Thursday, April 29, 2010

Can't Import and Scanpst Fails to Recognize PST

Microsoft Outlook PST files are often copied or moved to an external storage media, like CD, DVD etc. for restoration. While doing so, it is recommended to keep Outlook closed or else, the PST file might get corrupted. A corrupted PST, (irrespective of reason for corruption), can be repaired using Outlook's Scanpst tool if the damage has not been too extensive and the file size is below 2 GB. But there are many situations, in which the tool might fail to repair a corrupted PST, which needs to be imported and accessed in MS Outlook.

Following is a realistic problem in which an Outlook user copies Outlook PST to a CD and later reinstalls a new hard disk. After installing MS Outlook on this new hard disk, he/she replaces the newly created Outlook PST with the one copied to the CD. But when he/she tries to access the PST through MS Outlook, the application doesn't recognize the file. On trying to import the same PST post re-installing MS Outlook gives an error that says that the file is not a valid personal folder.

The above behavior indicates PST corruption. Hence, when a user runs Scanpst.exe utility to repair the file, below mentioned error message is displayed:

The Inbox Repair Tool does not recognize the file file_path.pst. No information can be recovered”

Since PST on CD is the only copy, the user cannot access important e-mails and other data stored in this PST.

An Outlook PST should never be overwritten, as the user did in this case. Also, remove the read-only attribute before trying to access or import it. Keep in mind to close MS Outlook when moving or copying the PST to another media. Most of the users find it impossible to access a PST because it gets corrupted during file copy or move operation.

However, to deal with the specific problem, you should try these suggestions:

(1) Because Scanpst has been unable to repair the corrupted PST, you need to check the PST file size. If it is above 2 GB, you can crop the file using PST 2 GB crop utility. But backup the file prior to it, so that this utility can delete some important e-mails.

(2) Use a third-party PST file repair utility.

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