'Outlook.pst file cannot be opened' error while accessing PST file transferred through network

Published: 15th June 2010
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Many organizations use Microsoft Outlook e-mail client to facilitate communication among its employees. The Outlook stores e-mails, calendars, contacts, journals etc in a .pst (Personal Storage File) for each profile. You can transfer a .pst file from one machine to another using a USB, or CD etc. But when administrators use a network to share a .pst file, it becomes quite vulnerable to corruption. In such events, it becomes necessary to perform PST Recovery in order to access the important e-mails and other data. In fact it is unsupported by Microsoft if you store or share your .pst file over a network.

As a practical case, you may encounter the following error while accessing your .pst file which was transferred through a network:

"Outlook .pst file cannot be opened"

As a result, you are not able to access any component of your .pst file. Moreover, it indicates that there is something wrong with the .pst file.


The above error could have surfaced in the following scenarios:

1.If your .pst file has got corrupted.
2.Or your .pst file could have got damaged due to the incompatibility of the software versions on both systems (For instance, you transfer a .pst file created with Outlook 2000 on a Windows 2003 machine to a Windows XP machine which has Outlook 2007 installed)


If your .pst file has been damaged due to any of the above reasons, it becomes necessary for you to perform pst recovery by repairing the damaged .pst file using scanpst.exe. To recover PST you can execute the following steps:

1. Click Start, go to Search.
2. Click All files and folders link and then type scanpst.exe.
3. Click the Search button. After the search ends, you can view the scanpst.exe file in the result.
4. Double-click the scanpst.exe file. You will be asked to browse the location of damaged Outlook .pst file.
5. Click the Browse button to locate the damaged .pst file. You can also locate the PST file in different operating systems by following the below given paths:

Windows 98 or Windows Me: Disk Drive > Windows > Local Settings > Application Data

Windows NT 4.0: Disk Drive > WINNT > Profiles >username > Local Settings >Application Data

Windows XP or Windows Server 2003: Disk Drive > Documents and Settings > username >Local Settings >Application Data >Microsoft >Outlook

Windows Vista: Disk Drive > users > username > AppData > Local >Microsoft >Outlook

6. Hit Start button, the scanpst.exe will start repairing the corrupt or damaged .pst file. After the completion of process, start Outlook and you will see all recovered folders. The next step would be to create a new .pst file and use the recovered folders.

It has been observed that Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe) doesn't always fix a damaged .pst file and you have to rely on a third-party pst recovery software.

Such PST Recovery Tool employ improved and effective scanning algorithms and repair corrupt or damaged Outlook PST file.

Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Repair is an easy-to-use utility which repairs a corrupt pst file and recovers all its components, irrespective of the complexity of the damage. The pst file recovery software supports Microsoft Outlook 2007, 2003, 2002 and 2000.

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