Fixing a Broken Outlook PST File with or without Scanpst.exe

Fixing a Broken Outlook PST File with or without Scanpst.exe

Microsoft Outlook saves the emails, contacts, calendars, events, and other mailbox items in Personal Storage Table (PST) format. Sometimes, the PST file gets broken or corrupted due to large file size, abrupt system shutdown, crashing of Windows, incorrect closing of Outlook, virus infection, and various other reasons. When the PST file gets corrupted, you can use Scanpst.exe (Inbox Repair Tool) to repair the PST file. But, sometimes, the Inbox Repair tool can fail to repair the broken or corrupted PST file. In such a case, you can use other methods to repair the PST.

Below, we’ll be discussing the stepwise process to fix the corrupted PST file with Scanpst.exe. Also, we’ll be mentioning some methods to repair the file without Scanpst.exe.

How to Fix a Broken or Corrupted Outlook PST File with Scanpst.exe?

Scanpst.exe is an inbuilt Inbox Repair Tool provided by Microsoft to scan and repair damaged or corrupted PST files. Let’s look at the steps to repair the PST file with this tool:

Step 1: Locate the PST file

  • For Outlook 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, follow the below path:

C:\Users\%username%\Documents\Outlook Files\

  • For Outlook 2007 and earlier versions, follow the below path:


Learn how to find the Scanpst.exe location in Outlook.

Step 2: Scan the PST File

Once the Scanpst.exe is found, launch it. Click Browse to select the PST file and click Scan to initiate the scanning process. The time of the scanning process depends on the level of corruption and file size. When the scanning process gets completed, errors will be displayed. Click on Details to check further.

Step 3: Repair the PST File

After completion of the scanning process, click Repair to start the repair process. A message will pop up on the screen after the successful recovery of the PST file. Click OK to finish the repair process. If the corruption level is low, the PST file will be recovered easily. If the corruption is severe, the tool may freeze or even fail to repair the file.

Limitations of Scanpst.exe (Inbox Repair Tool)

Sometimes, this utility fails to repair the PST files. Below are the scenarios when Scanpst.exe does not work:

  • It can repair PST files up to 2 GB size.
  • This tool may not work when the extent of file corruption is severe.
  • Cannot save the repaired mailbox data to any other file format.

How to Repair PST File without Scanpst.exe?

If Scanpst.exe utility fails to repair the broken Outlook PST files, you can follow the below solutions to repair the PST file and recover the data.

Solution 1: Create New PST and Copy the Contents from Old (Broken) PST

You can create a new PST file and try to copy the items from the corrupt PST to the new file. This workaround will help you to recover the data from the corrupt PST file. However, this workaround will only work if you’re able to open the old (corrupt) PST file in Outlook. Follow the below steps to create a new PST file and copy the contents of the old file.

Note: Take a backup of the PST file before proceeding.

  • Link the old PST file to Outlook. For this, go to File > Open > Outlook Data File.
  • When it opens, create a new PST file.
  • For Outlook 2007 and earlier versions: Go to File > New > Outlook Data File.
  • For Outlook 2010 and later versions: Click on Home > New Items > More Items > Outlook Data File.
  • Copy the content from the corrupted PST file to the new one.

Once the copying process is complete, set the newly created PST file as default.

For Outlook 2007:

  • Go to File > Data File Management.
  • Select the New PST File.
  • Select Set as Default and click Close.
  • Restart Outlook.

For Outlook 2010:  

  • Click on File > Info > Account Settings > Account Settings.
  • Select Data Files and select the new PST file.
  • Click Set as Default and then click Close.
  • Restart Outlook.

Now, right-click the root folder of the old PST file and choose “Close <folder name>” to disconnect the old PST file from Outlook.

Solution 2: Use a Professional PST Repair Tool

If the above solutions fail to repair the broken or corrupt PST file, then you can use a professional PST repair tool, one of the best tool is Stellar Repair for Outlook. It is an efficient tool that can repair the PST file, recover all the data from damaged PST file, and save it in a new PST file. This can easily repair severely corrupted PST files, without any file size limitations.

Follow the below-mentioned steps to repair the broken Outlook PST file using this tool:

Step 1: Launch Stellar Repair for Outlook.

Step 2: Select the corrupted PST file and click Repair to start the repairing process. All the PST data will be scanned and repaired. After scan, it provides a preview of the entire PST data.

Step 3: You can preview the file components and also search for any specific email, calendar entry, and contacts.

file components

Step 4: Click Save to save the data of repaired PST file. The file can be saved in multiple formats. You can choose the preferred format, specify the location to save the file, and click OK.



A broken or corrupt Outlook PST file can lead to various issues in Outlook. You can use the Scanpst.exe utility in Outlook to repair the corrupt PST file. However, there are several limitations of the Scanpst.exe tool. To overcome the limitations of this utility, you can use a professional PST repair tool, like Stellar Repair for Outlook. This tool can easily repair and recover the broken or corrupt Outlook PST file without any file size limitation. Also, it can also recover accidentally or permanently deleted emails from PST.

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