7 Solutions when Outlook Fails to Open Archive PST File

At times, the Outlook application may fail to open a previously archived PST File. To deal with such cases, we have listed down seven effective solutions to try out.

When it comes to desktop-based email clients, the MS Outlook application has an illustrious history spanning decades. It is regularly used today by millions of individual users and corporates too with equal fervor. The application boasts of a fabulous feature set and a capacity to integrate with several platforms from the Microsoft stable. Quite expectedly, users keep using Outlook for quite a long time and this leads to the creation of archived PST files. Now at times, these files can fail to open up in a normal fashion. Let’s jump deep into the issue to learn why this can happen.

Understating the Auto Archive Feature Present in MS Outlook

The MS Outlook application comes with a powerful auto-archive feature that allows old emails to be archived. When you first run the auto-archive feature, it typically saves the old emails and associated data into the archive.pst file. With the help of this feature, you can apply custom settings to ensure old data elements in Outlook, beyond certain aging, are automatically moved to the archived PST file. To know more about the auto-archive feature, and how to use it, please visit Microsoft’s Support Site.Auto Archive in Outlook

Why Outlook fails to Open Archive PST files

When it comes to storing archived PST files, the best approach involves storing them in a different system. However, quite a large section of users tend to keep the archived files on their local machines. This can lead to a situation where these files get corrupted due to several reasons ranging from read-write errors to software conflicts. At times malicious applications and even bad sectors can contribute to this situation. Here are seven solutions that you can try out when Outlook fails to Open the Archive PST fileOutlook Fails to Open Archive PST File

 #1. Create a New Outlook Profile and Try Opening the Archived Data

One of the first things you need to do, if you encounter this issue, involves creating a new Outlook profile and then import the archived PST file and open it in a normal fashion. To create a new profile in Outlook, try out the steps listed below.

  • From the Windows desktop, just head to the Windows Search Box or Run Box, key in Control Panel
  • Next, launch the Control Panel App
  • Thereafter you need to find the Search Box shown in the top right corner of the Control Panel screen, and then just type in Mail
  • Next, as the Mail option is displayed, simply click on it
  • In the next Mail Setup – Outlook window, click on Show Profiles
  • Now, click on Add and just go through the given onscreen instructions to build a New Profile and then place your current Mail account below it.Create New Outlook Profile

#2. Check out if you can Open Other Archived PST Files

One of the quickest ways to diagnose the issue that you are experiencing is to try opening other archived PST files with the Outlook application. Now if you are able to open any other archived PST file but are unable to open a specific archived PST file, the issue you are looking at is clearly related to the PST data file. You need then move to step 3 and try attempting recovery of the compromised file.  Alternately if you are unable to open just about any archive files, jump to step 6 to revert the Outlook application to a previous working condition.


#3. Consider Running a Powerful PST Recovery Tool to Open the Archive File

If you have landed up in a situation where you are unable to open a specific archived PST file, you should immediately take recourse to a sophisticated PST recovery tool like DataNumen Outlook Repair. This powerful application can dig out contents from a corrupted archived PST file with aplomb and maintain the data integrity through the process. You are likely to get back all your emails, attachments, and even embedded images in perfect order.DataNumen Outlook Repair

#4. Try Using the ScanPST Tool to Open the Archive File

Given the acute propensity of the Outlook application to keep crashing and getting its underlying PST file corrupted, Microsoft has included a PST recovery tool called ScanPST within the MS Office package itself. It is commonly known as the Inbox Repair tool and you can locate it on your machine by visiting Microsoft’s Support Site. Once you have grabbed hold of this tool, just try out the steps given below.

  • Launch the Inbox Repair Tool (ScanPST) application
  • Utilize the Browse option present on the screen to locate the archived PST file you plan to quickly repair
  • Next, all you need to do is just click on the Start button to initiate the repair process for the archived filescanpst(Inbox Repair Tool)

#5. Try to Recover the Archived Filed Directly from the Storage Drive

In some cases, a direct recovery of the archived PST file may not be possible. Below are some of the examples:

  • The archive file size is 0byte, which implies that the file does not contain any data, including valid Outlook data at all.
  • The sectors on which the archive file is located are damaged and you cannot copy or read the file at all.

In such cases, you should consider running the DataNumen Outlook Drive Recovery application to scan through the storage drive where the archived files were stored and extract its contents. To run this tool and perform a recovery, just follow the steps mentioned below.

  • Open the DataNumen Outlook Drive Recovery application
  • Go to the Recovery tab and then choose the source data drive that needs to be checked.  Essentially this is where you have kept the archived file.
  • Now specify an Output filename and click on the Start Recovery button to initiate the scan for figuring out the Outlook data contents. The tool will briskly scan through the drive and attempt to recover Outlook contents.DataNumen Outlook Drive Recovery

#6. Consider Running the System Restore Feature to Revert Outlook to a Functioning State

At times the issue may not really be with the archived file and may relate to the Outlook application itself. In such cases, one can simply use the System Restore feature present in Windows to revert the system to a previous date when Outlook was working without a flaw. It is critical to note that any software that you may have installed beyond the restore point date will be removed once you run the System Restore feature. Here’s how you can run the tool to revert Outlook back to a previous working state.System Restore

#7. Restore the Data with a Previously Backed-up PST File

In some rare cases, all efforts to recover the archived PST file may fail and you should then consider restoring the data using a previously backed up PST file. Typically multiple backups are kept by many businesses and individuals and this allows them the flexibility to handle such situations. In case you have a backed-up PST file, just perform the steps to find the PST file and replace it with the backup, as given below.

  • Open the Microsoft Outlook email client and move to the File tab
  • Now click on Account Settings which typically shows up below the Info tab
  • Next, click on Account Settings from the showcased drop-down options
  • Head down to the Data Files tab and then locate the storage location of the current Outlook PST file. Just replace the current file with the backup you have at hand and launch Outlook to start working.

Find Outlook Data File Path

Final Thoughts

While working with the Outlook application it is natural to occasionally come across jarring error messages and incidents of application crashes. However, with a little bit of thought, you can systematically approach the problem and solve the issue as shown above. That apart, it’s always good practice to invest in an effective PST recovery tool like DataNumen Outlook Repair to deal with unforeseen events.

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