Scanpst.exe is a free utility from Microsoft designed to repair corrupt or damaged Outlook PST files. You can look for a free scanpst.exe download, but that isn’t very safe as you never know what kind of file you might be getting from the Internet. And it isn’t necessary. Every version of Outlook, including XP, 2000, 2003, 2007, etc. (even the latest Microsoft Outlook 2010) includes a copy of the “Inbox Repair Tool”, which is the name for the scanpst.exe software program.
The problem is that the Microsoft Office/Outlook installer places the repair program in hard-to-find locations and makes it a hidden file. So make sure you search all your system files and you should be able to find it (more details on this below).
The other challenge you will have is that this free tool does a rather poor job of fixing the errors and recovering all the data from an Outlook.pst or Personal Folders File, which is the single file in which all your email messages, contact records, shared items, appointments, journal entries, calendar events, alarms, schedules and other valuable information is stored. Because of that, there are several third-party PST repair tools available that do a much better job at PST recovery and repair.
Fortunately, all of the good utilities have trial versions that you can download and try out on your own Outlook files to see if they will be able to solve the problem better than Scan Pst. It would be nice if there were reviews for each of these programs, but that just isn’t practical. There are an almost infinite number of ways that a PST file can get damaged.
There are known bugs that can cause things like an 0X80040600 error, or you might lose power and have your computer shut down while Office was in the middle of updating your email or contact records. Or your file might have grown larger than the 2gb file size limit some older versions weren’t able to handle. Or a bad bit on your hard drive could alter the encoding of the file, which is a database file under the covers, making it impossible for Outlook to read it properly.
PST Repair Tools
So even though you’d like to be able to find out which is the best *.pst repair tool, and which ones are no good, you really have to try one or more of them yourself and see how they work for you. And if you have a big file, the process might take a while. But if you data has any value to you at all, it might be worth the time, hassle, and expense to buy a tool that can repair the damage, recover your data, and reduce your file size.
Here are some options to consider.
[Note that most of the products listed here advertise that they have a money back guarantee. So if you do buy one of these just make sure you use it promptly and, if it fails to solve your problem, ask for a refund before the 30 days has gone by. Also look for a vendor that provides online support, as these do, since recovering a broken .pst file can be tricky and you might need help.]
1. Stellar Phoenix has been around for a long time and specializes in data recovery in general. They have an award-winning Stellar Outlook PST Repair program that you can download and try out here. Many consider them one of the best, so you might want to start with them first. Stellar Phoenix Outlook includes a password recovery and file splitting utility as part of their package.
2. Another well-established vendor is Nucleus Data Recovery, makers of the Kernel for Outlook PST Repair Tool, which you can download and evaluate from here. Kernel is available in three different licenses, Personal (single user), Corporate (install on multiple machines at the same company) and Technician (use to fix PST files for clients), which might be handy, depending on how many files you need to repair.
3. Data Numen has been around a long time and makes a variety of data recovery products, including their Advanced Outlook Repair (AOR) tool. This could very well be the most expensive option of all, so be sure to read more about it and download the free demo before making a final decision.
4. Disk Doctors has an Outlook Mail Recovery Program with a demo download and more information here. However, they do NOT offer any refund on this product, so this might not be the best first choice. Make sure you evaluate this one fully before you consider purchasing it.