Having issues with a
PST file in Outlook? Here are some tips for you. In this article, we’ll be
showing you 10 tips for troubleshooting Microsoft Outlook PST file problems.
Outlook is the
proprietary e-mail platform of Microsoft, widely used in most corporate
environments. The program, in its uniqueness, uses a storage unit tagged
“Personal-Storage-Table” (PST) to store mailbox items. However, a
rather notorious downside of this storage unit is its vulnerability to
corruption, which renders inherent files inaccessible.
In most cases, a
good number of these errors can easily be prevented. And even when an error
occurs, there are simple avenues to troubleshoot it.
Here are 10 troubleshooting methods to try, if you encounter a PST problem in Outlook. Read on!
Top 10 tips for
troubleshooting Microsoft Outlook PST file problems
1. Cut PST to
One of the most
notorious problems in Outlook is the issue of large PST. This easily creates
lag, resulting in reduced performance. And if left unattended, such PST would
easily become oversized – leading to severe corruption and consequent loss of
To resolve the issue
of large PST, it’s recommended to remove junks (nonessential items) from the
PST folder. However, with a storage limit of 50GB, you can easily create new
PST folders and move some files there.
Go here to configure your PST storage limit.
2. Declutter PST
Storage issues in
Outlook are not exclusive to huge-sized PST. In fact, cluttered storage – with
too many items under a single PST folder – often creates more severe
To troubleshoot this
problem, you can rearrange the affected PST folder by moving some items to
other folders. This action declutters the PST and creates the much-needed
3. Archive PST
method for decluttering an Outlook data folder (PST) is to “archive”
inherent mail items.
Here, you typically
have too many email messages, calendar entries, attachments and journals stored
locally, in a single folder. If such clutteredness is left unaddressed, the
host PST would eventually become oversized, leading to severe corruption.
PST not only troubleshoots performance and storage issues, but also prevents
4. Keep items
stored in the default store
that are configured to move items from the default store often encounter PST
problems. This is particularly common to Outlook accounts configured on POP3,
compared to IMAP.
Nonetheless, if you
must move items from the default store, there is a safe avenue for that on
Outlook 2010/2013/2016/2019. Simply follow the steps below:
- Go to the
home menu in your Outlook.
- Click on the File
tab and then select Info.
- Select Account
Settings > Account Settings.
- Locate the
target POP3 account and click on it.
- Click on Change
Folder > Account Settings.
- Follow the
prompt commands to select a new folder in a separate store.
5. Create new Outlook
If an Outlook
profile is not properly configured, associated PST files would be significantly
affected. In such cases, the ultimate solution would be to delete the faulty
Outlook profile and create a new one.
Outlook profile can be removed in two ways, depending on the mailing protocol
in use (POP or IMAP). On POP-configured profiles, you’d have to export the
mailbox, and re-import it after a new profile has been created.
On the other hand,
you can remove an IMAP-configured profile via “Control Panel >
Mail/Profiles”; without creating any backup. Once deleted, simply create a
6. Power off PC
while Outlook is still running
If a PST file is not shut down correctly, an error message may be prompted to that effect. And in most cases, such a file is rendered inaccessible.
This problem is basically encountered when Windows is forcibly shut down, while Outlook is still in the shutdown phase. It typically occurs when you exit Outlook and shuts down your PC almost immediately.
To resolve this
issue, ensure your Outlook program is properly closed before shutting down your
PC. If you must shut down your PC, do so while Outlook is still running.
7. Move PST from
server to local disk
If your PST files
are connected to a remote server, there is possibility of reduced performance.
To ensure swift retrieval of files from your PST and enhance performance, it’s
recommended to move all PST folders to the local storage (on your device).
For convenience, you
can configure your Outlook account on POP3, instead of IMAP; to ensure incoming
messages are saved locally, rather than on the server.
8. Remove or
disable Outlook add-ins
installed to extend the functionality of Outlook. However, when these add-ins
become too many or outdated, they create serious performance-related issues.
To address these
issues, run Outlook in safe mode (with all add-ins disabled). If the problem
stops, one of the add-ins is probably causing the error; in which case, you can
remove/disable nonessential add-ins.
By default, some
add-ins are pre-installed on Outlook 2010 and newer versions. These add-ins are
generally safe, typified by a uniform/proprietary tag of “Microsoft or
Windows”. So, you can easily identify and disable non-proprietary
To disable add-ins;
- click on the File tab;
- select Options > Add-ins;
- go under Manage list and select COM Add-ins > Go;
- disable add-ins by unchecking the corresponding boxes;
- click OK;
- restart Outlook and sign-in with an associated profile.
9. Deploy ScanPST
otherwise known as Inbox Repair Tool, is the in-app repair solution for fixing
all kinds of problems associated with Outlook PST.
Below are simple
guidelines to deploy the tool:
- Close Outlook
and open File Explorer.
- Locate and
open the ScanPST.exe program.
- Click Browse
and go through your local directory to select the PST file to repair.
- Click Start
to start repair and wait for it.
- Sign in with
the associated profile.
recovery and save to a new PST.
10. Employ a recommended software solution
Often times, PST
corruptions are too severe for the ScanPST.exe program to repair. Hence, a more
advanced solution is often required to safely repair and recover inherent
Here, we’ll be recommending Stellar Repair for Outlook, which is conveniently the most popular Outlook repair tool out there.
To repair a corrupt
PST file using Stellar Repair for Outlook. follow the steps below:
- Download the tool from the official website.
- Launch the tool and use the Browse or Find function to select a PST file(s) for repair.
- Click Repair and wait for it.
- Navigate back to the homepage.
- Click on the Save Repaired File option.
- Select the PST format under Save Options.
- Click on Browse and navigate to the designation path – to save the repaired file.
- Open Outlook and sign in with the appropriate profile.
- Recover the newly repaired file(s).
Which tips have you found useful when troubleshooting your Outlook PST file problems? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.
Microsoft Outlook users may also be interested in this article: 5 Troubleshooting Tips to assist MS Outlook Users