How to Repair .OST and .PST Outlook Data Files

How to Repair .OST and .PST Outlook Data Files

Dealing with corrupt Outlook data files is never fun. It can lead to Outlook crashing, behaving strangely, or not being able to send or receive email. Luckily, repairing your Outlook data files is relatively easy with a few steps.

How to Find your Outlook Data Files

If you’ve never had to troubleshoot your Outlook data files before, you might have a hard time finding them. Luckily, you can check their location easily. Here’s how:

  • In Outlook, select File > Account Settings > Account Settings.
  • Click the “Data Files” tab.
  • Here, you’ll be able to find all your Outlook Data Files (.PST) and Offline Data Files (.OST) listed with the name of the account they’re tied to.

How to Repair .OST Data Files

  • Close Outlook.
  • Open your computer’s Control Panel.
  • Open “User Accounts” and click the “Mail” option.
  • In the Mail Setup window, click “Show Profiles.”
  • Choose the profile whose .OST file is having issues. If you’re using the default profile, that will just be named “Outlook.”
  • Click “Properties.”
  • Click “Email Accounts…”
  • Click the Data Files tab and select the account with the faulty .OST file.
  • Click “Open File Location…”
  • Close out the Account Settings, Mail Setup, and Mail windows.
  • For the account having issues, right-click the .OST file and delete it.
  • Now reopen Outlook. Outlook will automatically create a new .OST file to replace the one you just deleted. This one will be brand-new and free of any corruption or errors, so the problems you were having should be solved.

How to Repair .PST Data Files Using the Inbox Repair Tool

If you’re getting an error message that Outlook can’t open your .PST file, can’t open Outlook at all, or you have other reason to think your .PST file might be damaged, here’s what to do.

The Inbox Repair Tool is the quickest and easiest way to repair issues with your .PST file. If you suspect your .PST file may be having problems but you’re not sure, don’t worry. You can run the Inbox Repair Tool even if your .PST file ends up having a clean bill of health. You won’t damage anything by running it. Here’s how to do it:

  • Close Outlook.
  • Navigate to \Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE15 folder. The number at the end of the Office file name may vary depending on what version of Windows you’re running.
  • Open SCANPST.EXE.
  • Using “Browse,” choose the .PST file you want to check for damage.
  • Select “Start” to begin scanning.
  • If the scan shows up with errors, select “Repair” to fix them. The program will walk you through any steps you need to take.
  • When the repair is finished, restart Outlook to make sure everything is back in working condition.

Now that you have these Outlook repair skills in your back pocket, you won’t have to stress as much when your Outlook is on the fritz! Just take a few troubleshooting steps to repair any issues with your .PST and .OST files and most of your issues will be cleaned up much more quickly than if you’d spend hours troubleshooting.

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About the Author: Piran Tarapore