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How to Repair PST Files – Don’t Make these Mistakes!

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For most if not all Outlook users the Outlook.pst file stores much of their digital assets that they’ve accumulated for years - in this quick guide I’d like to show how to repair PST files without making common (painful) mistakes that many Outlook users do when they try to recover this critical file.

Step-1: Close Outlook
Make sure that Outlook application is turned off.

Step-2: Detect your Outlook.pst file
Unfortunately I found out that many Outlook users find it quite difficult to locate their PST file, and I don’t blame them for that, since Microsoft usually ‘hides’ that file in different locations on your PC (pending your Outlook version and Windows platform) and under hidden folders.

If you don’t know how and where to find it I can save you a lot of time and frustration - use this free tip to detect the location of PST files.

Step-3: Backup! Backup! and…Backup!
This is the biggest mistake of all! I’ve seen too many Outlook users who tried to fix their original Outlook.pst file without backing up that file first – extremely risky and irresponsible.

Let me give you an example-

Many Outlook users try to repair their PST file via Microsoft’s free Inbox Repair Tool (Scanpst.exe), beside the fact that it doesn’t work that well, they don’t know that what it actually recovers are only damaged headers of PST files and not the data itself (problem 1).

Moreover, in case of corrupted data it might even delete what it can’t repair… (problem 2).

Bottom line – only after you keep a backup of your Outlook.pst file you can safely apply the following repair process over your original Outlook.pst file.

Step-4: Verify that your PST file is recoverable!
How can you tell whether your PST data is recoverable or not? There is no way to know that unless you scan your entire damaged PST file.

The following PST recovery tool enables you to scan your entire PST file for free.

By the end it enables you to preview all recovered data - quickly go over all that data and see if it has been able to restore all your Emails, contacts, Notes, calendar entries etc.

Step-5: Repair your PST file
At that point ask the tool to reconstruct your entire PST file from scratch, so by the end of the process it’ll leave you with a healthy working PST file.

Step-6: Open your Outlook application
It should be working fine now.

 
   
 

Clarification - This “How to repair PST files” guide applies to all Outlook versions (98,2000,2003,2007,XP,2010) and Windows platforms.

   
 
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  Comments:

SODDU Frederic Apr 2, 2012

Hello,
I tried to repair a pst file with your tool but at the end of the repair process a window says to select folders in the tree view but I have nothing... I used the evaluation version.
My pst file is 3.5GB.
Regards

Admin Apr 4, 2012

Hi Frederic,

To be honest, I'm not sure what you mean, anyway, the evaluation version only shows you what it is being able to repair and reconstarct, for the actual repair it requires a license key. Anyway, if you're not sure whether your PST is repairable or not via this tool, I suggest you to simply ask their support at:

http://www.avanquest.com/USA/aq-you/support/index.html

I'm sure they can help you out with that.
Let me know if you have any further questions that I can help with.


Maribelle Ramirez Aug 23, 2011

I tried the tool and it says my pst "is not a valid pst file". I know that I backed up a pst but I remember having the Outlook open when I did this. Is there way I can recover my information? I'd appreciate any help you can give me. Regards.

Admin Aug 23, 2011

What version of Outlook are you using?
What is the full name of the file that you are trying to recover? Is it __.pst or something else? I’m not sure about what file you are trying to recover and if indeed it is a pst file.

The tool mentioned above enables you to automatically detect ALL your pst files (you might have several) – I advise you first to close your Outlook, open the tool and use this auto-detection option, then backup all detected pst files, then let the tool to recover each PST file separately.


   
 

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