You can use the Inbox Repair tool (SCANPST.EXE) to diagnose and repair errors in your Outlook data file.
You might want to use the Inbox Repair tool in the following situations:
- You receive a message that Outlook can't open your data file
- You receive a message that Outlook can't open the set of folders
- You think your Outlook data file may be damaged
STEP 1. Exit Outlook and browse to one of the following file locations:
- Outlook 2019: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
- Outlook 2016: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
- Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15
- Outlook 2010: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14
- Outlook 2007: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12
STEP 2. Open SCANPST.EXE.
STEP 3. Select Browse to select the Outlook Data File (.pst) you want to scan.
STEP 4. Choose Start to begin the scan.
STEP 5. If the scan finds errors, choose Repair to start the process to fix them.
Note: The scan creates a backup file during the repair process. To change the default name or location of this backup file, in the Enter name of the backup file box, enter a new name, or choose to Browse to select the file you want to use. You may need to run the tool several times in order to repair your Outlook Data File. In some cases, items may not be recovered if they were permanently deleted or corrupted beyond repair.
When the repair is complete, start Outlook with the profile associated with the Outlook Data File you just repaired.
What happens after you repair an Outlook Data File?
In the Folder Pane, you might see a folder named Recovered Personal Folders that contains your default Outlook folders or a Lost and Found folder. Although the repair process might recreate some of the folders, they may be empty. The Lost and Found folder contains any folders and items recovered by the repair tool that Outlook can't place in their original structure.
Create a new data file
You can create a new Outlook Data File and drag the items in the Lost and Found folder into the new data file. After you've moved all the items, you can remove the Recovered Personal Folders (.pst) file, including the Lost and Found folder. To create a new Outlook Data File, see Create an Outlook Data File.
Recover items from the backup (.bak) file
If you can open the original Outlook Data File, you might be able to recover additional items. The Inbox Repair tool creates a backup file with the same name as the original, but with a .bak extension, and saves it in the same folder. There may be items in the backup file that you might be able to recover that the Inbox Repair tool couldn't.