Capabilities and Limitations of MS Outlook Inbox Repair Tool

PST corruption may strike anytime and affect your business continuity plan. MS Outlook offers an indispensable tool 'Scanpst.exe' (also known as Inbox Repair tool) to fight this corruption and get back all your lost invaluable mail data. The tool can repair both Personal Folders (.PST) file and Offline Folder (.OST) file in Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007. The repair process involves scanning the corrupt PST file stored locally on your hard drive to verify its file structure. If the file structure is not found intact, the repair utility restores this structure and rebuilds the file header.

Default Location for Scanpst.exe

'Scanpst.exe' is located at 'drive:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE12'.
'drive' refers to the name of the drive on which you installed MS Outlook.

How to use Scanpst.exe ?

To check for and repair errors in your Outlook PST file using this utility, you should follow the given procedure:

  • Close MS Outlook application.
  • Run 'Scanpst.exe' at its default location. You can also find this file using the Windows Search feature, if it is not found at its default location.
  • Specify the name of the PST file to be repaired in the 'Enter the name of the file you want to scan' box. You can also click 'Browse' to find the desired file in your system.
  • Click 'Options' to choose the scan log options.
  • Click on 'Start'.
  • If any errors are encountered, click 'Repair' to start the repair process.
  • From the 'Go' menu, select 'Folder List'.
  • In this list, you may notice a 'Recovered Personal Folders' or a 'Lost and Found' folder. The 'Recovered Personal Folders'comprises the default mail folders and the 'Lost and Found' folder consists of the recovered mail items. The mail folders in the 'Recovered Personal Folders' are generally empty.

Once, the corrupt PST file is repaired, you can see a list of recovered folders in the left pane of your Outlook application. You need to create a new .pst file in your profile and move the recovered items into it, so that they can be used as before.

Limitations of scanpst.exe

Although the tool tries to repair corruption by correcting errors in the internal data structures of the PST file, it may fail to perform complete Outlook PST Recovery.

  • Run Time Error
  • Unable to repair directory structure and headers of PST file
  • Failed to repair Lost And Found folder

In addition, when the PST file crosses the 2 GB file size limit or the file becomes corrupt due to oversizing, Scanpst does not work. This utility repairs the PST file header and can be used to fix header corruption due to a version upgrade. However, if the damage occurs to the data contents of the file, it causes severe data loss.

Alternate Solution, When Microsoft Inbox repair tool fails

You can easily overcome all the above limitations of the Inbox Repair tool using Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Repair. This software thoroughly repairs the damaged Outlook PST to recover all damaged or inaccessible folders and mail items. It facilitates complete Outlook PST recovery and also allows recovering mail data from encrypted PST files. Using this utility, you can smoothly repair and restore a damaged personal folders ('.pst') file that has exceeded its maximum file size.

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