Easy ways to repair a corrupted PST file

If you run into problems with broken PST files when trying to move email, you have a choice of fixes.

When I try to move certain email messages into folders, I keep getting this error message: "Cannot move the item....

Errors have been detected in the file. C:\users\Todd\documents\Outlook files\Outlook.pst." I run the repair tool, but nothing changes. Why?

ScanPST.exe, otherwise known as the Inbox Repair Tool, is your best chance to repair a broken or corrupted PST file. You mention that you've run it, but first make sure you've definitely scanned and subsequently run the repair against the corrupted PST file. You'll find more details on how to locate scanpst.exe here, and you can also find instructions on how to use it to remove corrupted items on Microsoft's support site.

If you already went through these steps once, don't be afraid to try a number of times. It's not unheard of for scanpst.exe to take a few passes to resolve issues. If you still have no luck and need to use another method, you could try PST2GB.exe. This tool truncates oversized PST files, and it could work in this situation. But, remember, it only works with ANSI (non-Unicode) PST files. Download PST2GB.exe from the Microsoft download center and use it as described in the Microsoft Support guide. This will effectively copy your under-2 GB PST file, and it might recover the information.

The final thing to try is to use your Exchange Server. Move the PST file to a File Share the Exchange Trusted Subsystem security group has access to, and use the New-MailboxImportRequest cmdlet in Exchange 2010 or Exchange 2013 to import the data into an Exchange mailbox. This might not work, but it's worth a try.

If none of these techniques work, you might not be able to recover individual messages. If you're using that broken or corrupted PST file for any other important data, now is the time to copy what you can elsewhere. Exchange data is best in Exchange.

This was last published in May 2014

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