What tools does Microsoft provides to recover inbox files and how to use it?

Corruption or sudden deletion of files from Outlook is a major problem to many users and business houses that uses Outlook client to communicate with their client and customers. Therefore, Microsoft has provided various free tools in Outlook for Exchange recovery which can recover damaged or deleted Inbox files. There are primarily two tools in Outlook, named Inbox Repair Tool or scanpst.exe and OST Integrity Tool.

The most important tool Microsoft provided along with Outlook is the Inbox Repair Tool or scanpst.exe which can restore damaged PST file. The Inbox Repair Tool is a hidden file in Windows computers and you need to use the search or find function (depending on the operating system you have) to find this hidden tool. Inbox Repair Tool is primarily designed to help repair problems associated with the Personal Folder or .pst file in Outlook.

The Inbox Repair Tool is effective in the process of Exchange recovery only to a certain extent; it is not able to retrieve data from a badly damaged or oversized .pst file from the server. However, it is still an effective first step everyone should always consider if any damage occurs to the PST file. As the scanpst.exe is a hidden tool which the user need to search using the ‘search’ or ‘find’ option in the start menu. In the search box type scanpst.exe and after a few moments the Inbox Repair Tool will appear on your computer screen. However, you need to enable the ‘Show hidden files and folders’ option before you search for the tool.

When the search function displays the scanpst.exe tool you need to double click on it to start the Exchange recovery process. After this step browse and locate the .pst files that you want to repair and after selecting all the files click on the ‘Start’ button. When the scan is complete select the ‘Make a backup of scanned file before repair’ checkbox. Click ‘Repair’ and if the repair process is successful you will notice a ‘Repair complete’ message. However, if the tool is unable to repair the file then you might require using a backup of your file.

If the recovery process is successful you will see a ‘Recovered Personal Folders’ folder which will contain another sub-folder named ‘Lost and Found.’ The ‘Lost and Found’ folder contains all the items the recovery tool successfully extracted. You need to create a new .pst file to drag all the items from the ‘Lost and Found’ sub-folder and then delete both ‘Recovered Personal Folders’ and ‘Lost and Found’ folders. However, if there is no data in the ‘Recovered Personal Folders’ then you will have to take the help of external third party softwares.

The next most important free tool provided by Microsoft along with Outlook is the ‘OST Integrity Tool’ which helps in repairing OST (Offline Folder File). Before starting the ‘OST Integrity Tool’ you need to close Outlook client. After this you need to click on ‘Start’ and then click on ‘Run’ and in the box type the following command:

Drive:\Program Files\Common Files\System\Mapi\LocaleID\scanost.exe

When the ‘OST Integrity Tool’ opens you need to click on ‘OK’ and then click on either ‘Scan all folders’ or ‘Choose folder to scan.’ If you choose to scan all folders the repair process will consume a lot of time. Select the ‘Repair errors’ check box and then click ‘Begin Scan.’ If any data is retrieved it will appear in the ‘Deleted Items’ folder in Outlook with the subject ‘OST Integrity Check.’

If both this tool fails in recovering your important files you can always consider using third party recovery software like “DataNumen Exchange Recovery” which can recover even badly damaged .pst and .ost files.

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