Repair Outlook Data Files (.pst and .ost)

If you cannot open your Outlook Data File (.pst) (Outlook Data File (.pst and .ost): Data file on your computer that contains Outlook messages and other items.), or you suspect that the data file is damaged, you can use the Inbox Repair tool (scanpst.exe) to diagnose and repair errors in the file. The Inbox Repair tool scans only Outlook Data Files (.pst or .ost) on your computer and analyzes the file structure integrity.

If you are using a Microsoft Exchange account and your offline Outlook Data File (.ost) (offline Outlook Data File (.ost): The file on your hard disk that contains a copy of mail messages and Outlook items. The file is synchronized with the information saved on a mail or Exchange server. The offline Outlook Data File has an .ost extension.) is missing items or is not synchronized with the Exchange mailbox, you can re-create the file.

Inbox Repair tool (scanpst.exe)

Scanpst.exe is installed on your computer when you install Microsoft Outlook 2010. The Inbox Repair tool tries to correct any problems by resetting the data file structure and rebuilding the headers for Outlook items. If you are using an Exchange account, the tool does not connect to or analyze the data saved on the Exchange server.

 Important    You must exit Outlook before using the Inbox Repair tool. It is not accessible within Outlook.

  1. Open Windows Explorer and select the drive:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE14 folder.
  2. Double-click Scanpst.exe.
  3. In the Enter the name of the file you want to scan box, enter the name of the .pst or .ost file that you want to check, or click Browse to select the file.
  4. To specify the scan log options, click Options, and then click the option that you want.
  5. Click Start.
  6. If errors are found, you are prompted to start the repair process to fix the errors.

A backup file is created during the repair process. To change the default name or location of this backup file, in the Enter name of backup file box, enter a new name, or click Browse to select the file that you want to use.

  1. Click Repair.
  2. Start Outlook with the profile that contains the .pst file that you tried to repair.
  3. In the Navigation Pane (Navigation Pane: The column on the left side of the Outlook window that includes buttons for the Mail, Calendar, and Tasks views and the folders within each view. Click a folder to show the items in the folder.), click Folder List.

Keyboard shortcut  To open switch to the Folder List, press CTRL+6.

In the Folder List, you might see a folder named Recovered Personal Folders that contains your default Outlook folders or a Lost and Found folder. The recovered folders are usually empty, because this is a rebuilt .pst file. The Lost and Found folder contains the folders and items recovered by the Inbox Repair tool.

You can create an Outlook Data File (.pst), and drag the items in the Lost and Found folder into the new data file. When you have finished moving all the items, you can remove the Recovered Personal Folders (.pst) file, including the Lost and Found folder, from your profile.


 Notes 

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Re-create an offline Outlook Data File (.ost)

Offline Outlook Data Files (.ost) are copies of your Exchange information. It is not necessary to back up this file. You can create a new copy at any time.

  1. Exit Outlook.
  2. In Control Panel, click or double-click Mail.

ShowWhere is Mail in Control Panel?

Mail appears in different Control Panel locations depending upon the version of the Microsoft Windows operating system, Control Panel view selected, and whether a 32- or 64-bit operating system or version of Outlook 2010 is installed.

The easiest way to locate Mail is to open Control Panel in Windows, and then in the Search box at the top of window, type Mail. In Control Panel for Windows XP, type Mail in the Address box.

 Note    The Mail icon appears after Outlook starts for the first time.


The title bar of the Mail Setup dialog box contains the name of the current profile. To select a different existing profile, click Show Profiles, select the profile name, and then click Properties.

  1. On the E-mail tab, select the Exchange account, and then click Change.
  2. Clear the Use Cached Exchange Mode check box.
  3. Click More Settings.
  4. On the Advanced tab, click Offline Folder File Settings.
  5. Click Disable Offline Use, and then in the dialog box that appears, click Yes.

 Note    If you cannot click Disable Offline Use, this indicates the Use Cached Exchange Mode check box was not cleared in step 4. This check box must be cleared.

  1. Again, click Offline Folder File Settings.
  2. Click OK.
  3. In the dialog box that appears, click Yes.
  4. Under Cached Exchange Mode Settings, select the Use Cached Exchange Mode check box.
  5. Click OK, click Next, and then click Finish.
  6. In the Account Settings and Mail Setup dialog boxes, click Close.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2010