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Recover from Microsoft Outlook PST Corruption


When you launch Microsoft Outlook, an error message prompts you that some folders are corrupted and are not able to open. In some cases, you may be asked to create a new personal folder and receive the following error message:

Error: Unable to display the folder

Possible Causes

Your personal storage table (PST) file is corrupted.

A PST file can be corrupted due to the following factors:

  • Logical Corruption of PST File

    This can be caused by a virus infection or human or software error when the file is opened and modified incorrectly. It could also be that the user improperly shutdown the system (such as a hard reset) before exiting the Outlook application.

  • 2GB PST Outlook File Size Limitation

    This happens when the PST exceeds the size of 2GB. When it happens, the PST file is rendered unusable and Outlook will not synchronize.


Logical Corruption of PST File

Microsoft includes a repair tools along with Outlook, designed to help repair problems associated with Personal Folder (.pst) files and Offline Folder (.ost) files. The Inbox Repair tool (Scanpst.exe) is automatically installed during setup. It analyses the PST and OST file directory structure and item headers and recovers all folders and items and destroy whatever that is unreadable.

To recover the corrupted PST using run Inbox Repair Tool, follow these steps:

  • Close Microsoft Outlook
  • Click Start, point to Find, select Files or Folders
  • Type in: Scanpst.exe and hit Enter
  • Double click on the file listed in the search result
  • In the Enter The Name Of The File You Want To Scan box, click Browse to locate the PST or OST file that you want to check

  • Click Start
  • Now to read the recovered PST file, launch Microsoft Outlook and enter the profile that contains the damaged PST file
  • On the Go menu, click Folder List

    You may see a Recovered Personal Folders folder in the Folder List, containing default Outlook folders or a Lost and Found folder. The Lost and Found folder frequently may contain folders and items that the Inbox Repair tool recovered. When you see such folder, this is the sign that the pst file has suffered some degree of damage.

  • You may then create a new .pst file, and then drag the items in the Lost and Found folder into the new .pst file to backup the recovered data.

2GB PST Outlook File Size Limitation

In the case of the PST file being corrupted due to the 2GB size limit, you will receive the following error messages:

  • Errors have been detected in the file. Quit all mail-enabled applications, and then use the Inbox Repair Tool
  • Outlook.pst can not be accessed - 0x80040116.

The Oversized PST And OST Crop Utility is available for download from Microsoft to solve this. It works with using the Oversized PST And OST Crop Utility followed by the Inbox Repair Tool. The crop utility deletes about 25 MB of data from the PST file to bring the file back to usability and for the Inbox Repair Tool to further the file. The only drawback is that you will not be able to control what data you will lose when using it. Some degree of damage to your data is expected.

To start, follow these steps:

  • Download the tool from Microsoft
  • After downloading the file, execute the 2gb152.exe file package

    The following files will be extracted to the folder

    * Msstdfmt.dll
    * Msvbvm60.dll
    * Pst2gb.exe
    * Readme.rtf
    * Readme.txt

  • Launch the Pst2gb.exe program
  • Click Browse to select the oversized PST file, and click Open
  • Click Create
  • Select the name and location of the truncated data file that you want to create, and then click Save
  • Enter the amount of data to truncate in the PST file

    You receive best results when you set size between 20MB to 25MB. If it does not work, repeat the process and increase the amount of MB each time until the process is successful.

  • When the PST file is truncated, run the Inbox Repair Tool recovery process on the file
  • Replace the recovered PST file with the corrupted copy and launch Microsoft Outlook

    If the file does not open, discard the truncated .pst file, and repeat the process with the original .pst file. Truncate some more data and repeat the process again.

More Information

In an event when you receive the following error message while using the Oversized PST And OST Crop Utility:

Run-time Error '713': Class not Registered. You need the following file to be installed on your machine - MSSTDFMT.DLL

Follow these steps to resolve the error:

For Windows 98/ME User

  • Copy the file MSstdfmt.dll into C:\Windows\System

    This file is found in the package which you have extracted from.

  • Click Start, select Run
  • Type in: cmd
  • At the command prompt, type in:

    REGSVR32 C:\Windows\System\MSSTDFMT.DLL

For Windows 2000/XP User

  • Copy the file MSstdfmt.dll to the C:\<windir>\System32 folder

    This file is found in the package which you have extracted from.

  • Click Start, select Run
  • Type in: cmd
  • At the command prompt where windir refers to the Windows directory, type in: REGSVR32 C:\windir\System32\MSSTDFMT.DLL

This article applies to

  • Outlook 2000
  • Outlook 2002
  • Outlook 98
  • Outlook 97