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How to Fix a PST File


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Microsoft Outlook is a powerful all-in-one personal information manager that tracks email, schedules, tasks, and includes a host of other features. Unfortunately the program architecture puts all your digital “eggs” in one basket. The Outlook PST file is the single repository for your digital life. When it becomes corrupt or damaged, you risk the loss of every piece of information in Outlook. Many common problems with PST files can be fixed, but you need to know how. Follow these steps to get your Outlook data back up and running.

  • Open the repair utility provided with Outlook. Because there is no shortcut from Outlook or your computer desktop, you may not be aware it exists. To launch the program from Vista or Windows 7, navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12. Look for the Scanpst.exe file. Double click on the file to launch the utility.
  • The program presents a dialogue box that allows you to browse to your PST file. Unless you designated a different location for your PST file, the best way to find the file is to do a search by entering “%appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook” into your search window from either the start menu or address bar.
  • After locating your PST file, click on the “Start” button to begin the scanning function of the program. This scan may take some time depending on the size of your PST file. When the scan is finished, the utility will report if errors were found or not. If so, you have the option of backing up your PST file before the repairs are executed. Click on the check box and select a target path where you want the backup PST file to be saved.
  • Click on the “Repair” button. Again, be patient as the program executes repair actions. When finished, the “Repair complete” dialogue box appears. The Scanpst.exe program will log actions performed in the repair process to a log file located in the same folder as your original PST file. The file will be a simple text (TXT) document with the same name as your PST file.
  • With the repair procedure complete, re-open Outlook.


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