Last reviewed on July 24, 2015   —  32 Comments

Applies to: Microsoft Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2007 and older

Inbox repair tool (scanpst) iconMicrosoft provides the Inbox Repair Tool for correcting most problems with damaged Personal Folders .pst files. If you do not see the Inbox Repair Tool on the Start menu, under Programs | Accessories | System Tools, use Start | Find or Start | Search (depending on your operating system) to search your system for Scanpst.exe. In Windows 7 and Vista, type scanpst in the Start menu’s Search dialog.

You will need to know the location of the .pst file that you want to repair. If you can open Outlook, you can get the pst location from the File, Data File Management screen. Select the pst file and click the Open Folder button.

Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013 use the locations below for IMAP data files while the default location for POP3 pst files is in My Documents\Outlook Files.

Note: IMAP caches a copy of messages to the local computer and I recommend that you delete the IMAP data file. When you restart Outlook, it will rebuild the data file. This is generally better than trying to repair it using Scanpst or a commercial tool.

If you use Outlook 2007 or older and the pst file is in the default folder location, you can find it in the following locations:

Windows 7/8 or Vista:


Type or paste this shortcut in the scanpst dialog to jump to the location:


Windows XP or Windows 2000:

C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Type or paste this shortcut in the scanpst dialog to jump to the location:

%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

See Outlook Backup and Dual-Boot for additional information on file locations and ways to determine the location of a .pst file that you can see in Outlook.

See How to use Scanpst.exe to repair Outlook data files if you need Step-by-step instructions for Scanpst.

Usage | Notes | Tools | More Information


When you run Scanpst.exe, it performs a number of tests. If it finds errors, it asks whether you want to make a backup copy of the original file (always say Yes), then tries to correct the errors.

If you run Scanpst.exe against a .pst file that Outlook 2003 created for a local copy of Windows SharePoint Services events and contacts lists, you will get an error message that you can ignore. See You Receive an Error Message When You Use the Inbox Repair Tool to Scan a .pst File

For seriously corrupted PST files, try running Scandisk.exe (look under Programs | Accessories | System Tools) first, then Scanpst.exe, repeating 3-4 times until neither program returns an error. We’ve known this technique to restore data that the user thought was lost forever.

And if that doesn’t do it, you can try our tips to repair a 2gb Personal Folders file or Offline Folders in Microsoft Outlook.

If the file is on an NTFS volume, you can’t use Scandisk.exe so easily. One approach is to open the drive in My Computer and use the Tools menu commands to scan the disk. You may need to restart Windows for the scan to run.


While you can use Scanpst.exe on offline folder (.ost) files used for cached or offline access to Exchange Server folders, we recommend deleting the ost file and letting Outlook recreate it. It’s generally faster to resync the data than it is to repair the ost and a new ost file results in fewer problems. If do use try to repair an OST file and it’s corrupted beyond the ability of Scanpst.exe to repair it, delete the ost. When you reopen Outlook it will make a new ost file.

There may be cases where you need to run both ScanPST and PST2GB. See OL2000 Error Message When You Start Outlook 2000 or Try to Open a Personal Folders File.

Another approach is to use a hex editor remove a single byte from the middle of the PST file, then run Scanpst. A hex editor is a tool for editing raw files; every Windows shareware site has several to choose from. Eugene McCarthy of FAO Headquarters in Rome recommends the free iHex editor, which loads only 64kb of the file at a time, making it ideal for tinkering with extremely large PST files. For simple Scanpst repairs, Eugene recommends changing the first byte of the PST file from hex 21 to 00.

There is no comparable program for cleaning up corrupted Personal Address Book (.pab) files. You may be able to view and recover PAB data by opening the file with a hex editor.


Tools in the Spotlight

DataNumen Outlook Repair

DataNumen Outlook Repair is a powerful tool to repair and recover corrupted Outlook PST files. Main features: recover mail messages, folders, posts, appointments, meeting requests, contacts, distribution lists, tasks, task requests, journals and notes in PST files; support to recover attachments; support to recover deleted Outlook items; support to recover oversized 2GB PST files; support to split the output PST file into several small ones; support to recover password protected PST files; support to convert PST file from Outlook 97-2002 format into the new Outlook Unicode format.

Kernel for Outlook PST Repair Tool

Kernel for Outlook PST Repair Tool recovers and restores emails and other items from damaged, corrupted or broken PST files. The demo version shows you exactly that how many emails and other items will be recovered using the full Kernel Repair PST Software. Kernel for Outlook PST Repair supported versions are Outlook 97, 2000, XP, 2003. It successfully recovers all items from the PST file including emails, drafts, calendars, journal, notes, tasks, contacts etc. OST repair tool available.

Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Repair

Outlook PST Repair software repairs the corrupted PST file and for recovering its entire mailbox items. This software even repairs file which are larger than 2 GB and also recovers deleted emails. Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Repair software has several powerful features like repair password protected and encrypted files and also recovery of selected folders. This software works with almost all latest Outlook versions and has good compatibility with Windows 8, 7, vista, 2003, 2002 and 2000.



CopyPST repairs Outlook data files by exporting it to a new file, ignoring any error. It requires that the data file can still be opened in Outlook. Exporting a file breaks links, which can be repairs using OLfix program. Free

EasyRecovery EmailRepair

Repair corrupted .pst and .ost files and those exceeding the 2gb limit. Retrieve deleted items from Outlook folders. Can access password-protected .pst files. Can also repair and restore Outlook Express data.

Outlook Recovery

Outlook Recovery locates Outlook files and databases automatically. If you experienced a hard drive failure or deleted an Outlook database by an accident, Outlook Recovery will perform a full scan of that disk in order to locate and undelete/recover the database. If a database is corrupted, Outlook Recovery will repair it so that it can be used with Microsoft Outlook again. Outlook Recovery can recover Outlook databases in PST and OST formats, saving them for using with Outlook or any email application that supports the EML format.


OutlookFix is an Outlook repair software tool for damaged, erased or large Outlook PST files. Restores Outlook files, will undelete emails and files, and lets you reduce the size of Outlook (Outlook 2gb limit fix) solving the common 2Gb size problem.

Recovery for Outlook

Recovery for Outlook repairs corrupted Outlook mailboxes (.pst). The program also supports Exchange Offline Storage Files (.ost). Supported Outlook versions: 2007, 2003, 2002, 2000, 98 and 97

Recovery Toolbox for Outlook

Recover data from Outlook pst files. Recover Exchange ost files and/or convert them into Microsoft Outlook pst files. Export data from pst files into eml and vcf files.

Recoveryfix for Outlook PST Repair

RecoveryFix for Outlook is PST repair software that repairs the corrupt, damaged and inaccessible PST files and restores them to new PST, EML or MSG file formats in a single go. The tool comes integrated with smart and enhanced repairing features that rigorously scan, repair and restore the complete Outlook data files within a matter of minutes. Its advanced algorithms and interactive GUI makes this tool an ideal Outlook PST repair utility for non-technical users to perform complex recovery process with utmost convenience.


  1. Andy says

    I am retired and have gone to gmail from my old outlook 2000. I have been lazy about transfering all my contacts to gmail. Monday this week my outlook 2000 stopped working. I have gotten a couple of error messages. one says outlook 2000 is obsolete and i should upgrade to newer software. the other says it can't open because of file PST.PRX.DLL. Do you have any suggestions to revive the outlook 2000 so I can get all my contacts?

  2. Diane Poremsky says

    Well, outlook is obsolete but Outlook 2000 should work and it shouldn't be the one telling you its obsolete.

    What version of Windows?
    What antivirus do you use?
    What is the exact error message?

  3. Andy says


    I think that message came from Microsoft.

    Windows XP professional


    Now I can't even turn it on from my desktop. The message reads "Unable to display the selected folder or item. Could not complete the operation. One or more parameter values are not valid". When I open Outlook from "all programs" the message reads. "unable to open your default e-mail folders. An unexpected error has occured. MAPI was unable to load the information dervice PSTPRX.DLL. Be sure the service is correctly installed and configured."

    Diane, I am far from a computer wiz. I know just enough to be dangerous. Any help would be appreciated.


    • Diane Poremsky says

      Did you install Office XPand keep Outlook 2000 installed? That can cause this error.

  4. Fix Corrupt PST File says

    Thank you!!! Fantastic instructions. “Errors have been detected in the file outlook.PST”. I have tried to repair the SCANPST file but I get a message saying it is read only and cannot be repaired.

  5. Ryan - iPhone Repair In Bethlehem says

    Scanpst worked for me! That actually works most of the time. In the event that it doesn't, that Outlook recovery program has worked for friends of mine.

  6. Diane says


    I had to run scanpst.exe and it worked but it brought back a whole bunch of my old e-mails and folders that had either been previously deleted or in an older, different .pst file. Is it possibly when i ran scanpst.exe it merged the two .pst files? Do you know of a way to get my system back to where it was without all of this extra old emails everywhere?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      No, it didn't merge the pst files but I'm guessing the pst didn't get compacted so the old messages were recovered when you ran scanpst. Unless you have a recent backup of the pst file, getting back to how it was before will take a lot of manual labor.

  7. Ian Robertson says

    In my Outlook 2010 Account Settings/ Data Files I discovered I have 2 outlook.pst files both in the identical same name location. C:UsersMeDocumentsOutlook FilesOutlook.pst. One of them is checked.
    The result is whenever I do a name search I get 2 of every e-mail. Can I safely delete the unchecked one?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      that is really only one pst, the second is a ghost. You can try right clicking on the second and closing it, but if that fails, see Remove Ghosts

  8. Charles says

    Thanks for this really comprehensive article. Right now I'm waiting for random tech person to fix my pst file - but if they don't, I might buy one of your spot lighted tools. Are YOU recommending them, or is that a paid promotion? Don't want to waste $249....

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Both. :) If you need something stronger than scanpst, we recommend Advanced Outlook Recovery, Kernel for Outlook, or Stellar Outlook Repair. We've tested these products. Other products in the Tools list may meet your needs and most have demos that will show you what can be recovered before purchase.

  9. Wasim says

    I get the following error when I run scanpst.exe

    "An error has occurred which caused the scan to be stopped. No changes have been made to the scanned file."

    OS = windows 7 pro

    Office 2007 pro

    Checked few tools but they are very expensive. Little frustrated because if those tools are able to fix the issue then why not scanpst.exe which is a Microsoft product.

  10. Bert Leen says


    I get this error "0x80040119, 0x80040600" by using Microsoft outlook and i have no any solution to fix this error please help and reply to me.

    Bert Leen

    • Diane Poremsky says

      What version of Outlook?

      How large is your pst? If over 2 GB this would be only be a problem if you are using Outlook 2002 or older or an ANSI pst.
      Did you try using scanpst on your data file?

  11. Rick P. says

    Hello Diane, great article! It definately got me out of the woods last night, but I feel like I'm still stuck in no-mans-land...Outlook is now running again, and I appear to have all my data (sans iCloud calendar sync), but I'm still getting "broken letter" icons when I create a new .pst file in the target location (my Desktop or /Appdata/Local/Microsoft/Outlook/...)??
    First of all, I'm running Vista 64 and Outlook 2007.At the beginning, Outlook wouldn't open at all, so I was able to locate Scanpst. When I ran Scanpst, I couldn't get the "browse" button to locate/find my Outlook.pst main file in the folder heirarchy - something to do with Windows permissions or something, I don't know, it was as if they were hidden files or something - but I was able to use the Search File function in Windows Explorer and find the folder and file (complete with "broken letter" icon). I then moved the file to the Desktop so I could point to it with "browse" in Scanpst...this seemed to work fine, as I went through all the prompts and then hit "repair" when prompted.Now here's where my memory starts fading...when I tried to start Outlook afterwards, it didn't want to open, but somehow I got it to work after a few prompts from iCloud(?) Does this seem right? When I use Data File Managment now, the Outlook.bak file on the desktop has been identified as default??Also: there are no "repaired folders" or "Lost and Found" folders anywhere???
    When I tried to create a new .pst file (since one didn't exist yet in the /Appdata folder), it created a "broken letter" icon file??And when I tried to export a .pst file (with the current data I have open now), it did the same thing (on the desktop)? Incidentally, the original broken .pst file was/is 2.87GB, and the newly exported .pst is 1.87GB. Why would Outlook export a broken file?The result: I'm scared to close Outlook at all! Any help would be most appreciated...

    • Diane Poremsky says

      I think the icons are just messed up, especially if the file opens. The bak file as copy of the pst file, with the bak extension. You can change it back to pst. It's a copy of the original, so no repaired folders - they are in the other pst. The reduced file size can be attributed to a nmber of things - beginning with the recovery of 'white space'/

  12. Lynn says

    Hi Diane,

    Here is my dilemma. I have had a couple of 'crashes' with my computer lately, it says due to overheating. When I restart it is fine and seems to run ok, however I will be haivng this checked out. Assuming the fan is not working 100% to cool the machine. However, around that time, my Outlook started to not function correctly anymore either. I am Windows XP, running Outlook 2007. I am unable to clear the flags in my to-do list. It comes up with an error message and tells me to run scanpst. Will scanpst fix this issue or do I need to run something a little more robust. A little nervous since I use Outook extensively in my business and don't want to loose anything in the process of running any fixes.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      I would close Outlook and restart with the it /resettodobar switch, and if that doesn't work, I might try the cleanviews switch. Then I would use scanpst. In most cases, scanpst won't cause data loss but if you are worried, make a copy of the pst before running scanpst on it.

  13. Lynn says

    Hi Diane. Thanks for the response. I made note of your suggestions, but I did end up doing the scanpst which makes a backup of the pst file before it does any updates. The scan does just review your file and then tells you if you have errors (which I did), so I let it run the clean up. The entire process took a l-o-n-g time. Maybe because my file is so large. But I do have a remaining problem. I have a reminder for an appointment that keeps popping up. The appointment has been deleted from my calendar, but the reminder continues to come up, even though I say dismiss. Is there a switch I can start Outlook with that will remove reminders or will one of the ones you already gave me work? Many thanks. :)

  14. Lynn says

    OK Diane! Never mind! I googled it and found an earlier post from yours truly (you) and I used the suggested start up Outlook in the RUN box as "Outlook.exe /cleanreminders". And that seemed to do the trick! Thanks!

  15. Randy says

    Diane, I have a corrupted archive.pst file. I have ran scanpst.exe on the file until it reports there are no errors (four times). When I open the archive.pst from within Outlook 2010 it contains no e-mail messages but instead only 800+ calendar items. The file size is 28 MB. I have tried the demo version of a couple of the retail tools listed below and get the same results. I have tried opening the file with CopyPST, changed the two bytes to "00", re-ran scanpst until no errors and get the same result: only calendar items. Any suggestions for getting the e-mail messages out of this file? Thanks much!

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Are you sure it has any mail in it? At 28 meg, it wouldn't hold a lot of items, although probably more like 3000 items unless they are large. If the commercial products can't find mail, it's not a good sign. If you'd me to take a look, you can email it to me at diane at slipstick.

  16. robert gerbasi says

    Obviously if I COULD OPEN outlook I could find the PST file. But since I CAN'T open it, what would you suggest? Unbelievable. I'm not paying for any piece of you know what

    • Diane Poremsky says

      What version of Outlook and Windows? The Outlook 2007 and older default is %localappdata%\Microsoft\Outlook if using Windows 7/8. Type or paste that into the address bar of windows explorer and press Enter to open the folder to that path. The new default in Outlook 2010 and 2013 is in My documents \ Outlook Files.

  17. Jolie says

    Hi Diane,
    I tried to open Outlook 2010 (which I haven't used for a long time), it asks for password for Outlook Data File... (I did not create password for Outlook), would your instructions work for this type of issue? If I cannot open Outlook, does this mean that I need to re-install? Other the other components of Outlook 2010 are working fine.

  18. Luis Krause says


    We're using OLE to synchronize Contacts and Calendars with our app and for the most part it's working fine. But a few users get an error (4096) along with an error code of -2147352567 and I discovered that by running scanpst.exe the problem is fixed and our
    sync works again.

    What I'd like to know if it's possible to use some tool on the log file scanpst.exe creates to understand what is causing the corruption so we can avoid it.

    Also, is there a way to programatically fix the errors instead of having users run scanpst.exe over an over again?


  19. Dave says

    Hi Diane,

    I have a .pst file that inbox repair tool tried to repair but didn't recover all the emails. Outlook prompted the member to run scanpst and then it ran the IRT. File size of the repaired .pst and the .bak that IRT made are 880 to 900 Mb but the contents inside could not be more then 200.

    The original size of the .pst before repair was approx 900 Mb but it is missing about a year and a half of archived emails in the repaired file which tells me they are still in the .bak somewhere.

    I have tried working with a copy of the .bak that the tool made but it doesn't seem to bring back any more. Is this a backup of the newly repaired .pst or the original before IRT tried to fix it? Also, the person I am trying to help says he clicked "replace" during the repair process. I have made several attempts at recovering his email from the backup and repaired .pst file and never seen a "replace" dialog come up.

    So in short, is his email gone or should I try something else? Also, if this helps, his .pst file was stored on a sharedrive that is prone for corrupting .pst files and was on said share drive when IRT attempted to repair the file.

    Thank you,

    • Diane PoremskyDiane Poremsky says

      I don't recall ever seeing a replace option, unless he ran scanpst multiple times and when it made the backup, told it to replace the old bak with a new copy.

      Having it on the shared drive is not good - but before giving up on it, try one of the pst repair tools on this page - they have free trials and will show you what is found before you buy. If the utility can't find the missing mail, it can't be recovered. (If one can't find the missing mail, it's doubtful if any of the others will, so you only need to try one.)

  20. Lesley Barnes says

    I have Outlook for Windows 2013. I use the personal files to store various bits of information. I always slide any new emails received or sent into their respective files down the left hand column of the Outlook page. The personal folder headings are all there but the information stored within them has disappeared in most cases. I have a couple of these folders that still do contain the emails I have transferred into them but most have completely disappeared. I have tried to locate the missing emails again by asking Outlook to search for them but I keep getting the message 'no information found'. I have been on line to try to sort this out and retrieve my information, which incidentally is vital to me, but to no avail. I have tried to 'repair' Outlook. Are you able to help retrieve the lost emails messages please. Thank you in advance.

    • Diane PoremskyDiane Poremsky says

      What type of email accounts do you have configured in Outlook? Are you moving the messages to folders in a pst file stored on your computer?

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