How to repair Outlook folders using the Inbox Repair Tool

How to repair Outlook folders using the Inbox Repair Tool

This article describes how to use the Inbox Repair Tool for Microsoft Outlook 2000, 2002 or 2003. If you are using Microsoft Outlook 2007, we recommend you to use the Office Diagnostics tools, instead of the Inbox Repair Tool.

What is an Outlook PST file?
PST files or Personal Folder Files are used by Microsoft Outlook for storing Outlook data, including mailbox files, email folders, contacts or any other personal data related to Microsoft Outlook. Up to Microsoft Outlook 2002 (XP), PST files are formatted according to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) format, which limits the file size to 2Gb. Starting with Microsoft Outlook 2003, PST files are using the UNICODE format which has a limit that is more than 20 GB.

By default, Microsoft Outlook stored these PST files at the following location: “C:\Documents and Settings\USER_NAME\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\”, where USER_NAME is your Windows logon name. The default PST filename for your active mailbox is Outlook.pst, while the archive file is stored as archive.pst.

How do I know if my PST file is damaged?
The regular Outlook error message that notifies you about a damaged PST file is: “Errors have been detected in the file ‘file_path’. Quit all mail-enabled applications, and then use the Inbox Repair Tool.”

The Inbox Repair Tool can only work if your PST file was damaged by Outlook itself or if it was corrupted due to hard disk problems. If for example, your PST file was damanged by a third party add-in, there are little chances for the Inbox Repair TOol to recover your mailbox information.

How to use the Inbox Repair Tool to repair my damaged PST file?
The Microsoft Inbox Repair Tool is a single-file executable program, file named Scanpst.exe. By default, Microsoft Outlook will install the Scanpst.exe file within your Program Files folder, in ‘C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\1033’.

Make sure Microsoft Outlook is not running when you try to run the Inbox Repair Tool.

If you get an error message:

Then make sure you copied the Scanpst.exe file to the right location. If you still have problems running it, then search your hard disk for a file named “CNFNOT32.EXE” then run it: it should unpack and copy the Scanpst.exe file to its default path (‘C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\1033’).

Once you started the Inbox Repair Tool, use the Browse button to select your personal PST file. Remember, its default location is “C:\Documents and Settings\USER_NAME\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\”, where USER_NAME is your Windows logon name. Then click on the Start button. When the scanning process is done, you should see a notification screen.

Make sure you mark the checkbox for making a backup of the scanned file, then click on the “Repair” button. When this process is done, you should be able to properly start Outlook and use your recovered personal Outlook folders.

What if the Inbox Repair Tool doesn’t recover my damaged PST file?
If the Inbox Repair Tool is giving you an error message while trying to recover your Outlook PST file(s) or if you are still unable to start Outlook, then you can try the following solutions:
• If you are using Microsoft Outlook 9x, 2000 or 2002 and if the Inbox Repair Tool returns the following error: “Fatal Error: 80040900”, it is likely that your PST file exceeded the maximum file size of 2Gb. To resolve this problem, see this Microsoft article .
• If you are using Microsoft Outlook under a Corporate or Workgroup environment, then use the Inbox Repair Tool with Corporate or Workgroup option.

Outlook 2007 and Office Diagnostics
If you are using Microsoft Outlook 2007, instead of the Inbox Repair Tool you may use the Office Diagnostics application. You can access it from the Outlook Help menu -> Office Diagnostics. The concept & use is pretty much the same as for the Inbox Repair Tool.

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