How to Solve Outlook Error “.pst is not compatible”

When you start Outlook 2002 or older, and try to open a PST file which is created in Outlook 2003 or newer versions, this error will pop up absolutely. This article will delve into its reason and relevant solutions.

One day, unknown errors occur to my laptop. After consulting with technicians, I had no choice but to format and reinstall my windows operating system, which may take a certain time. Therefore, before formatting, I copied my Outlook data file on a Flash drive and tried to access it on another computer. But I found that the Outlook on this computer is 2002 version. Therefore, an Outlook error “.pst is not compatible” arise. In order to access it, I copied all the data from the original PST file in Unicode format to a newly created 97-2002 PST file in ANSI format. Here are the concrete steps.

Fix the Error within Outlook

Virtually this issue can be resolved easily in new Outlook versions, ranging from Outlook 2003 to the latest 2016. I will take Outlook 2010 as an example here.

  1. At the very outset, launch Outlook 2010.
  2. Head to “File” menu and click “Account Settings” under “Info” tab.Account Settings under Info
  3. Then in the subsequent window of “Account Settings”, switch to “Data File” tab. Click “Add” button.Add Data File
  4. In the new popup window, you can specify a name for this new created file or just use its default name. In “Save as type” field, you should choose “Outlook 97 – 2002 Data File” from the drop down list.Outlook 97-2002 Data File
  5. Next click “Yes” to create a PST file in ANSI format. And click “Close” to back to Outlook navigation pane.
  6. At the navigation pane, you can locate the new PST file. You can directly drag and drop all the items in original PST file to the new created PST file, such that a PST file in ANSI format with all data of original PST file has appeared. Alternatively, you can utilize Outlook Import and Export Wizard to import the data to the new PST file.
  7. Finally you can copy and access this new PST file to the computer which only installs the old Outlook versions.

Pros: This method is free completely.

Cons: However, you would be required to drag and drop repeatedly, which may demand lots of time. Furthermore, you need to switch between two computers constantly.

Recommend an External Tool

Apart from the above method, another quicker and better approach is to fall back on a reliable external tool, namely DataNumen Outlook Repair. Not only can this tool help us to convert PST file from 97-2002 format to 2003-2016 format, but also it is capable of repairing Outlook files. After installing and launching it, you can specify the target output format of PST file directly in “repair” page. Depending on the size of this PST file, you need to wait for a while. After this process, you would get a new PST file in your desired format.Select Output PST File Format

Pros: This method won’t require you to do repeated operations and is exactly time-saving.

Cons: It will cost some money for you to buy the full version.

Author Introduction:

Shirley Zhang is a data recovery expert in DataNumen, Inc., which is the world leader in data recovery technologies, including sql recovery and outlook repair software products. For more information visit

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