Reasons & Effective Solutions to Outlook PST File Corruption

Reasons & Effective Solutions to Outlook PST File Corruption

Microsoft Outlook can be standalone software for personal email, where commercial or business clients may use Outlook as versatile multiuser software. Users can consider integrating the software with SharePoint to share project notes and documents, send reminders, collaborate or coordinate with colleagues.The Outlook PST files are a complicated binary file format. These files may not be designed to withstand errors. According to Forbes, Personal Storage files or PST files are utilized by Microsoft Outlook for storing emails and some other crucial mailbox items on a user’s computer.

Any interruptions while creating or updating a PST file may lead to a partial update that may trigger corruption issues. The PST file corruption risks go up with the increase in file size. A PST file could get corrupted and damaged if the application abnormally gets terminated when the PST file is open. It can occur when Windows or Outlook crashes or when the machine is abruptly shut down without quitting Windows and Outlook.  

Some firms have a central file server for storing PST files with multiple users accessing those files over the network, knowing that Microsoft doesn’t support this configuration. In such a situation, abrupt interruption in connectivity could lead to corruption. Moreover, multiple users accessing at the same time could pose corruption risks. PST files may get damaged if the overall file size exceeds the upper storage limit. It was a nagging issue in the case of PST files in the earlier editions of Outlook that specified 2 GB to be the maximum PST file size.

PST File Corruption: Top Reasons to Know

You cannot fix PST files unless you know the precise underlying cause of the corruption. There are several reasons for Outlook PST file corruption. The top reasons are categorized into two broad sections, namely Hardware & Software reasons. 

Top Hardware Reasons

Whenever your hardware cannot store or transfer PST file data, there is the likelihood of your files getting damaged or corrupted. There are chiefly three types of hardware issues. They are: 

  • Failure of Data Stage Device: Suppose the hard disk develops some bad sectors and the PST files are stored, specifically on these sectors, then you may encounter PST file corruption issues. You will be able to read just a portion of the PST file, or you may come across inaccurate data full of errors.
  • Defective Networking Device: For instance, the PST file is present on your network server. In such a situation, you are attempting to access the file from the computer of a client through network links. If the network routers, cables, hubs, interface cards, and other devices comprising the network links demonstrate any issues, then accessing the PST file from a remote location may corrupt the file.
  • Abrupt Power Outage: While accessing the Outlook PST files, if there is sudden power outrage, your PST files may get corrupted.

There are several techniques for preventing or minimizing PST file damage or corruption due to hardware issues, for instance, investing in a UPS is necessary to minimize or mitigate power outage issues. Moreover, remembering to always use trusted hardware devices could help minimize the possibilities of data corruption. 

Top Software Reasons

Several Outlook PST file damage cases occur because of software-associated problems.

  • Wrong File System Recovery: Many of you may find it incredible that recovery of a file system could trigger Outlook PST file corruptions. However, when a file system seems broken, you may opt for hiring a trusted data recovery expert or tool for recovering and restoring PST files. We must realize that the recovered files may still possess corruption issues due to the sudden file system disaster. Thanks to the abrupt issues, some portions of the PST file may get compromised or lost forever. Some parts of the original Outlook PST file may get overwritten with garbage data. Hence, the ultimately salvaged Outlook PST file may contain inaccurate data or be incomplete.
  • Lack of Expertise & Efficiency: The recovery expert may lack relevant expertise and experience. Moreover, the recovery tool may not be efficient enough to do the needful. As such, they may save some garbage data by mistake as an Outlook PST file. Since these files with PST extension fail to contain any accurate information, these files are of no use at all. Often the recovery expert or the software has been successful in collecting accurate blocks of data for Outlook PST files. However, the data blocks have not been assimilated in the perfect order. As such, the ultimate salvaged file with PST extension becomes unusable.
  • Malicious Software or Virus Issues: You may realize that numerous viruses will be infecting and damaging your PST files and making them inaccessible at times. It is a good idea to consider installing trusted anti-virus software to secure your Outlook.

Conclusion: Dealing with Damaged PST Files

PST file corruption is so rampant that broad spectrums of paid and free tools are readily available in the market for repairing them. Often, it is feasible to rectify a PST file issue. However, sometimes, valuable data is lost that cannot be retrieved. 

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