Computers and Technology

Outlook PST File Cannot be Opened – How to Fix?

Outlook PST File Cannot be Opened

If you get the error “Outlook PST file cannot be opened” when you try to open the Outlook application, the error does not allow you to access your Outlook profile. This error occurs when there is a problem with your Outlook PST file. This article is a comprehensive guide to help you fix PST file errors and regain access to your Outlook data files.
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Microsoft Outlook is a stable and widely accepted email service provider that is used by a wide variety of technologists and home users. It’s not prone to crashes, but prone to corruption issues. If your Outlook file is corrupted, you will not be able to access or find your Outlook PST data file. “Microsoft Outlook Archive.pst not found” is a common error caused by misconfigured system settings or indeterminate entries in the Windows registry.

Reason Behind “Cannot Open Outlook PST File” Error

 This error can be triggered by various reasons, for example,

  • Improper termination of Outlook causes Outlook.exe to run in the background
  • PST file backup runs in the background
  • Conflicting software or faulty add-ins for Outlook
  • Corrupt or damaged PST file due to oversize, disk error, system or Outlook crash (most common reasons)
  • Sometimes antivirus and antispyware programs delete files without headers, making the PST inaccessible.

Signs of PST File Corruption

Outlook application crash, frequent freezing or inability to start Outlook are some of the effects of PST file corruption. Since there are many reasons for PST file corruption/corruption, users have little control over them. The most common reason is that the PST file is too large and can easily get corrupted due to integrity issues. Therefore, knowing the reasons and solutions behind PST file corruption is the best way to survive the problem.

In short, corruption in the PST file can cause errors that prevent you from accessing emails in Outlook. Therefore, you need to fix the error quickly to regain access to your email.

How to Resolve Outlook PST File Cannot be Opened Issue?

Here are some troubleshooting methods to fix PST files that won’t open.

  • Use Open Outlook in Safe Mode
  • Disable Due to Plugin
  • Fix problems With ScanPST.exe

Solution 1: Open Outlook in Safe Mode

A lot of the time, when there is a conflict between Outlook and another application, the issue “Unable to open Outlook PST file” occurs. Additionally, starting Outlook in Safe Mode will resolve this issue. Therefore, start Outlook in safe mode with the following steps:

  • Go to Start and open run
  • Enter Outlook /secure and select OK
  • In the Select Profile dialog, accept the default Outlook and Choose OK.
  • If prompted, enter your password and accept

Solution 2: Disable Plugins

If Outlook doesn’t start in safe mode, the problem may be with one of your add-ins. You need to disable the plugin by following these steps:

  • In the upper-left corner of Outlook, select File > Options & Add-ins.
  • Uncheck all checkboxes for the selected plugins and select OK.
  • Select file and Exit

Then start Outlook 2019, 2016 or any version of the application and try to open the PST file. It would be great if you could access the data in your Outlook PST file.

However, if you are still facing the problem that the PST file won’t open, it means that the file is corrupted.

Solution 3: Use Scanpst.exe to Fix Inaccessible Outlook PST

  • Close your Outlook application. If it’s running, look for Scanpst.exe on your computer (usually located in version C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\office).
  • Double-click Scanpst.exe.
  • Browse to and select the PST file that needs repairing (you can also enter the location of the PST file in the box and enter the name of the file to scan).
  • Inbox Repair Tool to Repair PST File Errors
  • Click the Start button to start scanning
  • Select the Repair to start the repair process and select Backup scan files before repairing.

This is an easy method to follow. However, there are few limitations like:

This inbox repair tool cannot handle all issues found in corrupted PST files.

  • Since it works directly on the original PST, it can further corrupt the file. If you forget to back up the scanned PST file before repairing it, you will run into problems.

If you are unable to fix the errors using the manual methods above, then just use the safest PST Viewer Tool highly recommended by experts to repair the errors in your PST file.

Instant Solution to Solve the Outlook PST File Cannot be Opened Issue

If none of the above three methods can solve the PST error problem, then use the professional software, one of which is the Outlook PST Viewer Tool. This application is supported to resolve the error “Unable to access pst”. Simply use this tool to open and view your PST files.

The tool not only allows you to view corrupted PST files but also provides you the option to save scanned files. The next time you look at the same corrupted file, you can load it. The software can scan and display corrupted or deleted data in PST files and preview them in healthy mode.

Easy Steps to Open & View Corrupt Outlook PST File

  • Install and Run Outlook PST Viewer tool on your Windows system.

  • Click on the Add File to browse Outlook PST files.

  • Choose the desired Outlook PST emails and hit the Open button.

Open your PST File

  • If you have highly corrupted files, select the Advanced Scan option and click Add File.

Choose Scan Option

  • After that, preview of Outlook PST emails files with attachments.

preview of Outlook PST emails files

  • Provides the option to switch the display mode: horizontal or vertical mode.

switch the display mode

Key Feature of this Software

  • PST emails and contacts, calendars, notes.
    Both ANSI and UNICODE Outlook file types are supported.
  • Corrupted PST files with major and minor corruption can be Open.
  • You can extract selected PST data by applying email filters.
  • Password encrypted PST file is restored and in good condition.
  • This application allows users to view password protected and encrypted corrupted PST files by repairing the corrupted data elements of the PST file.
  • Accurately scan and view Outlook PST emails.
  • Perform hex and PST forensics on desired files.
  • Browse and view corrupted or corrupted Outlook PST files.
  • Offers two scan mode options to easily view PST files.
  • Multiple preview options to fully explore PST files.
  • A simple utility with great features to meet all your needs.
  • Easy installation on Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 and Windows Server 2019, 2016, 2012 R2, 2008.
  • Supports all versions of Microsoft Outlook.
  • If you want to export PST emails to PDF then click on this link.

Also Read: How to Convert Outlook Folder to PDF Format?


With this guide, you can fix PST file errors like not being Outlook PST file cannot be opened. If you find that the errors cannot be resolved through manual methods, open the PST file with Inbox Repair Tool or opt for a professional software solution. You can opt for PST file viewer software to fix PST file problems in Outlook

In many cases, users encountered “Microsoft Outlook archive.pst not found” error code or Outlook data file was not found while working in Outlook 2021, 2019, 2016, 2013 and 2010. This post discusses manual and automatic tools to resolve Outlook PST.

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