Microsoft Outlook is popular personal information management software in Microsoft Office Suite. According to Wikipedia, it is fundamentally an email client but includes functions like task managing, calendaring, note-taking, web browsing, and journal logging. Microsoft Outlook uses PST data files for string mailbox items like emails, contacts, calendar entries, and more. PST refers to Personal Storage Table introduced by Microsoft. PST files have been used widely for two decades as a perfect storage format utilized by Outlook primarily to store all mailbox item local copies.
The almost-ubiquitous characteristic of PST files, their durability, and their storage capacity supported effectively by Microsoft Exchange are some of the prominent reasons why PST files are popular. PST is often the popular option for archiving and backup. However, PST files are vulnerable to corruption issues. Moreover, the issues cannot be fixed without identifying the specific underlying cause that triggered the corruption. There are many reasons for PST file corruption in Outlook.
Common Hardware Reasons
We come across chiefly three kinds of hardware corruptions or issues. Whenever the hardware fails to transfer or store PST file data, you encounter the risk of files getting corrupted.
Data Stage Device Failure: In the event, the hard disk encounters certain bad sectors, and your PST data files are stored specifically on those sectors, you may face PST file corruption problems. You may encounter inaccurate data marked by errors or may get to read a PST file partially only.
Faulty Networking Device: You have the PST data file on precisely your network server. Suppose you are accessing your PST data file from a client’s computer via network links, corruption issues may crop up. In case the network cables, routers, interface cards, hubs, and other devices containing the network links exhibit any problems, then in such a case, accessing your PST data file from some other computer or a remote location may trigger corruption issues. You may consider an appropriate PST fix to manage corruption promptly.
Sudden Power Outage: If there is an unexpected and abrupt power outage while accessing your PST data files on MS Outlook, corruption may occur. There are numerous ways of preventing or even minimizing the PST data file corruption or damage, for example, investing in a versatile and powerful UPS for mitigating or minimizing power outage issues. Always focus on using reliable hardware devices for minimizing risks of data corruption.
Common Software Reasons
Many Outlook PST file corruption cases take place due to software-associated issues.
Incorrect File System Recovery: Outlook PAST file corruption may occur due to incorrect file system recovery. When you find a file system is broken, it is best to seek assistance from a qualified and reliable data recovery specialist or a trusted data recovery tool to retrieve and even restore your PST data files in Outlook. Due to the sudden issues, some parts of the data file may be lost forever or compromised. Some portions of the authentic PST data file may get corrupted or overwritten with useless or garbage data. Often even salvaged PST files may be containing data full of errors.
Lack of Efficiency or Expertise: The recovery professional may not be highly skilled or trained enough to rectify the issues. He may lack experience or relevant expertise. As such, some garbage data may be saved by mistake in your PST file. There may be occasions when the recovery tools or recovery specialists have identified accurate data blocks but have failed to assimilate them in the correct order. As a result, the salvaged file is eventually unusable.
Virus Attacks or Malicious Software Issues: It is crucial to realize that your PST data files may get infected by viruses making them corrupt and inaccessible from time to time. You should invest in and install reliable and reputed antivirus software for securing your Outlook.
Manual Methods of Fixing Damaged or Inaccessible PST Files
Some of the most effective and recommended methods of fixing PST file corruption are discussed below:
- Start running outlook in the ‘safe mode’ to resolve the error, provided there is low-level corruption. It is an indication of faulty add-ins. It is recommended by experts to start disabling the add-ins once you run Outlook in the ‘safe mode’.
- Examine the firewall settings. Often wrong firewall settings can make your PST data files inaccessible. Moreover, some apps in the background may impede the smooth working of Outlook. You may disable or turn off your Windows Firewall for a while and verify if your PST file can be accessed.
- Use the trusted Inbox Repair tool for repairing corrupted PST files. It is in-built PST file repair and recovery software provided by Microsoft.
PST file damage or corruption is so widespread that you have access to a wide range of free and paid Outlook PST repair and recovery tools. Today, it is possible to rectify and recover PST files completely without losing data. However, on some occasions, valuable data may be lost forever and cannot be retrieved.