Manual Methods to Repair Corrupt PST File

by Andy Wosko | On February 3, 2020 | Under Email Migration

Free methods to repair pst file

While working on Outlook, you may be feeling quite relaxed about the functional aspect of the tool as the number of features are overwhelming. Along with the features, the connectivity with other Microsoft tools is also quite helpful in managing your tasks. The structure of Outlook mailbox looks like a common email manager where there are your emails, contacts, notes, Drafts, Archive, Outbox, Search Folders, etc. You can not only create a Microsoft based account but IMAP account, Office 365 account, a POP account, Google account, etc.


As the importance of the Outlook account is high for a business, you cannot afford to lose its data. The account’s data is saved in the Personal Storage Table (PST) file and it resides in the computer system. Because it is present in the computer, so it is vulnerable to the external threat just like any other computer file. A small corruption can make the whole data inaccessible and you will not be able to open or send your mails.


Thankfully, there are some in-built features within the Outlook environment where you can use the ScanPST tool and scan the PST file for any corruption. Let’s go through some manual methods to repair PST files.


Method 1. Using Inbox Repair Tool


The Inbox Repair Tool is called the ScanPST tool that can check the PST files for the minor errors. The location of the ScanPST tool is different in the multiple variations of Outlook and you can visit the location with the help of the following table:


Default Location Outlook version
C:\Program Files(x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16 Outlook 2016 – 64-bit version
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16 Outlook 2016 – 32-bit version
C:\Program Files(x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16 Outlook 2016 – MSI Based Installation 64-bit version
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16 Outlook 2016 – MSI Based Installation 32-bit version
C:\Program Files(x86)\Microsoft Office 15\root\office15 Outlook 2013 – 64-bit version
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\root\office15 Outlook 2013 – 32-bit version
C:\Program Files(x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15 Outlook 2013 – MSI Based Installation 64-bit version
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15 Outlook 2013 – MSI Based Installation 32-bit version


When you have located the tool, start it and browse the PST file which is either not opening or giving some error while opening. Click the Start button and if the tool finds some error, then you need to click the Repair button further.


How does the ScanPST tool scans the PST file?


Because the PST file is a database file, so its structure consists of B-trees and reference counts. So, the tool checks and verifies the data. If it finds any discrepancy, then it corrects it. But these low-level objects do not have the information about the higher-level objects like messages, journals, contacts etc. That’s why when the tool finds any error which it cannot correct, then it removes the object completely. So, if you run the ScanPST multiple times, then you will find the recovered data changed significantly.



  1. Before starting the ScanPST tool scan, you need to close the Outlook application.
  2. You may need to run the ScanPST tool multiple times as per the severity of the PST file corruption.
  3. The ScanPST tool may not be able to repair the PST file if the corruption is deep. It may even does not recognize the corruption and bring no message after running the scan.


Method 2. Recovery repaired items from the BAK file


There is another method that you can use to retrieve the data back in the Outlook account. As soon as you select any PST file in the ScanPST tool, it creates a backup file of the respective PST file. It consists of the name PSTFile.bak and the location is the same as the PST file. So, you can easily identify and locate it.

Now, if you think you have lost some data due to the ScanPST tool’s scan process, then you can use the BAK file to recover such data. You need to copy the BAK file and paste it to a different location, then rename it with another recognizable name. Now follow the below steps:


Step-1: Start Outlook and click File.





Step-2: Go to Import & Export, then select Import/Export.



Step-3: Choose ‘Import from another program or file.’ Then click Next.


Step-4: Select Outlook data file (PST.) Then click Next.


Step-5: Browse the backup file and choose the option ‘Do not Import duplicates. Click Next.


Step-6: Check the box ‘Include Subfolders.’  You can also choose to use the Filter option to select only the important data. Finally, click Finish.


Whole data will come into your account and you can check for the presence of data that are missing earlier.


Both the above methods are useful and easy-to-follow, but they do not provide any guarantee that they will recover the data from a corrupt PST file for sure. The ScanPST tool can even further delete the data. So, your destination will be a professional tool that is solely designed for the recovery of Outlook PST file. The benefit of the professional Outlook PST tool is that it can recover the corrupt as well as the deleted items from the PST file.

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