stored on email servers and reduce its burden. It is safe to say that PST files are the soul of a user’s Outlook. And if that gets corrupt, then you have a big problem to deal with. If you are looking for methods to resolve PST corruption, then you have landed at the right place. In this article, we delve into this issue and explore all its possible causes, consequences, and methods.

What Causes Corruption in PST Files?

Before proceeding directly to the solutions, it is better to understand the causes behind PST corruption. This will help you to be careful and avoid making mistakes while dealing with PSTs. All the causes are broadly categorized into hardware and software reasons and are explained in detail below

Hardware-Related Causes
Experiencing failures of the hardware devices where PST is being stored, networking device which is being used to transfer PST data, or a power outage can have a direct impact on the health of the file.

  • Storage Device Failures
    If the device where you keep your PST files gets corrupted, it directly impacts all your PSTs. In addition, bad sectors of a hard drive are one of the most common reasons.
  • Faulty Network Device
    If you store your files on a network server, the problems with its interface card, cable, router, and other related devices can corrupt PST.
  • Power Failure
    When a power failure or a sudden system shutdown occurs while Outlook synchronizes a file or you are accessing a PST, that file will definitely get damaged.

Software Related Causes

Problems generated due to software issues directly leave harmful footprints on your PST files. Some of the common software-related reasons resulting in PST corruption are

  • Virus Attack
    Operating without a good anti-virus software is like exposing the system to all kinds of virus attacks and other malicious activities.
  • Abrupt System & Outlook Shutdown
    An improper or sudden system shutdown will lead to several Outlook errors, including PST corruption. In addition, an abnormal Outlook shutdown also leaves a negative effect on its files.
  • Oversized PST
    Outlook has set the maximum size limit for a PST file as 50 GB or 20GB, depending upon the Outlook version you are using. Once you surpass this limit, Outlook will start freezing and crashing, which makes its files prone to damage.

How to Resolve PST Corruption?

There are limited methods to resolve PST corruption. The ideal one is to restore the files from the backup, but only if you have it. In addition, you can rely on the Inbox Repair tool for minor corruption issues and make the most of an automated tool for major ones. The details of all are discussed below

Recover From Backup:
All tech experts recommend taking a backup of at least the essential data since it comes in handy in situations like these where PST is severely corrupted. If you have the wise habit of taking a backup of your Outlook data from time to time, you can quickly recover your PST files without any trouble.

Repair Using Inbox Repair Tool (SCANPST):
Microsoft is a giant due to the fantastic facilities it provides. Even to help in this scenario, there is an in-built utility known as the Inbox Repair tool (ScanPST), which is capable of diagnosing and further repairing Outlook files, including PST.

The Inbox Repair tool works seamlessly if you are facing any of these errors

  • Outlook can’t open your data file.
  • Outlook can’t open the set of folders.
  • Outlook data file may be damaged.

Follow the steps mentioned below to repair your corrupted PST file using the Inbox Repair tool

  1. To begin with, exit MS Outlook and to find the corrupted PST, browse to this location depending on your Outlook version.
    • Outlook 2019:  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
    • Outlook 2007: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12
  2. Open SCANPST.
  3. Click on Browse to choose the data file which you want to scan.
  4. Then, select Start to proceed with the repairing process.
  5. Once the repair is successfully completed, launch Outlook using the profile which is related to this newly repaired PST file.

Limitations of ScanPST.exe
Since this is a free tool, its scope is limited. It is ideal for handling minor PST errors. It sometimes fails to repair large-sized PSTs or even severely corrupted ones. To repair such files, you need to opt for professional software.

Repair using third-party software
The scope of third-party software is endless and goes beyond the Inbox Repair Tool. Such software is professionally and explicitly built to deal with complex corruption and damage and can repair PST files within a matter of quick minutes.

How to prevent PST from getting corrupt?

The good health of your PST files is in your own hands, and you can adhere to the below-mentioned measures to stay miles away from any kind of corruption-

  • Take Regular Backup
    A wise habit that every professional must adopt is taking a backup of all essential files, including PSTs, at regular intervals without fail. This ensures rapid recovery and prevents loss of data.
  • Don’t Overburden PST
    PST files have a maximum limit; once it exceeds, the risk of corruption increases substantially. To avoid this, keep a check on its size and archive old Outlook emails and other data.
  • Install Anti-Virus Software
    The first and foremost step to avoid virus attacks is to install powerful anti-virus software. In addition, you can run regular in-depth scans to identify potential threats and tackle them at early stages to prevent permanent damage.
  • Regularly Update Outlook
    Updates in any platform are brought in to fix bugs and security issues, and Outlook also comes up with updates regularly. Make sure to keep it up-to-date and install the latest available version.
  • Proper System & Outlook Shutdown
    Instead of abruptly closing Outlook and shutting down your system, it is recommended to close them properly.


PST corruption can turn into a frustrating experience for any user since it can lead to reduced Outlook performance and loss of crucial data. However, you can resolve PST corruption by restoring it directly from the taken backup, repairing files using the free utility by Microsoft called Inbox Repair tool, or using professional PST repair software to fix it. You can choose your preferred method, depending on the level of corruption you are dealing with. All three have been discussed at length in the above article.

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About Olaf Burch

Olaf works as a senior technology editor at Data Repair Tools. Fascinated by technology, he has more than 8 years of experience in the fields of data recovery, IoT, artificial intelligence and robotics. He enjoys the search and provision of DIY solutions to solve Windows technical problems. In spare time, he likes reading novels, and poetry. He also loves travel, rafting, trekking and so on.

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