Can PST Files Get Corrupted? What to Do If You Suspect Your PST File is Corrupted?

To free up storage space on your mail server, Microsoft Outlook stores some important information in what are known as personal storage table. These files are stored in your computer and allow you to access the data even if your offline. Unfortunately, they can easily get corrupted.

Microsoft Office saves space on your mail server by creating PST files that store copies of downloaded messages, calendar events, and contacts lists and allows you to access them even without connecting to the internet. You can also use these files to export or backup items.

Can PST Files Get Corrupted? What to Do If You Suspect Your PST File is Corrupted

As e-mail is now such a common medium by which communication is done and information is passed on, PST files contain a lot of vital data. Unfortunately, much like any file format they are prone to becoming corrupted.    

Why do PST files get corrupted?

Any interruption that occurs with a PST file is being either updated or created could corrupt the file. The larger the file gets, the bigger the chances of it becoming corrupted.

An example of an interruption that could result in a PST file getting corrupted is if a power failure causes your computer to close abruptly. Also, if you close your computer without properly closing your Outlook first, you could end up corrupting your PST files.

Even interruptions in network connectivity can result in a corrupted PST file.

There is also the problem of exceeding the size limits of a PST file. This is especially prevalent in older versions of Outlook. Outlook 2002 and earlier version only allowed for PST files of 2GB, any bigger than that and the PST file would be corrupted.

Microsoft has since increased the file limits of the PST files but it’s important to take note of these and know what your version of Outlook is to avoid going over the limit.

  • Outlook 2003 & 2007 – 10GB
  • Outlook 2010 and up – 50GB

Can a corrupted PST file be fixed?

Luckily the answer here is, yes. As Microsoft is aware that corruption in PST files and can so easily happen, they’ve provided a build in tool that you can use to try and repair the file.

This built in tool is called ScanPST.exe and this is pre-installed in computers running Windows

To use the ScanPST tool to find a missing or corrupted PST file, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Task Manager and open it.
  2. Click the “Processes Tab”
  3. Select the option “Open file location”
  4. Find and open ScanPST
  5. Choose “Browse” and find the PST file that you think is corrupted
  6. Choose “Start” and the scan will begin.
  7. If an error is found, choose “Repair”

After the repair process is complete, go to the Outlook program and open it. You should find a folder called “Recovered Personal Folders” that will contain another called “Lost and Found” that will have any folders or files that the repair tool found. Create a new data file and place the recovered items there then delete the lost and found folders. Another way to recover lost or corrupted PST files is to install and run a data recovery program specifically for PST files. You can try DataNumen Outlook Repair or DataNumen Outlook Drive Recovery.

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