MS Outlook is one of the most used mail and messaging tools that is used by people across the globe for mail, contacts, calendar and managing other kinds of personal data. These personal data are stored in the computer in a particular format that is called PST file, or personal folder file, or personal storage file.

People who use MS Outlook face a common problem- their PST file getting damaged. This generally happens either because of the PST file exceeding the limit allocated to it, or because of up-gradation of the Microsoft Office version. As PST file has a limit of 2 GB, if the size of a PST file crosses 2 GB, there are chances that the PST file might get damaged. When a PST file gets damaged you cannot access the data in that file and will get an error whenever you try to access the file. Now the question is – is there a free PST repair method to retrieve all the valuable data back? Read on to know more.

One of the methods of free PST repair for the corrupted PST file is to use the Outlook Inbox repair tool. This is a built in tool in the MS Outlook that uses a file named “scanpst.exe” that repairs the corrupt PST files and most of the times it does the job without any problem.

The basic function of this PST repair method is that it repairs the PST file header and deletes whatever is there in the file that it does not understand. A PST header file usually gets corrupt or damaged while you are doing a version upgrade, so in that case this free PST repair method does the job pretty well in repairing the damaged PST file. However, if the data within the file is corrupt instead of the file header then the inbox repair tool won’t help and will destroy whatever is there in the file. So it is recommended that you should take a backup of PST file first.

The Microsoft Outlook Inbox repair tool that is Scanpst.exe is located in the below mentioned directory (and this is common for XP, Vista and windows2000):
C:/Program Files-Common Files-System-Mapi-1033
In case you are experiencing problems in locating the same, you can search for scanpst.exe in the C drive-Program Files.

However PST files in Windows Vista and Windows 7 are located in the following directory:
C:/Users-Username-App Data-Local-Microsoft-Outlook

While for Windows 2000 and XP, PST file can be located in:
C:/Documents and Settings-Username-Local Settings-Applications Data-Microsoft-Outlook

Please Note that Username here refers to the name of your computer.

This inbuilt inbox repair tool succeeds most of the times in repairing the corrupted PST file, however if it doesn’t work, then you can try and install some other free PST repair tools that are available for free on the internet. But before using them, you should first go through the reviews given by the existing users about the PST repair tool.  If you are still having problems, I suggest using the Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Repair.

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