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PST File Repair

To fix corrupted PST files, you can use the Inbox Repair Tool. This free built in tool in Outlook often times does repair corrupt PST Files. It works by repairing the PST file’s header and then deleting anything in the file that it doesn’t understand. So if a PST file’s header is damaged, as may be the case for corruption that occurs during a version upgrade, the tool should have no trouble making the repair. But if the data within the file is corrupt, the Inbox Repair Tool will likely destroy what’s left of the file. Not to worry. You should always make a backup of the PST file before you run the Inbox repair tool. Also when using the tool it will give you an option to backup the PST file as well. You should choose that option.

Before atempting to recover any corrupt file always make a backup first. We also do recommend the pst repair program on the right. Yes it does cost money but it works very well and has saved my rear a few times.

pst repair

Free PST Repair Method

Before you break down and purchase any software you should check and see if the free built in pst file repair tool called scanpst.exe will fix your corrupt pst file. This is a great tool and when the file is only dammaged in the headers it will work. Be sure to backup your PST file first. Read our How to Backup PST file Guide --> how to backup a pst file

The Inbox Repair Tool is located in the C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\Mapi\1033\ directory of any system that’s running Windows 2000, Windows XP our Windows Vista. The tool’s filename is Scanpst.exe. If you can not locate the file then do a search for Scanpst.exe. The 1033\ directory is not always the same but it will be close. You can also download it from here and stick it in the above folder..

Your PST file might be located in the following directories.

Windows vista: c:\users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

Windows XP and Windows 2000: C:\documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

username: reffers to your actual user account name on your computer.

If this free tool fails then you are not yet out of luck. Thankfully there are other tools you can use as well. Download this PST File Repair Tool. It's a great tool that almost always can repair the corrupt PST file. The nice part about this bad boy is you can use the tool for free to see if it can repair the corrupt pst file before you make the purchase. Nothing worse then buying something just to find out it does not work.

Watch our How to Repair a PST file Video using the free scanpst.exe program

If you get the error message " This application has failed to start because MSMAPI32.dll was not found. Re-installing the application may fix this problem" That normally means that the scanpst.exe program is not in the correct folder. double check to make sure it is in the C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\1033 folder.

If you get the error code "fatalError: 800400900" Then you are most likely using Outlook version 98, 2k, or 2002 and your pst file is over the 2GB max. Check out our Outlook is over 2G guide.

WHAT if the FREE tool does not work.

I have been there many times before. The solution is to download This PST File Repair Software. Yes it does cost a good chunk of change but I have used it plenty of times on clients computers and it gets the job done right.

A few of the other guides on this site such as how to backup your pst files and contacts.

Repairing PST Files

Here is another more indepth guide we though we should add to the main home page. It is basically the exact same as above but laid out a little different so you may find this easier to follow. This method is the free method to repair your PST file. If this method does not work for you then we recommend downloading and installing this PST Repair Software. However try the free method first.

STEP 1. BACKUP your current pst file to ensure no futher damage is done. You do not want to make matters worse. See our Backup Outlook guide.

To begin repairing Outlook PST files, the first thing you need to do is to set the option to show hidden files. This can be done in Windows XP by following the steps outlined below:

  1. Start Windows Explorer.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
  3. Click the View tab.
  4. Under Hidden files and folders, click Show hidden files and folders, and then click the OK button.

To show hidden files and folders in Windows Vista and 7, do the following:

  • Go to the Control Panel.
  • Click Appearance and Personalization.
  • Click Folder Options.
  • Click the View tab.
  • Under Advanced Settings, click Show hidden files and folders, and then click OK.

The next step is to make use of the Inbox Repair tool provided by Microsoft Outlook to repair your inbox and restore your corrupt PST file. But first you need to find your Outlook PST file. For this, complete the following steps:
In Windows XP:

  • Click Start, and then click Run.
  • Type control in the Open box, and then press ENTER.
  • If you see the Pick a category view, click User Accounts
  • Double-click Mail.
  • Click Data Files.
  • Click Personal Folders, and then click Settings.
  • Note the text in the Filename box.
  • Click OK, and then click Close two times.

In Windows Vista and Windows 7:

  • Go to the Control Panel.
  • If you see Control Panel Home view, click User Accounts and Family Safety
  • Click Mail.
  • Click Data Files.
  • Click Personal Folders, and then click Settings.
  • Note the text in the Filename box. 
  • Click OK, and then click Close two times.

The text in the filename box will be the path to your PST file. This will be needed later, when using the Inbox Repair Tool.
Next we will be discussing how to use the Inbox Repair Tool. Follow the following guideline in order to accomplish this:
In Windows Vista/7 using Microsoft Outlook 2003:

  • Click Start, type %ProgramFiles%\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\1033\ in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.
  • Find and then double-click SCANPST.EXE to start the Inbox Repair Tool.
  • In the Enter the name of the file you want to scan box, type the path and file name of the Outlook .pst file that you found in step 2.
  • Click Start.
  • After the Inbox Repair Tool operation is complete, click OK.

In Windows Vista/7 using Microsoft Outlook 2007:

  • Click Start, type %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Office\Office12\ in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.
  • Find and then double-click SCANPST.EXE to start the Inbox Repair Tool.
  • In the Enter the name of the file you want to scan box, type the path and file name of the Outlook .pst file that you found in step 2.
  • Click Start.
  • After the Inbox Repair Tool operation is complete, click OK.

In Windows XP:

  • Click Start, and then click Search.
  • Click All Files and Folders.
  • In the All or part of the file name box, type Scanpst.exe.
  • Change the selection in the Look in box to the local hard disk. For example, change the selection to Local Disk (C:).
  • Click Search.
  • When the search is complete, double-click SCANPST.EXE to start the Inbox Repair Tool.
  • In the Enter the name of the file you want to scan box, type the path and file name of the Outlook .pst file that you found in step 2.
  • Click Start.
  • After the Inbox Repair Tool operation is complete, click OK.

Once you have completed the above, your pst file should be repaired if the issue was just a header issue. This method will work in about 50% of all cases. If it does not work then you will need to purchase a PST file recovery program. It sucks I know but the product we recommend does come with a 30 day money back guarantee. So if it does not work for you then you can get your money back. Check out the recommended PST Repair Software.