Summary:When opening or importing a PST file into Outlook on another system, the error "PST file is not an Outlook data file" may appear. This article describes the possible reasons for this error. Also, the solutions to fix the PST file is not an Outlook data file error will be discussed. It also mentions an advanced PST repair tool to fix the corrupted PST file.
- Why does the PST file is not an Outlook data file error occur?
- Troubleshooting steps to fix PST file is not an Outlook data file error
- Solutions to fix 'PST file is not an Outlook data file' error.
- Some shortcomings of Scanpst.exe
PST (Personal Storage Table) file is an Outlook data file that is used to store emails, calendars and other POP3 account mailboxes on your computer.
In Outlook 2013 and earlier versions, PST file is also used to store emails and other information for IMAP accounts.
Also known as an Outlook Personal Folder (.pst) file, it can be used to archive older messages and mailboxes - not only from POP3 accounts, but also from IMAP and Exchange accounts. More importantly, a PST file can be moved from one machine to another, allowing users to transfer Outlook data to another system. However, users often report the error message “PST file is not an Outlook data file' when opening or importing a PST file in an Outlook application installed on another computer.
The exact error message looks like this:
Why does the PST file is not an Outlook data file error occur?
If you get the error message“DieFile is not an Outlook data file (.pst)” message when trying to import or open a PST file on another computer, this indicates a problem with the import/export process or the file.
Below are some reasons that can lead to this error:
Reason 1 – Corrupt PST file
It usually occurs when the data file you are trying to transfer (or import) is corrupted. The PST file can get corrupted due to any of the following reasons:
- Abrupt termination of Outlook application:A PST file can get corrupted if the Outlook application abruptly exits while migrating mailbox data to another computer.
- Presence of bad sectors on the hard drive:Bad sectors on a hard drive used to move Outlook data from one computer to the other computer can also lead to PST file corruption.
- Oversized PST:PST files can get quite large when you start adding messages with large attachments. And an Outlook data file that exceeds the set size limit (50GB) is easy to get corrupted.
The size of the .pst file in Outlook 2007 is limited to 20 GB.
Reason 2 – Exporting Outlook data to a new PST file from an existing PST file
If your Outlook client is not connected to an Exchange mailbox, all mailbox data is stored in a .pst file. So you don't need to export the data to the Outlook Personal Folder File. This is because exporting data to a PST file from an already existing (opened) PST file will result in data loss and the said error.
Troubleshooting steps to fix PST file is not an Outlook data file error
Before moving to the solutions, follow these troubleshooting steps to fix the issue:
Step 1 – Disable the ‘Read Only’ file attribute.
If you are trying to access a PST file stored on removable media, portable drive or other storage media, check if the status of the PST file is set to read-only. To do this, right-click the PST file, and then selectCharacteristics. Make sure in the Properties window on the tabGenerallythat the read-only attribute is unchecked. If it isn't, disable it and see if you can open the PST file.
Step 2 - Copy the PST file to another location
Try copying the PST file to another location. For example, copy the file from the default location and paste it into the Documents folder on your PC, and then choose File > Open to open the Outlook data file in Outlook.
Step 3 - Check PST file size
If you get the error message “The file is not an Outlook data file (.pst)” message when trying to restore a backup of an original PST file, check if your PST file is too large. Just make sure the file you're trying to access hasn't exceeded the allowed size limit. If this is the case, the PST file may become unstable (or corrupted).
You need to repair a corrupt PST file in order to access the file's contents
Solutions to fix 'PST file is not an Outlook data file' error.
Below are some solutions that may help resolve the issue:
Solution 1 – Try to repair the file using Inbox Repair Utility
As discussed above, corruption of a PST file could be the main reason behind PST is not an Outlook data file error. You can try to repair PST file to access its data. Use the Microsoft built-in repair utilityInbox Repair Tool(ScanPST.exe)to diagnose and repair Outlook data file errors.
Follow these steps toScanpst.exeto use:
- Find Scanpst.exe
SCANPST.exe comes with the installation of Microsoft Outlook. It is located in the Outlook installation directory. However, the location of SCANPST.exe varies depending on the version of Outlook installed on your PC and the edition of Outlook you are using (64-bit or 32-bit). Locate the file in the following locations:
In Outlook 2019 (Office 365)
- 32-Bit-Version: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office19
- 64-Bit-Version: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office19
In Outlook 2016:
- 32-Bit Outlook: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16\
- 64-Bit Outlook: C:\Programme\Microsoft Office\Office16\
In Outlook 2013:
- 32-Bit Outlook: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15\
- 64-Bit Outlook: C:\Programme\Microsoft Office\Office15\
In Outlook 2010:
- 32-Bit Outlook: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\
- 64-Bit Outlook: C:\Programme\Microsoft Office\Office14\
In Outlook 2007:
- 32-Bit-Windows: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\
- 64-Bit-Windows: C:\Programmdateien\Microsoft Office\Office12\
A notice:If you still cannot find Scanpst.exe, tryrepair the Office installation.
- Run SCANPST
Once you find the Scanpst.exe tool, follow these steps to create acorrupted PST fileto repair:
Before running the tool, you must close the Outlook application. Since Scanpst.exe is a hidden file, the "Show hidden files and folders" option must be enabled in the folder options.
- Double-click SCANPST.
- The program will start scanning the selected file. If it shows errors, make sure the “Back up scanned file before repairing” box is checked.
- Click Repair.
- After successfully repairing the file, the message “Repair Complete” will appear. Click OK and try to access the repaired PST file.
A notice:If you receive the PST file is in use error message, close your Outlook application and try accessing the file again.
Some shortcomings of Scanpst.exe
Scanpst.exe is a free repair program, but it has some disadvantages:
- An oversized or badly damaged PST file may not be able to be repaired.
- Several users have reported that the Inbox Repair Tool freezes or becomes unresponsive in the middle of the repairing process.
- You may need to run the tool multiple times to fix PST file corruption errors, which makes the repairing process tedious and time-consuming.
To overcome such limitations, you need a reliable onePST file repair toolto deal with corruption and other errors in Outlook data files.
Solution 2 – Use Stellar Repair for Outlook software
If none of the troubleshooting steps or solutions help, the problem “PST file is not an Outlook data file” to solve, use the softwareStellar Repair for Outlookto quickly restore the file to its original format.
The software is thebest alternative to Scanpst.exe tool.It can analyze severely damaged or corrupt PST files and repair them in a few clicks. Also, it recovers all mailbox items including emails, attachments, contacts, calendar, etc. to a new, usable PST file.
The software has an easy-to-use interface, repairs encrypted PST files, previews recoverable email items before saving, and offers the ability to “search” PST files. These are some of the features that make Stellar Repair for Outlook the best Scanpst.exe alternative.
Steps to repair corrupted PST using Stellar Repair for Outlook software
To scan and repair PST file, download and installStellar Repair For Outlooksoftware. Once installed, run the software and then follow these steps:
- From the software's main menu, clickSearchorSeekin the Select PST file to repair dialog box.
- After selecting the PST file, click Repair to start repairing the file.
- The software will start scanning the corrupted PST file.
A notice:The scanning process may take some time depending on the severity of the .pst file corruption.
- Once the scanning is complete, the software will show a preview of the repaired items on the left pane of the preview window. You can browse and review the contents of a mailbox by selecting the correct folder.
A notice:You can save the information of the scanned Outlook data file by clicking “Save Scan”. You can use the saved scan results to perform PST repair or recovery at a later time.
- To save the repaired PST file, select the optionSave repaired file frommenufile.
- In the Save As dialog box, select the PST file format from the numerous saving options. Then click onSearchto select the location for the repaired (and recovered) PST file.
- click onOKto continue saving the file.
- When the “Save complete” message appears, clickOK.
Now you can find your repaired PST file in the selected location.
Technical requirements for installing the software
Supported Operating Systems:Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP
Required RAM: 2GB minimum (4GB recommended)
Hard disk:250 MB free storage space
Supported Outlook versions:MS Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003 and earlier versions
The PST is not an Outlook data file error can appear when you try to open or import a PST file on another computer. The error can occur due to reasons like PST file corruption, exporting Outlook data to a PST file from an already open (or existing) .pst file, etc.
You can fix the error by making sure the file status is not set to read-only or by checking that the Outlook data file size does not exceed the recommended limit. If the error persists, use the Scanpst.exe tool to repair the PST file. If the tool fails to fix corruption in Outlook data file, then you can take the help of a professional PST repair tool like Stellar Repair for Outlook to repair and restore mailbox data.
After recovering your Outlook Personal Folder (.pst) file, you should check these importantPointsobserveto prevent the error from occurring again:
- Avoid using the Import/Export Wizard to move the Outlook data file (.pst) from one version of Outlook to another. Instead, you can copy the PST file while Outlook is closed.
- Avoid pasting the copied PST file to the default location.
About the author
Himanshu is a Tech Enthusiast & Blogger at Stellar and having knowledge of different languages like German, French, Japanese etc. Apart from this in his spare time he likes playing Chess.