If your Outlook starts to run extremely slow, or you constantly get weird error messages when using it, chances are the Outlook PST (Personal Storage Table) file has broken or corrupted. How to fix a problematic .pst file and recover all lost Outlook items? The easiest way is to use a pst repair tool.
There are quite a few programs on the market that claim to be able to repair corrupt PST files. But are they really safe to use? More importantly, do they work as they describe? We’ve tested all them out, and in this article, we’ll show you the best pst repair tools that can help recover your inaccessible Outlook data, emails, calendars, tasks, contacts, etc.
Why Use PST Repair Software?
Outlook, as we all know, is part of the Microsoft Office Suite (together with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, etc.). As long as you are on a PC that runs Windows 10, you probably use the Outlook email client to manage your emails. While Outlook is a very convenient productivity tool, things can go wrong with this application, just like many other Windows apps.
Maybe you’ve experienced some of these situations: Outlook got terminated unexpectedly due to computer power failure, the program crashed due to a bug, even worse some viruses or malware attacked your computer and affected all applications you installed. All these could corrupt or damage your Outlook .pst file.
Typical symptoms of such file corruption include (but not limited to) errors like:
- “the file couldn’t be found”
- “.pst could be accessed – 0x80040116”
- “the file or directory is corrupted or unreadable”
- Outlook app can’t be opened, or runs very slow and crash more often, and other issues.
If any of the situations sound familiar to you, it’s time to fix the file and restore your personal information. Also, you’d better act as soon as possible in order to avoid a worse situation.
Best PST Repair Software: What to Look for?
Disclaimer: there are no industry standards to evaluate the performance of a third-party pst recovery software. The factors we choose as seen below are mostly based on 1) our own experience in using each program and 2) the information provided by each developer/owner and 3) the expertise of the Outlook expert users with whom we consult. As such, the criteria and recommendations we come up with are our own opinions.
Security: every piece of third-party software installed on a Windows PC should not contain viruses or malicious processes. We test this by downloading and uploading the .exe file to Comodo File Analysis Center. Once it’s diagnosed to be clean and risk-free, we install the app for further evaluation.
Repair Quality: the best pst repair tool should include features or functions to handle various Outlook PST file damage or corruption scenarios, and recover as many types of files as possible. Further, since every such program involves a scanning procedure, it’s ideal that the process is time-efficient. Most of us don’t want to wait two hours simply watching the scanning bar move like a snail.
Compatibility: it’s also important that such software supports all Outlook versions available such as 2007, 2010, 2013 & 2016. Also, the program can run under major Windows operating systems like Windows 10.
Help & Support: fixing a broken/corrupt pst file may require you to possess a certain level of technical skills. A great pst repair tool should have an easy-to-use software interface (UI/UX), provide sufficient instructions or tutorials to avoid any confusion, and be able to reach out to if users have any questions.
Best PST Repair Tools: Our Picks
Please note: the programs recommended below have been tested by our team, and they are free of virus and malware.
1. Microsoft’s Outlook Inbox Repair Tool
Also known as ScanPST or Scanpst.exe, The Inbox Repair Tool is built in on your computer when you install the Microsoft Outlook application. While it’s not really the tool you’ll use to fix a corrupt/damaged PST file, but it usually works well for smaller issues. Therefore, it’s the first tool we recommend you to use if you encounter any Outlook issues. It’s free and easy to use. If ScanPST doesn’t fix the problem you are facing, try the options below.
2. Stellar Repair for Outlook
Stellar Repair for Outlook is the most powerful PST repair tool out there based on our test. It outperforms the competition thanks to its high repair rate. Not only the program scans, repairs a corrupt PST file and restores all types of content (emails, attachments, calendars, contacts, tasks, notes, journals, etc.), you can also use it to quickly re-import all emails back into Microsoft Outlook from the new PST file it generates. We highly recommend this software. It supports all MS Outlook versions and it’s compatible with major Windows OS.
3. Remo Repair Outlook PST
Remo Repair Outlook is another excellent option when ScanPST.exe doesn’t work out. The software incorporates non-destructive mechanism during the entire scanning and fixing process; it won’t alter your source PST file, so it’s extremely safe to use. Also, the program can handle a PST file that’s more than 2GB in size which many other tools don’t support. Remo can run under any Windows-based PCs and it supports Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 & 2016.
While the PST repair tools we recommended above are great in fixing and recovering your lost Outlook content, it’s not 100% guaranteed that you’ll be able to restore all you want. Plus, a decent amount of time and energy need to be input. Therefore, it’s best that you also back up all digital data that is important to you — Outlook files included. Remember, backup is king in the digital age, and it will save you lots of headaches if data disaster happens.
Jessica is the co-founder and content manager. She has been fascinated by the startup culture in Silicon Valley and she loves building things from zero to one. When she is not writing, she loves getting close to nature and shoot photos with her iPhone and Canon EOS 80D.