Microsoft Outlook is a very popular email client among computer users. It is a part of Microsoft Office suite. Being an email client application, Outlook is primarily used for mailing, i.e. sending and receiving email messages. Besides mailing purpose, it is used for calendaring, task managing, contact managing, note taking, journal creation and web browsing. All the mailbox data including email messages are stored into an Outlook database file, called PST or personal storage table.

PST file has a serious issue of corruption. It has a definite file size, i.e. 2 GB and 20-50 GB for ANSI and Unicode PST files respectively. The chances of corruption in ANSI PST file are higher than Unicode PST file. In ANSI PST, you can only store up to 2 GB of mailbox data. If it reaches to its maximum size or exceeds it, the PST file becomes inaccessible, and sometimes it gets corrupted or damaged. There are multiple ways by which you can avoid corruption or any other problematic issues with PST files, such as: compacting or compressing PST file, splitting PST file into multiple parts, etc.

But once a PST file gets corrupted, you will be left with only one option: repair the PST file. Microsoft provides a built-in utility in Outlook, named as SCANPST.EXE aka the inbox repair tool for Outlook data files. It can scan corrupted Outlook PST file for errors or corruption issues. It diagnoses the corruption and fixes it, if possible. Before you can use the inbox repair tool, you need to locate it on your system. According to the Outlook versions, the SCANPST.EXE can be found in the following locations:

  • In MS Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15 
  • In MS Outlook 2010: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14 
  • In MS Outlook 2007: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12 
  • In MS Outlook 2003: C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\<locale ID> 
  • In MS Outlook 2002/XP: C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MAPI\<locale ID>\scanpst.exe 
  • In MS Outlook 2000: C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MAPI\<locale ID>\NT\scanpst.exe 
  • In MS Outlook 97/98: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Windows Messaging\scanpst.exe

Go to the location in which your SCANPST.EXE is located and follow the steps given below:

  1. Double-click the SCANPST.EXE to launch it. The Microsoft Outlook Inbox Repair Tool window will pop-up.
  2. Now click on Browse and select the corrupted Outlook PST file from the system.
  3. The selected PST file is shown in the edit box. Click on Start to start the scanning of PST file.
  4. Once the file is scanned, you can see the diagnosis report of the file. Now click on Repair to repair the file. Note: Before repairing the file, you can also take backup of the Outlook PST file.
  5. Within a few seconds, the file will be repaired successfully.

Also Know About: Scanost.exe OST Recovery Technique

Sometimes SCANPST.EXE may fail to fix the corruption if the Outlook PST file is severally corrupted. For such situation, data recovery experts suggest third-party recovery tools (both commercialware and freeware). There are many software companies in the market which provide third-party PST Recovery tools with free demo or trial version. I would personally recommend SysInfoTools PST File Repair tool when it comes about recovery from corrupted Outlook PST files.