Repair SCANPST BAK file and Restore into PST format

Bharat BhushanSolution Manager
Experts in data recovery from corrupt Exchange mailboxes, SQL database, and Outlook emails.
If you’ve been working long enough with the popular emailing platform- Microsoft Outlook, you’ve probably faced the issues like to restore the .bak file of ScanPST.exe and many more. Here in this post, we will discuss the methods to repair a damaged Outlook PST file and restore the .bak file.

Despite being one of the most widely used email clients, Microsoft Outlook often faces some recurring issues. The easiest way to resolve Outlook problems is running a repair on the PST file using SCANPST.exe to detect and fix minor issues. SCANPST before repairing the PST file creates a backup copy of it on the system. This backup file can be used to extract PST file data in case something goes wrong while repairing the original PST. In this post we are going to explain how you can restore mail from .BAK file.

If you’ve been working long enough with the popular emailing platform, you’ve probably faced more than one issue. Did you know that out of all the things that could go wrong with your Outlook application, more than half of the problems you face with it have their root in a corrupted PST?

SCANPST and PST backup (BAK) files

Microsoft realizes how critical PST files are and that’s why it ships an inbuilt Inbox repair tool called SCANPST.exe with its MS Office suite. Located within the default Office installation folder, this utility can be used to detect and fix minor damages and corruption with PST files so that Outlook can function normally. By default, SCANPST creates a backup copy of every PST before trying to repair it. This backup copy is created with the purpose that if the repair is unsuccessful and the PST file somehow gets further damaged during the repair attempt, it's backup can be used to recover the data stored within.

If you’ve ever been in a situation where you tried repairing a damaged PST file using SCANPST but the operation failed due to some reason or the PST file got repaired but was missing some data after the repair, you might feel the need of extracting the data stored within the PST file backup (BAK file) that SCANPST created automatically. Here’s how you can restore mail from .BAK file:

  1. Locate the .BAK file which can by default be found in the folder of your original PST file
  2. Create a copy of the .BAK file (.BAK) and give the original BAK file a new name with a .PST extension. For example, something like <newName.pst>
  3. Import <newName.pst> into Outlook through the “Import and Export Wizard” as follows:
    1. Launch Outlook and from the File menu, click ‘Import and Export’.
    2. Click ‘Import from another program or file’, and then click ‘Next’.
    3. Click to select ‘Personal Folder File (.PST)’, and then click ‘Next’.
    4. Under ‘File to import’, click ‘Browse’, and then double-click your <newName.pst> file.
    5. Under ‘Options’, click ‘Do not import duplicates’, and then click ‘Next’.
    6. Under ‘Select the folder to import from’, click to select the ‘Personal Folders (.PST)’ file, and then click to select ‘Include subfolders’.
    7. Click to select ‘Import folders into the same folder in’, and then select your new Personal Folders (.PST).
    8. Click Finish.

Limitations of this approach

  • If your original PST file was too damaged to be opened directly within Outlook before you attempted its repair, the above procedure to extract data from its backup might not work at all
  • Even after following the above procedure, you might not be able to recover anything other than what is displayed in the ‘Lost and Found’ folder. Any information that is not present in the ‘Lost and Found’ folder should be considered permanently lost.

A better alternative to SCANPST and PST BAK file

The limitations of SCANPST.exe and PST backup files though significant, shouldn’t hinder you from regaining access to your seemingly lost PST file data. Especially when that data still exists within the original corrupted PST. All you need is a more sophisticated tool which can pull-out all the desired information from PST or BAK files and save it safely elsewhere. In our opinion, Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Repair is the professional software you should trust if you wish to repair Outlook PST files, repair outlook .BAK file, and safely extract critical data from within them. To repair the .bak file you need to rename the outlook.bak file to outlook.pst and then you can start the repair process with the software.

Powered by advanced scanning and repair algorithms, Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Repair software is one of the most reliable PST repair solutions currently available online. The tool fixes all problems within the most severely damaged PST files and facilitates recovering mailbox data in multiple formats like EML, MSG, RTF, HTML, and PDF. Additional capabilities like support for repair of encrypted PST files, option to preview repaired data before saving, compatibility with a number of Outlook versions, and a fully interactive GUI, make this tool the worthiest utility for fighting PST file troubles.


Whenever faced with a damaged PST file, first attempt to fix it using Microsoft’s Inbox Repair utility SCANPST. If that doesn’t work, try to manually restore mail from .BAK file as shown in the steps above. If nothing seems to revive your precious data, without hesitation place your trust in Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Repair software to repair .PST files.

Bharat BhushanSolution Manager
Experts in data recovery from corrupt Exchange mailboxes, SQL database, and Outlook emails.

Comments (2)

Sandeep KumarAssociate Consultant

An inbox repair tool is a good option to repair partially corrupt Outlook data file, but if the corruption is on high level, then one should use PST Repair tool. I recommend Kernel for Outlook PST Repair tool, an eminent solution for Outlook PST issues. Check this video for working demo:
Great one it simply solved my problem in 2 min

Have a question about something in this article? You can receive help directly from the article author. Sign up for a free trial to get started.