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Repair Your Outlook PST or OST file

Revised on

Originally posted on February 13th, 2003

PackRats beware!

I guess by now if you're reading this you probably know that Outlook has storage limits... It's 2 gigabytes or 2,000,000,000 bytes. The reason for this was the early file limitiations of Windows 95.

Anyway, how do you fix it? You have 2 tools available at your disposal.

1) Microsoft's Inbox Repair tool.

2) Microsoft's PST/OST Crop Utility

Using the Inbox Repair Tool
To fix corrupted PST files, you can use the Inbox Repair Tool. However, the tool isn’t always able to repair every PST file. It works by repairing the PST file’s header and then deleting anything in the file that it doesn’t understand. So if a PST file’s header is damaged, as may be the case for corruption that occurs during a version upgrade, the tool should have no trouble making the repair. But if the data within the file is corrupt, the Inbox Repair Tool will likely destroy what’s left of the file. That's why it's always good to make a backup of the PST file before running the Inbox Repair Tool.

Since I don't know which version of Windows you are using, you can do a file search for a file called SCANPST.EXE. Find this file and click the browse button to the .PST file or .OST file and repair it.

Using the Oversized PST And OST Crop Utility
If that doesn't do the trick, then you need the big guns... enter the MS PST/OST Crop Utility.

Another possible cause of corruption is that a PST file has a 2-GB size limit. Once this limit is exceeded, corruption occurs instantly. You can’t initially fix this problem with the Inbox Repair Tool. Instead, you’ll have to use the Oversized PST And OST Crop Utility first, and then follow up with the Inbox Repair Tool. The crop utility works by deleting about 25 MB of data from the file to bring the file back within specs. Use this tool as a last resort, because you can't control what data you lose when using it.

Because of its destructive nature, the tool is unavailable for download. You can only acquire the tool by calling Microsoft’s Product Support Service line at 800-936-4900. Microsoft charges about $200 for calls to this number, and when you call, an operator will ask you for a credit card number. According to numerous sources, if you explain to the operator that you just need a copy of the Oversized PST And OST Crop Utility, but don't need help using the tool, you can get the tool without being billed. You can get more detailed information from Microsoft by reading these Knowledge Base articles: Q197315 and Q296088.

If you're looking for Outlook PST file fixer, I found the new download page on Microsoft's website. Click here. If that doesn't help you, come back here and I'll send you a copy. For more info about fixing your broke Outlook file look here...

If you are feeling nauseous about this endeavor and would like a professional to deal with it, you can burn a CD and send it to me and I'll fix it for you. I charge $95 per hour for these services.






Microsoft Knowledgebase Articles pertaining to repairing PST Files.

Q197315 and Q296088. | 1675 Rollins Road, Suite B2 | Burlingame | California | 94010 | 650.548.1010