How to Recover Corrupt OST Files

by Andy Wosko | On January 18, 2020 | Under Email Migration

Recover OST File

Microsoft has developed some of the leading business-friendly applications which are ruling the market today. Whether it is the Windows platform, the office 365 services, or its Azure cloud service. These all are some of the leading brands in their arena, and it has made Microsoft the business leader in the software world. But there is a one product that is most well-known among the user whether they are normal student, a professional or business owner. It is a Microsoft Office suite on which we write our documents, create our PowerPoint presentations, and develop our Spreadsheets and manage our emails on Outlook. if you are using Outlook then you may be aware that it works even when you are offline. It saves your emails in the Outbox and when it is connected to the internet then the mail is composed further.


MS Outlook also gives you a sufficient number of features that empower you to manage your professional business email ID in an efficient and trusted manner. Because Outlook operates even in the offline mode, so it requires two data files to save the data. The primary one is PST and the other one is OST. The OST file is the replica of PST file and the work which you perform in the Offline mode is directly put in the OST file. Because both OST and PST files are present in your computer system, So, they are equally vulnerable to the external threats like any other normal files. The external threat may be a hardware failure that corrupts the files beyond recovery and the software failure where the Outlook faces some errors that make the emails inaccessible.


In a broader category, we can get an unwanted corruption in the OST file due to the following reasons:


1.  Abrupt computer system shutdown


If you had pressed the shutdown button on the computer, but did not wait for enough to let it complete the shutdown process, then some of the applications may remain-in the cliffhanger. Next time, these applications may not open and Outlook may be one of them.


2. OST file size limitation


You cannot put unlimited data in the OST file, but there is a limitation for it. In the UNICODE-PST file you can save up to 50 GB of data and in the ANSI-PST file you can save up to 2 GB of data. But, you should not wait to overflow the size limitation and create a new OST file. Sometimes, a large OST file may create problems for you.


3. Poor Internet connection


A proper internet connection is required to synchronize the data from OST file to PST and a poor connection will play the spoilsport and synchronize the data badly. It may not only modify or corrupt the data but delete it also.


4. Hard-drive failure


A hard drive of your computer may face any crash or corruption in a sector where the OST file was residing and delete the whole file. The hard-drive may get affected due to both hardware and software failures and sectors get corrupt beyond repair.


5. Abrupt Outlook shutdown


Apart from an improper system shutdown, the OST file may be corrupt due to the improper shutdown of an Outlook application. When an application is terminated in the midway, then not only it affects the applications but the files associated with it. So, it can also corrupt the OST file.


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Now, when you have learnt about the various possible reasons behind the corruption of OST file, you should also learn about the different methods which can retrieve the data back to you. Let’s check some of the important ones:


Method 1. Use the inbuilt scanpst.exe tool


Earlier, there was a scanost.exe tool present in the Outlook till the 2010 version. Because in the newer versions, you can use the scanpst.exe tool to scan a corrupt OST file also. You can find the tool at the following locations:


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


Step-1: Here, search and open the scanpst tool and Browse the corrupt OST file of your account.

Step-2: Click the Start button to scan the file and the tool will check for possible errors. If it finds any error, then click the Repair button.

Step-3: After repairing the OST file, start the Outlook again with your account and see if it works properly.


Method 2.  Start Outlook in the safe mode


Generally, the businesses use different external add-ins in the Outlook to perform some specific tasks. For example, a grammar checker, PDF creator, XML creator, etc. These add-ins may stop your account from opening, and in such cases, you can opt to start Outlook in the safe mode. Go to run and input the following command;


It will open the Outlook in safe mode.


Method 3. Use the Upload folder method


Follow the upcoming steps:


Step-1: Go to the OST file folder, right-click it and select Properties.
Step-2: Click the option ‘clear offline Items.’ Click OK.
Step-3: Go to the Outlook home page and click the Send/Receive option.
Step-4: Finally, click the Update Folder to save all the changes.

Now, go and check the OST file data.


Method 4. Disable the anti-virus software and firewall


Sometimes, the anti-virus software runs a scan and deletes such files, which are problematic, and a corrupt OST file may be one of them. So, to save the OST file, you need to disable the anti-virus software and the firewall.


Method 5. Delete the OST file and recreate a new one


It is the last manual technique that you may use when other techniques do not recover the data from a corrupt OST file. When you delete an OST file and then restart the software, then it creates a new OST file automatically. But it will not have the data from the previous OST file.

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