Mistakes When Recovering from a Corrupted Outlook PST File

Corrupted Outlook PST files can cause a great deal of frustration, especially when there is no way to access the information stored in them. Fortunately, there are ways to recover your data and avoid making some common mistakes that could lead to further damage.

Here are 10 tips on how to properly recover from a corrupted Outlook PST file:

1. Don’t attempt to repair the PST file using Microsoft’s Scanpst tool without backing up first

This utility can sometimes repair minor corruption issues with a PST file, but it also runs the risk of causing more damage if used incorrectly or on a severely corrupted file. Always make sure you have backed up the original copy of your PST file so you don’t risk losing any data.

2. Don’t attempt to access the PST with any other application than Outlook

Accessing the file with another application can cause serious damage and make it even more difficult to repair. Only use Microsoft Outlook when accessing a PST file.

3. Don’t delete emails from folders marked as “read-only”

This could be a sign that the folder is corrupted and deleting messages from this folder will only cause further damage. It is best to leave these folders alone and not try to modify them in any way.

4. Don’t compact your PST files if you have experienced corruption issues

Compacting a PST file can sometimes fix minor problems, but it could also make an already corrupted PST file worse. This is particularly true if the original file was already over 2GB in size or had multiple layers of data stored in it.

5. Don’t ignore any error messages that appear

Pay attention to any warning messages or error codes that appear when attempting to access a corrupted PST file. These may provide clues as to what type of corruption has occurred and help you determine the best method for recovery.

6. Don’t use third-party software without first researching its reliability

There are many third-party tools available online that claim to repair Outlook PST files, but not all of them will work properly or even be safe for your computer. Do some research to make sure the one you choose is reliable and not a scam?

7. Don’t forget to backup your PST file before attempting any repairs

Whether you are using Microsoft’s Scanpst tool or a third-party application, always make sure that you have backed up your original PST file before attempting any repairs. This will help protect against any data loss if something goes wrong.

8. Don’t try to repair corruption with an older version of Outlook

If the PST was created in a newer version of Outlook, don’t attempt to access it with an older version as this could cause further damage. Always use the same version of Outlook as was used when creating the file.

9. Don’t try to force open a PST file that is password protected

If you don’t know the correct password for the file, there is no way to access its contents without risking damage. It is best to contact the original owner of the file for assistance.

10. Don’t forget to scan your computer for viruses and malware after a recovery

A corrupted PST could be an indication that your computer has been infected with a virus or other malicious software. After successfully recovering from Outlook corruption it is important to scan your computer with an up-to-date security program just in case any infections were missed before.


Dealing with a corrupted PST file can be a frustrating and time-consuming process, but following these basic tips can help you ensure that any repairs are done safely and successfully. If your PST file has been corrupted, make sure to back it up before attempting any repairs and do some research on the best methods for recovery. Remember to only use Microsoft Outlook when accessing a PST file and never attempt to manually edit its contents. With some patience, your Outlook data should be recovered quickly and easily.

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