|MS Outlook has been the most popular email client for computer users for 25 years. Some enthusiasts use Mozilla Thunderbird, but Outlook is by default on every PC with the rest of the Office suite. Reasons for this wide usage have been simple and clean UI, perfect integration with Word and Excel, and superb offline management of data. |
What is the PST File?
Emails, calendars, tasks, and contacts are stored in the Personal Storage Table or PST files. Each time you add an email account to Outlook, it creates a PST file. You could think of it as a local copy that gets synced each time you go online.
Also Read: What are Outlook PST files?
Advantages of Using PST
- Offline access—PST provides access to Outlook even when you are offline. This allows you to read, and respond to emails while on a flight or elsewhere with no connection.
- Portable—PST files can be transferred to any other Windows system by simple copy and pasting. This also makes backup simple and painless.
- Security—It is easier to protect the contents when the data is in a single archival file rather than spread across hundreds of files in a folder.
PST File Problems- Outlook PST File Not Found
Any operating system and software have bugs. The same is true for Windows and Outlook.
You might get a message that tells you – “Outlook cannot be started”, “cannot open Outlook”, and “the set of folders cannot be opened”.
Though the language of the warning might change depending on the many versions of Outlook in operation, it will not refer to “Error 0x800ccc13”, “unable to connect to the proxy server” and “connection to Microsoft Exchange Server is unavailable” (these errors are about connection failure, not PST files).
Reasons for Outlook PST File Not Found Problems/ Outlook PST Not Opening
- File size—Old versions of Outlook cannot handle PST files of more than 2 GB in size. These were created using an older ANSI format. Unsupported versions of Office software can cause the Outlook PST not opening issue.
- Improper shutdown—If the PC was abruptly turned off without first closing Outlook, it might corrupt PS files. If the PST file was open or some data was being written, it is vulnerable.
- Hard drive error—The PST file is a part of the Outlook folder. The particular sectors that hold it might have gone bad due to myriad reasons.
- Malware—Hackers sniff around Outlook folders (what use do they have for your bootlegged copy of The Mandalorian). Any malware that repeatedly tries to gain access to PST might end up corrupting it and result in Outlook PST not working.
Also Read: How to fix Outlook Error “Not Implemented”
Methods to Fix Outlook PST File Not Found
If you have a problem with a PST file not opening in Outlook check these solutions.
1. Check Your Hard Disk for Errors
The biggest reason behind PST file problems and corruption is a faulty hard drive.
A hard drive is perhaps the most vulnerable part of a PC. Other components (CPU, motherboard, RAM) would last 3-7 years if they are properly cared for. A hard drive might knock out in 3 months.
To check the hard drive type CMD into the Search bar.
Do not left click (which will open it for ordinary users) but right click and “Run as administrator”
This will open the CMD window with admin level system32 prompt instead of user level prompt.
Now type Chkdsk <drive name>: like Chkdsk C:
It would scan the drive.
Typing Chkdsk C: /f /r is the best. It would fix and repair the hard disk. The bad sectors would be isolated and Windows would move files to healthy sectors.
Note that the C drive is by default the system partition. The operating system, antivirus, and other software load from this partition.
Windows cannot use Chkdsk on the C partition when it is working and hence it would ask to run at the next boot. When you restart the PC, Chkdsk would run before any software is loaded.
Any other partition can be checked and fixed while Windows is running.
Chkdsk C: /f /r takes a lot of time. You should let it happen overnight.
In the end, it will generate a report that can be found in the Event Viewer.
Type Event Viewer in the Search bar
Right-click and “Run as administrator”
Locate the log and view the result. It will show good and bad sectors, hard disk use, number of files.
2. Use ScanPST.exe
This is the logical next step to fix the Outlook PST file not found error.
ScanPST.exe is a part of Windows and helps check the integrity of PST files. Sometimes Outlook PST file not found error can be fixed using this tool.
To use ScanPST.exe first close Outlook
In the case of Office 2007, 2010, and 2013, navigate to
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office<15,14,12> (this can be Office 15, 14, or 12 depending on the version)
In the case of Office 2016 and 2019, navigate to
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
Right-click and Open the file. It is executable and will launch a program.
Select Browse and locate the PST file.
For Windows 10 and 11, it is located at C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook\
For Windows XP, Vista, and 7, it used to be at C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
Start the scan to find any errors. Repair would fix the errors.
Windows Tools Might Not Work
It is unfortunate but Windows tools such as Chkdsk and ScanPST often do not work.
File repair and hard drive repair in the Windows operating system are not sufficient in this respect.
Otherwise, they might work partially which does not solve the problem. A PST file that was 8% damaged is now 5% damaged but still does not work and shows Outlook PST not found.
Also Read: Easy & Quick Ways to Fix Outlook PST Error 0X80040116
3. Use Stellar Repair for Outlook
This is the best possible solution. Stellar Repair for Outlook is a highly capable PST repair tool that would extract information from any damaged PST file.
Features of Stellar Repair for Outlook
- Complete and easy repair of PST files including attachments.
- Repair oversized PST files and restore all mailbox items.
- Provides Preview option. Retrieve the emails you want and let go of others.
- Possible to recover deleted emails.
- Saves recovered information in RTF, MSG, HTML, and MBOX format.
- Lets you export data to Office 365.
- Compatible with every edition of Outlook (2021, 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, 2002 & 2000).
Stellar Repair for Outlook has an intuitive interface and a 3 step recovery process.
1. Select the PST file
2. Preview the contents
3. Save the selected items
It’s as simple as that.
Also Read: How to get Activation Key for Stellar Outlook Repair?
The PST file is a crucial part of your digital life. It not only holds important contact information but also sensitive data related to business. You cannot afford to use untested software that might irretrievably damage the PST file.
Download Stellar Repair for Outlook and install it now.
The free version lets you scan and preview the contents of your mailbox. Buy the licence from inside the software or online from our website. You are assured of a good outcome with the help of our customer care and support engineers.