Microsoft Outlook’s PST file format is a powerful tool for storing emails and other information. Unfortunately, this data can be corrupted due to numerous factors including malware infections, hardware failures, or user error. When this happens, it can make accessing your data difficult or impossible. 

Fortunately, there are 10 best practices you can use to fix a corrupted PST file and get back to normal functioning.

1. Run the Inbox Repair Tool: 

The Inbox Repair Tool (Scanpst.exe) is an essential part of Microsoft Outlook that comes included with all versions from 2003 onward. This free utility scans your PST file for errors and attempts to repair them if possible. It’s important to note that it may not be able to fix all errors, but it’s a good place to start if you’re having corruption issues.

2. Check for Hard Drive Errors: 

A hard drive error can cause corruptions within the PST file which is why it’s important to check your drive for any potential problems before attempting to repair the PST file. You can do this by running a disk utility such as CHKDSK or Scandisk which will scan and fix any errors found on the drive.

3. Backup Your Data: 

Before attempting to fix a corrupted PST file, it’s always best practice to ensure that you have a backup of important data in case things don’t go according to plan. This includes emails, contacts, calendar entries, and any other data stored within Outlook. 

4. Avoid Data Loss: 

When attempting to repair a corrupted PST file, it’s important to minimize the potential for data loss. To do this, you should use a third-party utility such as DataNumen Outlook PST Repair which is designed specifically to fix corruptions without sacrificing any of your valuable information. 

5. Check for Antivirus Issues: 

Antivirus software can also cause corruption issues with the PST file due to conflicts between different programs or malicious activity by an infected program. Its best practice to ensure that all antivirus programs are up-to-date and free from infections before attempting to repair the PST file. 

6. Use an Outlook Export Tool: 

If the Inbox Repair Tool fails to fix the corrupted PST file, then you may want to consider using an Outlook export tool such as DataNumen PST File Recovery which can be used to recover lost emails, contacts, calendar entries, and other data from a damaged Outlook data file. 

7. Defragment Your Hard Drive: 

Defragmenting your hard drive can help improve the performance of your system by consolidating fragmented files into contiguous blocks on the disk. This process can also help reduce corruption issues since it eliminates unnecessary gaps in between different files which can cause conflicts or errors when accessing them. 

8. Compress Older Data: 

Outlook stores a large amount of data over time, which can lead to a slow-down in performance and corruption issues. One way to help mitigate this is by compressing older email messages and attachments using the built-in Outlook Compress All feature which can reduce the overall size of your PST file without sacrificing any important data. 

9. Avoid Program Conflicts: 

Software conflicts can also cause corruption issues with the PST file due to conflicting instructions between programs or operating system services. To help prevent this, its best practice to avoid running multiple programs simultaneously while accessing the PST file and ensure that all installed software is compatible with Microsoft Outlook. 

10. Install System Updates: 

Outlook relies on many different components within Windows, and any changes or updates to these components can cause corruption issues with the PST file. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to ensure that you have all the latest Windows updates installed on your system which can help reduce potential conflicts and errors. 


Fixing a corrupted Outlook PST file doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow the best practices outlined above. By using Scanpst.exe and making regular backups, you will be able to quickly restore the integrity of your PST file without any major setbacks. If necessary, third-party tools and Microsoft Support can also provide additional assistance when needed. 

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