Wednesday, 28 February 2007

How to repair Outlook folders using the Inbox Repair Tool

:: what is the point?

If Microsoft Office Outlook 2000 or higher can not open your mailbox folders and it is reporting that your inbox folders or Outlook PST file may be damaged, then you should use the Inbox Repair Tool supplied by Microsoft. This tinny tool is installed by default when installing Microsoft Office 2000 or higher.


:: What is an Outlook PST file?

Pst files or Personal Folder File are used by Microsoft Outlook for storing Outlokk data, including mailbox files, email folders, contacts or any other personal data related to Microsoft Outlook. Up to Microsoft Outlook 2002(XP), PST files are formatted according to the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) format, which limits the file size to 2 GB. Starting with Microsoft Outlook 2003, PST files are using the UNICODE format which has a limit that is more than 20 GB.

By default, Microsoft Outlook stored these PST files at the following location: "C:\Document and Settings\USER_NAME\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\", where USER_NAME is your Windows logon name. The default PST file name for your active mailbox is Outlook.pst, while the archive file is stored as archive.pst

:: How do I know if my PST file is damaged?
When your Outlook PST file is damaged, Microsoft Outlook will try to automatically repair the damaged file: when you start Outlook , you will see a start window telling you that Outlook is attempting to repair your mailbox folders. However, depending on the problem, Outlook may not be able to automatically repair your PST file and do you will not be able to enter the main Outlook window, as a result you will need to try and fix it using the external inbox repair tool.

The regular outlook error message that notifies you about a damaged PST file is: "Errors have been detected in the file 'file_path'. Quit all mail-enabled applications, and then use the inbox repair tool".

The inbox repair tool can only work if your PST file was damaged by outlook itself or if it was corrupted due the hard disk problems. if for example, your PST file was damaged bya a third party add-in, there are little chances for the inbox repair tool to recover your mailbox information.

:: How to use the Inbox Repair Tool to mya damaged PST file?
The Microsoft Inbox repair tool is a single file executable program, file named Scanpst.exe. by default, microsoft outlook will install the Scanpst.exe file within your program file folder, in 'C:\Program files\Common Files\System\MSMAAPI\1033'. if you can't find the inbox repair tool, you can download from internet.

Make sure microsoft outlook is not running when you try to run the inbox repair tool. when starting it, you should see the folowing screen:

If you get an error message like following one:

then make sure you copied the Scanpst.exe file to the right location. if you still have problems running it, then search your hard disk for a named "CNFNOT32.EXE" then run it. It should unpack and copy the scanpst.exe file to its default path ('C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\1033').

Once you started the inbox repair tool, use the browse button to select your personal PST file. Remember, its default location is "C:\Document and Settings\USER_NAME\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\", where USER_NAME is your Windows logon name. Then click on the start button. when the scanning process is done, you should see a notification screen like the following one:

Make sure you mark the checkbox for making a backup of the scanned file, then click on the "repair button". when this process is done, you should be able to properly start outlook and use your recovered personal outlook folders.

::What if the inbox repair tool doesn't recover my damaged PST file?
if the inbox repair tool is giving you an error message while trying recover your outlook PST file(s) or if you still unable to start outlook, then you can try the following solutions:

  • if you are using microsoft outlook 9x, 2000 or 2002 and if the inbox repair tool returns the following error: "Fatal Error: 80040900", it is likely that your PST file exceeded the maximum file sizeof 2GB
  • if you are using microsoft outlook under a corporate or workgroup environment, then use the inbox repair tool with corporate or workgroup option

thats all pal






1 comment:

Alex said...

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