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Free Methods to Repair PST File in Outlook [Working]

There are free methods available to repair PST file in Outlook. You can retrieve the data from corrupt PST files of multiple Outlook versions such as Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007 and 2003.

Free Methods to Repair PST File in Outlook [Working]

Wednesday January 15, 2020,

5 min Read

Loss of data can have a devastating effect on an individual’s workflow. It also hampers the productivity of an organization depending on its importance. When a PST file in Outlook gets corrupted or damaged, not only it causes Outlook to malfunction, but also results in loss of important data. Fortunately, there are methods, both free and paid that can help repair PST file in Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007 and 2003. In this article, we have listed the step by step process to easily overcome the corruption in PST file.

Intro: Personal Storage Table (PST) file is a file format used by Outlook email client to store email messages. In addition to emails, PST files also store contacts, calendars, tasks, notes and other Outlook mailbox items. Several reasons such as large mailbox, network drives, improper Outlook shutdown, etc., leads to corruption in PST file.

Microsoft is aware of this issue and hence provides a tool “Inbox Repair Utility”, also known as “Scanpst.exe” to repair PST file for free. It allows users to restore the contents of PST file in its original form. This is also the way to resolve Outlook error - several of them in a seamless manner.

So, let us start with the free method.

How to Repair PST File in Outlook?

The Inbox repair utility is a hidden file. So users need to enable the viewing of hidden files and folders to locate and use the scanpst tool. To do this, follow the given steps:

  • Click and open This PC folder.
  • Select the View option from menu bar and check the Hidden Items checkbox.
  • Alternatively, user can also go to Control Panel, select Small Icons in View by, then select File Explorer options, click on View tab and choose to Show hidden folders and files.
  • Locate the scanpst.exe file in the location where Office is installed.
  • Users can also search for scanpst file using the search bar.

Note: Run the Inbox Repair Tool multiple times (5-6) until it resolves all the errors found in the PST file.
  1. Once located, double click on the ScanPST.exe file to run it.
  2. Click Browse and select the corrupt / damaged .pst file.
  3. You will find the PST file in one of the following locations:
  4. drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  5. drive:\Users\<username>\Roaming\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  6. drive:\Users\<username>\Documents\Outlook Files
  7. drive:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
  8. Click Start and wait for the tool to scan the .pst file for errors.
  9. If errors are found, click on Repair to repair PST file in Outlook.
  10. Click Ok.

Scanpst Not Working? Try This Approach

Scanpst is not a god-given product. It has its own limitations. There have been several cases where scanpst stops working, freezes and becomes “not responding”. It even generates errors such as “encountered a problem and needs to close”, “unexpected error”, etc. In such cases, an alternative PST repair utility is required. To repair PST file in Outlook and regain access to its important data, users are advised to go for PST repair tool. It overcomes all the limitations of Inbox repair utility including its inability to recover highly corrupted data. So, for a seamless experience while restoring Outlook data items, simply opt for the alternative of free repair tool.

Use the following steps to repair PST files in Outlook (all versions):

  1. Launch the alternative tool and click on the Add File button from the welcome screen.
  2. Now, select the corrupt PST file from the system and choose the preferred option to scan it (Advanced scan recommended).
  3. Click Next.
  4. The tool scans and displays all the recoverable items from the PST file including emails, contacts, calendars, tasks, notes, etc.
  5. Users can select the items to repair and click on the Export Selected option.
  6. Alternatively, a user can directly click on the Export option from the ribbon bar.
  7. In the Export window that appears, select the PST option and browse the location to save the healthy PST file.
  8. Now, click on Advance Settings to apply date filters and choose the optional features of creating single PST file and splitting the PST in smaller size files.
  9. Click Save to apply the settings.
  10. Select Export to save the repaired data in healthy PST file(s).

Some Important Things to Consider for Prevention of Corruption

Normally PST is considered to be pretty conveninet file format being able to store all kinds of mailbox items. However, this very fact also leads to its frequent corruption. Several other factors such as faulty network drivers, corrupt hard disk, improper shutdown of Outlook, even viruses can lead to corruption in Outlook PST file irrespective of its origin. Thus, one must ensure that no such factors arise to safeguard the information kept in the PST file.

  • Always keep a backup of the PST file in some other location. Having frequent copies of your important emails is the best way to counter any sort of corruption and data loss issues. A Backup also ensures that there is no requirement to repair PST file in Outlook application.
  • Another preventive measure can be creation of multiple PST files to divide the data between them. It helps manage the size of PST file that is the premiere cause of its corruption.
  • Antivirus programs also help as long as they do not meddle with the operation of Outlook email client.
  • Ensuring that the hardware used are healthy can also help prevent corruption in Outlook data file.


The PST file of Microsoft Outlook is generally considered to be secure. However, it has its own issues with corruption. Once damaged, a PST file can cause all kinds of errors and become inaccessible to users. It also leads to data loss. Thus, for the purpose of repairing PST file in Outlook, we have defined free methods in this article. In case the free method ceases to work or generates error, an alternative .pst repair utility is also provided. Users can choose any method as per preference.