How to use the Scanpst.exe tool to recover OST files?

Inbox Repair Tool or Scanpst.exe is an integrated tool in Microsoft Outlook which helps in recovering folders and items from a corrupted PST (Personal Folder) or OST (Offline Folder) file. Scanpst.exe is usually a hidden file that gets installed automatically while installing Windows in your computer. Using scanpst.exe to recover OST files is the first step one should take if the stored data becomes corrupted.

OST or Offline Folders in Outlook makes it possible for users to work offline and send and receive messages through Microsoft Exchange Server once connected to the internet. However, OST files are prone to data loss due to corruption and various other factors. If Outlook client crashes or suddenly shuts down, corruption in the OST files are likely to occur. An OST file can also become corrupted if the computer gets infected by viruses, spyware and malware from some external sources.

The scanpst.exe (Inbox Repair Tool) remains hidden in your computer and you need to find its location before starting the OST recovery process. The best way to find the scanpst.exe tool is by using the ‘Run’ function which can be found in the ‘Start’ menu. Before you start to search for the scanpast.exe tool you need to exit Outlook and also make sure to enable the ‘show hidden files and folders’ option in your folders. After you enable this option you need to follow a few simple steps to find and run the Inbox Repair Tool:

  • Click on ‘Start’ and then click ‘Run’
  • In the search box type scanpst.exe and hit ‘OK’
  • The system will search all location in the computer and find the tool for you
  • Double click on the scanpst.exe tool to open the programme
  • Next, you need to select the OST files you wish to repair. You should follow this step if the files are not picked up automatically which is usually the case in default settings.
  • Click ‘Start’ to start the OST recovery process
  • If the file has no errors it will show a dialogue box and you need to click ‘OK’ to finish the process
  • If the file has any errors it will display another dialogue box which asks you if you want to make a backup before repairing.
  • If you want to make a back up just enter the name of the file and then click on ‘Repair’

After you run the recovery process you need to close and restart Outlook to see the list of recovered folders in the panel that appears on the left side of Outlook client. In the folders list you will see the ‘Recovered Personal Folder’ appear which contains the ‘Default Folder’ and the ‘Lost and found’ folder. The ‘Lost and Found’ folder will contain all the recovered items if the process is successful. After this you need to create a new .pst file to move the repaired files into it and then remove the ‘Recovered personal folder’.

If you want to recover OST files that are damaged or deleted then using the scanpst.exe is the first move you should always make. However, if even after using the scanpst.exe tool if the required data or folders are not present then it might be possible that the files are rendered beyond repair and you may require the help of external third party software like “DataNumen Exchange Recovery” which is currently the best tool in the market which can recover almost all damaged or deleted data from the server.

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