Discussing Repair Mechanism of ‘ScanPST’ and Issues causing Data Loss in MS Outlook

25 Jan

PST corruption is kind of a challenge for those whose mailboxes are always found bloating with messages. Oversizing of Outlook data files had a raised a few concerns in the past. With the support for UNICODE formatted PSTs in MS Outlook 2003, the problem seems to have disappeared permanently. However, there are other issues that may cause damage to your personal folders file, including disgraceful system shutdowns, abrupt termination of Outlook, application errors, and the like. To correct errors in Outlook PST, Microsoft has provided users with an inbuilt utility ‘Scanpst.exe’ or  Inbox Repair tool.

Some typical functions of Inbox Repair tool are listed below:

  • The Inbox Repair tool checks for corruption in the PST file by analyzing the file directory structure and item headers. It attempts to recover all folders and items.
  • If the tool was successful in repairing the file, it implies that the problems were found and were subsequently fixed by the scan.
  • The tool attempts to convert all types of files with ‘.pst’ extension to a mountable Outlook personal folders file.
  • The tool backs up all data in the PST file before starting with the repair process.

Corruption usually hits the internal data structures of an Outlook PST. The Inbox Repair tool tries to validate these structures in order to fix the issue. Your Outlook email database (i.e. PST file) comprises a number of low-level objects, such as BTrees and reference counts. These data structures are repaired by ‘ScanPST‘. They have no idea of the upper-level structures, such as emails, tasks, calendar items, etc.

If the damage is limited to a specific block of the structure, the tool removes that block. If that block is associated with an item in your PST, the item will be deleted once it is validated. These actions are recorded in the ScanPST log file. At a higher level, every folder and message in your PST is verified and validated.

In case the Inbox Repair tool fails to fix corruption in your PST file, you should resort to professional Outlook PST Repair tools. These advanced utilities scan the damaged Outlook data file to recover every piece of lost or inaccessible information, including email messages, contacts, attachments, notes, and calendar items. With the help of these tools, you can recover emails from encrypted or password-protected PST files. In addition, they support all the latest versions of Outlook, including MS Outlook 2010, 2007, 2003, 2002, and 2000.


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