ScanPST results discarded?

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Jennifer Murphy

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 64 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
I just ran ScanPST against my PST file (old ANSI format) following the instructions in MSKB 272227 ( The program took almost 30 minutes to run, including the repair. When it finally finished, the PST file had increased in size by about 68 MB (from 1,904,657 KB to 1,972,800 KB). In the process, it created 2 new files:

  1. outlook.bak. Another exact backup of the PST file before the scan. I had made my own backup copy and confirmed that they are identical at the bit level.
  2. outlook.log. A text file containing 235,835 records.

The video then told me to restart Outlook, which I did. It took over 6 minutes to load. Outlook is normally fairly slow on my machine, which is 6 years old, but not that slow. It usually starts up in a minute or so.

The video said there should be a list of the recovered files in the navigation panel and a folder named “Lost and Found”. When Outlook finally came up, I could not find either one. The folder list looked exactly as it did before the scan.

I then checked the folder containing the PST file. The time stamp had changed to the current time and size had returned to the identical size it was before the scan (1,904,657 KB). A bit-by-bit compare showed that it is not identical to the backup.

Now I am not sure what to do. I did this as part of a procedure to convert this old ANSI PST file to Unicode. I have already created a new Unicode PST, which is sitting empty ready for me to move the data over from the old ANSI PST. I would really like to have a clean scan before I move any data over.

Is the problem that the PST file is so close to the 2GB limit? Should I move the data over to the new PST file and then run ScanPST the new PST?

Thanks for any help...
Here's an update.

I decided to try compacting the old ANSI PST first. It took almost 6 minutes. The file decreased from 1,904,657 to 1,892,753 saving only 12MB.

Thinking that was not enough of a reduction to make a difference, I decided to move some data to the new, empty Unicode PST and then rerun ScanPST.

From inside Outlook, I selected one of my top-level folders and executed the Move command. (I use a keyboard shortcut. I'm not sure whether it's alt+e,m or alr+t,m and I can't check it right now because Outlook is busy.)

The Move took about 17 minutes. When complete, the new PST file grew in size to 606,873. Oddly, the old one grew to 1,913,089.

Next I decided to compact the old PST again. It ran for an hour and ten minutes. There was no progress bar or any indication whether it was running or not except that the disk light on the computer was flashing away. When it was finished, the size decreased of the PST file decreased from 1,913,089 to 1,321,361 for a reduction of 591,728, or almost as much as the new one increased.

Now I'll try the ScanPST again -- on both the old and new PST files.

Any comments or suggestions appreciated.
You really don't need to scan or compact the old pst. scanpst will always find errors and should only be used if there is a problem.

17 minutes is about right for moving that much stuff - it's a slow process.
You really don't need to scan or compact the old pst. scanpst will always find errors and should only be used if there is a problem.

A couple of websites recommended ScanPST to avoid moving corrupt data to the new PST. Do you disagree with that?

I have been having problems, but I thought it was due to the old format PST being close to the 2GB limit. Are you saying that ScanPST can be wrong or cause problems? Or just that it's unnecessary?

Do you think I need to run ScanPST on the new PST? I just moved over 600 MB of data from the old PST that had not been checked.

17 minutes is about right for moving that much stuff - it's a slow process.

What about an hour to compact the old PST?
I think your problems were due to the file size and scanpst is unnecessary, especially to do over and over, or to run against the new pst. Outlook will fix items that are slightly corrupt when they are moved, it won't move anything that is seriously corrupt.

I would not use scanpst on the new pst.

An hour is a little long for 600 MB - but there could be extenuating circumstances like large files or the computer was doing too many things at once.

I compacted a 50 GB pst once. It took 12+ hours. I had several multi-GB messages that were deleted and I believe they were why it took so long. I gave up after 12 hours (left it run overnight) and it only went down a few GB, about the size of one of the messages. I gave up and decided to see how long it would take if i let outlook do it. Outlook only compacts when the computer is idle - and it took about 3 weeks.
It looks like you were right (not that I doubted it). I copied the rest of the folders to the new PST without any problems.

The new PST is quite a bit smaller than the old one was. The old one was over 1.9 GB. The new one is 1.65 GB. I just noticed that my contacts are not copied over, so that may be most of the difference.

Is there any special way to move the contacts over to the new PST? I tried moving the Contacts folder, but the Move option is greyed out. I tried selecting all of the contacts (Ctrl+A). The Move options is active for that. Can I just move them the same way I did the contents of the old Inbox?

Also, when I open the Contacts folder in the old PST, the view is changed. I used to be able to type a last name and have the screen locate the nearest item. Now it opens the current item for data entry.

I did run into a problem trying to move the contents of the Drafts folder. I got the warning message shown in the attached screen shot. How can I move those messages?

I also noticed that all of my views are changed. Is there a way to preserve the views?

Thanks for all your help.


  • Outlook 20130913 Warning copying Drafts folder contents.jpg
    Outlook 20130913 Warning copying Drafts folder contents.jpg
    22.2 KB · Views: 536
Select the contacts, then either drag or use the Move to (or Copy to) Folder command - that should be how you moved the inbox.

Views are stored in the default data file - if you set the old pst as default, you can create copies of the old views that adds them to the new pst. Use methods 3 at copy-outlook-custom-views - you'll be copying from the old pst to the new one though.
Select the contacts, then either drag or use the Move to (or Copy to) Folder command - that should be how you moved the inbox.

That worked. Thanks.

Now all I need to do is get the views right. I couldn't get the Method 3 you recommended to work. I'll talk about that in another post.
Views are stored in the default data file - if you set the old pst as default, you can create copies of the old views that adds them to the new pst. Use methods 3 at copy-outlook-custom-views - you'll be copying from the old pst to the new one though.

Setting the old PST as the default did make a difference, but somewhat different than what I thought you meant. I tried to follow Method 3 in the referenced link, but couldn't understand the instructions. For one thing, it does not say anything about which PST should be the default, which you seem to indicate is important. I think the steps may be incomplete or missing crucial information. Or I am just too dense to understand them.

All I want to do is get the new Contact list to look like the one did in the old PST. It was a simple Phone List with one line per item. The first column was the File As field, the second was the Full Name, then Company, Business Phone, Mobile Phone, etc.

All of this is easily reset. The critical feature that I cannot reproduce is the "auto-locate" setting. I don't know if that's the right term. Before I did this conversion, if I typed a letter ("d"), the list would be positioned at the first item that started with "d". If I then typed an "u" (without waiting too long), the screen would be positioned at the first entry that stared with "du". In the new PST, if I click on any entry, it is opened up for data entry so that if I type anything, it replaced the data in that field, which is horribly error prone.

If you can tell me how to get the "auto-locate" setting, the rest of this will be unnecessary.

I did have what seemed to me like an odd result. With your help, I was able to create a new (Unicode) PST and copy over all of the message folders including the Inbox. I then made it the default and turned off the Work Offline setting. That was yesterday. Outlook has been happily retrieving messages to the Inbox of the new OST and the old PST has been steadily shrinking, as you predicted, without me doing a compact.

After that was working, I noticed that I had not copied over the contacts. Again, with your help I got them copied over and that's when I notice that the view was slightly different. It's still a simple Phone List view with the same columns in the same order. It just doesn't have the auto-locate feature. This is true for the contacts in both the new (Unicode) and old (ANSI) PST files.

This is with the new PST being set as the default. Following your suggestion, I changed the default PST to the old PST. After restarting Outlook, I was surprised to find that the Contact view in the new PST is now correct (the way it was) with the auto-locate feature working. But the Contact list view in the old PST was still wrong (missing the auto-locate feature). I switched the default back and forth a couple of times and the results were always the same. This was both encouraging and puzzling. I cold not figure out why the correct (old) view would be applied to the new Contact folder and not the old Contact folder.

I decided to try the Method 3 procedure, but ran aground in a few places. I am getting close to the 4,000 character limit, so I'll post my experiences with Method 3 in another message.
Views are stored in the default data file - if you set the old pst as default, you can create copies of the old views that adds them to the new pst. Use methods 3 at copy-outlook-custom-views - you'll be copying from the old pst to the new one though.

I would like to know how to copy views. I may need it in the future.

I've reproduced the Method 3 steps below and added my comments. Can you tell me where I went wrong?

1. Add a new pst to the (File, New, Outlook Data File

This appears to be incomplete. I assume it means to add a new PST to the active data files. I have already created a new PST and it is active, so I assumed I didn;t need to do anything more.

2. Add folders to the pst for each type of view you need to copy. (One folder each of Mail, Calendar, contacts, etc)

The new PST already has a Contacts folder, so I assumed that I didn't need to do anything more.

3. Select the first new folder.

Now I am confused.

A. It doesn't say which PST should be set as the default. I assume it is the old one since that's the one that had the views before I started this process and you said that the views are taken from the default PST. So I set the old PST as the default. It would be helpful if the instructions were more complete.

B. I assume it means to select a folder in the new PST, so I selected the Contacts folder in the new (Unicode) PST. As I pointed out in my previous post, in this configuration, with the old PST set as the default, this Contacts folder already has the correct view.

4. Open the Define views dialog

I clicked on View | Current View | Define Views.... I got a dialog box entitled "Custom View Organizer". (It would be helpful if the instructions provided the steps to the correct dialog box and provided the name so I know I am in the right place.)

5. Select the view you want to copy to the new pst and click Copy.

Now I am confused again.

A. Since I am already in the new PST (at least that's where I was when I accessed this dialog box), the "copy to the new pst" is confusing to me. I assume what is happening is that it is accessing the active views and they are stored in the default PST and it doesn't matter what PST you were "in" when you accessed this dialog box. If this is true, it would be helpful to say something to that effect.

B. I wasn't sure which view to select. The top entry was named "<Current view settings>". Since I was in a view with the settings I want to copy, I assumed I should select this one, so I did and then clicked Copy.

I got a little dialog box like the one in the instructions. The "Name of new view:" field contained "Copy of Phone List 2". I was surprised to see the "2" at the end. Then I noticed that there was an entry in the list without the "2". I tried this a few times, so I must have created one previously. I assume I can delete them later.

6. Select one of the "This folder..." options

I selected the "visible to everyone" option.

7. Change the view name, if desired.

I did not change the name.

8. Click Ok.

When I did that, I got another dialog box entitled "Customize View: Copy of Phone List 2". This is not mentioned in the instructions. I assumed that if I just clicked OK, it would keep all of the settings from the old view. It would have been helpful if this has been mentioned in the instructions.

It also doesn't say anything about closing the Custom View Organizer panel.

9. Repeat for each view you want to copy.

Since I only had one folder to change, I closed everything, set the new PST as the default, and restarted Outlook. When I came back up. The view had not changed.

I tried to follow the instructions as closely as I could. I was confused at several points. Perhaps I made the wrong assumptions.

Any suggestions?
From the sounds of it, the views are nothing special and you won't need to copy them from the old pst. I'm out of town, but in the morning, I will try to figure out what you need to do to the 'type ahead' feature back.
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