Corrupt very large pst file

Posted on 2012-09-06
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-04-03
Hi I'm trying to help a user who has a corrupt pst file. The file is so corrupt it crashes outlook(2003, xp) and cant be copied from his laptop. The problem is the file is 15gb so the built in outlook scanpst does not work. I've tried a couple of free demo companies todays however its been trying to repair all day and they havent worked. Yes the user needs a smacked wrist for doing this however it is years of emails and the problem has come to me so would be grateful if anyone could recommend some recovery software. many thanks
Question by:michaelhenderson

Expert Comment

ID: 38373050

Expert Comment

ID: 38373053
First attempt at this should be scanpst.exe.

Author Comment

ID: 38373064
Hi scanpst.exe as been attempted and gets so far then fails. It has been indicated @ microsoft that scanpst works for pst under 2GB, this file is 15GB - it cant cope with the size
Restore individual SQL databases with ease

Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SQL Server delivers an easy-to-use, wizard-driven interface for restoring your databases from a backup. No expert SQL background required. Web interface provides a complete view of all available SQL databases to simplify the recovery of lost database


Expert Comment

ID: 38373111
That 2GB limit only applies to Office XP and earlier editions of scanpst and with ANSI formatted PST files.

This is going to be a pain. First you need to run pst2gb to truncate the pst file into 2GB files. Then you'll need to run scanpst on each one. Once that is done, map them back into outlook. Create a new PST that is Office 2003 or newer (this creates a Unicode pst). Then you'll want to drag and drop all the emails/folders into the new PST file.

See this link and this link for a more details.

Be sure to make a backup of the original PST file! It may not be the fastest way to get it done, but its safe and you don't have to buy special software.

Author Comment

ID: 38373156
I saw this but must have got the wrong idea as I thought that this reduced the pst to under 2gb and I would lose data(in the users case a lot, 13GB from 15gb). I didnt realise I could keep running it on the pst until I had individual 2GB. I'll give it a go when back in the office.many thanks

Expert Comment

ID: 38373186
Sorry, I was in the process of editing my comment before you responded. You are correct. pst2gb will trunkcate it down to under 2gb. One of the reference sites was wrong or I miss read it.

Expert Comment

ID: 38373198
Basically all the MS forums say to bring the pst file into an Outlook 2003 or newer and then run scan pst on it. When you bring the PST into the newer Outlook be sure to map it in the newer format. As always backup the PST before doing anything.

Author Comment

ID: 38373397
Hi . The pst file is usedalready with outlook 2003 and wont open with it -crashes immediately.the first thing i did was run a scanpst on it and scanpst gets about 23% of the way and then errors.we're stuck with outlook 2003 at work so have nothing newer.additionally the file cant be copied. one of the first things i tried to do so the user could get his laptop back was to try and copy the pst off the laptop (and i was going to work on it on a spare laptop) it wont copy onto a removable drive or over the network.Thats why i've been having to look for software online as scanpst will not work. thanks
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 38374096
15 GB not really that bad
Unicode PSTs can Support up to 20GB
However, you frequently do see corruption issues as early on as 12-13GB
Especially if these PSTs are being stored/Accessed/ via a Network location and not locally

Its the Non-Unicode PSTs that have a maximum limit of 2GB

I have only ever seen SCANPST work for psts with pretty much minimal corrutption
More often than not, is usualyl been unsucessful

I think i already know the answer but, is the location the users PST is stored backed up at all? If it is, may be easier just to restore the PST back to the last date it worked.


Have you looked at Advacned Outlook Repair?
Have used this before and it does work quite well on PSTs that ScanPST Cannot fix.

IS a bit expensive, but its cheaper than having the drive sent off to a data recovery centre
Plus you can use it again and again

Another one out there i have not used, but heard good reviews on is
OUtlook REcovery

Not sure how your going about repairing or recovering the PSTs
However, make sure the original Outlook session is closed that had the corrupt PST Open
In fact, on ocassion closing the pst and restarting the PC works best

Now make sure you dont work with the original PST
Make a copy of it
This doing this will stop furthur corruption from occuring from trying various apps to try and repair it

Plus you can make a new copy for each application you may want to test

Also, make sure that when using the repair
The PSTs is on the local drive of the PC which is running the repair application

They will not work effectively on PSTs stored on a network drive

Author Comment

ID: 38375084
The ost is stored locally and he hasnt been backing it up so cant restore. There are so many recovery softwares online that we dont know who to trust or can get the job done. The original pst will not allow itself to be copied, thats one of the issues. Outlook is closed and the pst is ran while pst file is local. I'll have a look at the 2 sites you recommend. many thanks

Accepted Solution

redbmaster earned 2000 total points
ID: 38376211
Why cant the file be copied off the PC? Does it give you an error?

The only thing that makes sense is that Outlook would have the file locked still and that would be one of the few reasons why you wouldn't be able to copy the file or move it. A restart should definitely clear Outlook's hold on the file. If that doesn't work go to the control panel, click mail, remove the pst from being mapped, and then reboot the PC.

Featured Post

Concerto's Cloud Advisory Services

Want to avoid the missteps to gaining all the benefits of the cloud? Learn more about the different assessment options from our Cloud Advisory team.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Windows Explorer lets you open cabinet (cab) files like any other folder. In VBA you can easily handle normal files and folders, but opening and indeed creating cabinet files takes a lot more - and that's you'll find here.
In a use case, a user needs to close an opened report by simply pressing the Escape (Esc) key. This can be done by adding macro code in Report_KeyPress or Report_KeyDown event.
This Experts Exchange video Micro Tutorial shows how to tell Microsoft Office that a word is NOT spelled correctly. Microsoft Office has a built-in, main dictionary that is shared by Office apps, including Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word. When …
Whether it be Exchange Server Crash Issues, Dirty Shutdown Errors or Failed to mount error, Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery has always got your back. With the help of its easy to understand user interface and 3 simple steps recovery proced…
Suggested Courses

864 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question