Repair Outlook data files (.pst and .ost)

If you can't open your Personal Folders file (.pst) (Personal Folders file (.pst): Data file that stores your messages and other items on your computer. You can assign a .pst file to be the default delivery location for e-mail messages. You can use a .pst to organize and back up items for safekeeping.) or your Offline Folder file (.ost) (Offline Folder file: The file on your hard disk that contains offline folders. The offline folder file has an .ost extension. You can create it automatically when you set up Outlook or when you first make a folder available offline.), or you suspect that your .pst or .ost data file is corrupt, you can use the Inbox Repair tool (Scanpst.exe), to diagnose and repair errors in the file.

  1. Quit Microsoft Outlook if it's running.
  2. Double-click Scanpst.exe, located at drive:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\LocaleID folder - where LocaleID is the locale identifier (LCID) for the installation of Microsoft Office. The LCID for English - United States is 1033.
  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 look for the file.
  4. To specify scan log options, click Options, and then click the option you want.
  5. Click Start.
  6. When the scanning is completed, and if errors were found, you will be prompted to start the repair process.

To change the name or location of the backup file created during the repair process, in the Enter name of backup file box, enter a new name, or click Browse to look for the file.

  1. Click Repair.
  2. Start Outlook using the profile that contains the .pst file that you tried to repair.
  3. On the Go menu, click Folder List (Folder List: Displays the folders available in your mailbox. To view subfolders, click the plus sign (+) next to the folder. If the Folder List is not visible, on the Go menu, click Folder List.).

In the Folder List, you may see a Recovered Personal Folders folder containing 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 folders and items that the Inbox Repair tool recovered. Items that are missing from the Lost and Found folder cannot be repaired.

  1. If you see a Recovered Personal Folders folder, you can create a new .pst file, and then drag the items in the Lost and Found folder into the new .pst file. When you have finished moving all items, you can remove the Recovered Personal Folders (.pst) file, including the Lost and Found folder, from your profile.

 Notes 

  • If you are able to open the original .pst file, you may be able to recover additional items from your damaged .pst file. By default, the Inbox Repair tool creates a file called file name .bak, which is a copy of the original .pst file with a different extension. The .bak file is located in the same folder as your original .pst file. You may be able to recover items from the .bak file that the Inbox Repair tool could not recover. Make a copy of the .bak file, giving the file a new name with a .pst extension. Import the "bak.pst" file, and then move any additional recovered items to the new .pst file that you created.
  • A copy of the log file is written to the same location as the .pst file.
 
 
Applies to:
Outlook 2003