Checking PST File Keeps Crashing

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Outlook version
Email Account
I use Outlook 2003. The pst file is saved locally. Today I was doing a search in Outlook and it was taking too long. Instead of waiting, I just closed the program via Task Manager. When I went to restart Outlook, it naturally detected that my file was not closed properly and it had to be checked for errors. Unfortunately I never archived my pst file and it is 19gig!!! Outlook keeps crashing when it tries to check it. I tried scanpst.exe but after it took over an hour for it to check it, it said it found erros and I needed to repair them. when I clicked repair, that program crashed as well.

Is there anyway around having a pst file loaded into outlook without repairing it? My file is not corrupt, it was just closed improperly. I doubt that caused any errors (even though scanpst said it found errors), but even if it does have erros, how do I go about getting it fixed withough the program crashing while fixing it?

I have 4 years of work stuck in that 19gigs! HELP!

Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
The only way to replair it outside of outlook is using a 3rd party utility. I have a list of utilities here - I recommend any of the ones in the Tools in the Spotlight section. At least 2 of the utilities have trials and will show you wants in the pst. If nothing else, you'll find out if the pst crashes then too.

Option 2 is to rename the pst, restart outlook and let it make a new pst. Then try importing from the old one. Or try opening it using File, Open, Outlook Data File. See if it that crashes outlook.

Oh, and if you have plenty of hard drive space, make a copy of the pst, just to be safe.


New Member
Outlook version
Email Account
While Commercial products are sometimes necessary, I found a clever "work around" to avoid having to purchase a third-part product to repair a corrupted .pst file. I am running Win 8 on Outlook 2007. My Inbox was corrupted and the Microsoft scanpst.exe failed to effect the needed repair. The nature of the corruption to the inbox was such that downloads would not complete, and none of the files in the Inbox could be deleted (or moved), but THEY COULD BE COPIED (very important to the fix).

After some experimenting I learned:
1. Outlook can open several Outlook.pst files at once.

2. The "default" outlook.pst governs the responses of the system and indeed, adding a second file now adds a workable "Inbox". You will now have two "Personal Folders" in operation. (A real surprise to me)!

3. While the corrupted "Inbox" will not "erase" it WILL however, "copy". This is important as you will copy files from the old Inbox to the New, as you wish. You can also "drag and drop" any folders with sub-directories you have in the old .pst and just move them to the new. (How wonderful)!

4. As a separate item, I exported the contact list when it did not show up in the new arrangement. (I'm a bit fuzzy as just how I got this to work, however). Do try to export the contact list to a .pst file to effect this. (File > Import-Export > Export to a File... a ".pst" file and finally Point/select the "contact" location, selecting "add subfolders").

For step 2. you need to get into the Tools > Options > Mail Setup > data file Menu. "Add..." a second Personal Folder. It eventually must be set as the "default" file (to make the send and receives operational).

FYI, this "work around" was nearly perfect, but it left me with an extraneous "Inbox" containing files that cannot be deleted. Most importantly the sends and receives are normal, and none of the e-mail account setups needed to be changed or re-installed. My Outlook.pst file was almost 1 GB in size.

Be brave and give it a try, beside things are already screwed up and there is not much to loose. Be sure to back up the original "Outlook.pst" file before you begin, other than that explore, learn and attempt.

May your angst be "shredded" as you again emerge as fully operational!
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