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Issues encountered with OST and PST files and the solutions to resolve them

Offline Storage Table abbreviated as OST consists of the offline files that are generated by MS Outlook. These files are the exact replica of those mailbox files that are maintained on the exchange server. Therefore, OST facilitates to gain access to all emails and files even in the absence of network connection. On the other hand, PST file stands for Personal Storage Table or Personal Folders File which gets stored within the hard drive of the system. Whenever an email message is retrieved from the MS Outlook, it is removed from the server and is stored in this PST file on the local hard drive.

Errors and issues of OST and PST files:

As the number of email messages in the MS Outlook increases, the size of the PST and OST file also tends to increase and since the older versions of Outlook have file size limit of 2 GB only therefore upon exceeding that size the PST and OST file is susceptible to get corrupt. However, some other reasons due to which the OST and PST file gets corrupt are power failure, server crash, virus attack, logical errors, CRC errors, etc.

Some errors that pop up when PST file gets corrupt are -
  • Errors have been detected in file 'file_path'
  • Unable to expand the folder
  • The file could not be repaired therefore cannot be reopened
  • The messaging interface returned an unknown error
Manual solution to fix the OST and PST errors:

To get over the aforementioned problematic situations, there is an Inbox repair tool present in MS Outlook which is known as scanpst.exe. At times, when the corruption is superficial or minor the scanpst.exe tool helps to get the access back to those lost OST or PST files. The following steps help to locate the repair tool and perform the recovery:

Step 1: Click Start -> Search

Step 2: Type scanpst.exe in the Search for files or folders box

Step 3: Now, locate the file that you want to repair by either clicking Browse or by typing the file and path name

Step 4: Click Start to initiate the recovery process.

Step 5: Now open MS Outlook using the profile that contains that PST which you have repaired.

Step 6: Click View -> Folder List

Within the folder list, all the Personal Folders are displayed such as Calendar, Contacts, Inbox, Journal, Outbox, etc. Apart from these folders there is a Lost and Found folder that contains all the files and folders that are recovered by scanpst.exe tool.

Resolve OST/PST file errors or convert OST to PST using Third Party tool:

Under the situations when the inbuilt repair tool of MS Outlook fails to recover the lost OST or PST files then a commercial tool can come to your rescue. Nowadays, there are a plethora of them available in the market but it is necessary to choose the one that suits best to your needs. Kernel for OST to PST converter and Kernel for Outlook PST Repair are two of the best seller tools for recovering the corrupt OST files as well as converting them into PST and repairing the corrupt PST files respectively. You can try out the free demo version of these software before purchasing them.

OST to PST Tool