There are so many reasons that will let your Outlook PST file corrupted or damaged. We classify them into two categories, i.e., hardware reasons and software reasons.
Whenever your hardware fails in storing or transferring the data of your Outlook PST files, the PST files will likely get corrupted. There are mainly three types:
- Data Storage Device Failure. For example, if your hard disk has some bad sectors and your Outlook PST file is stored on these sectors. Then maybe you can only read part of the PST file. Or the data you read are incorrect and full of errors.
- Faulty Networking Device. For example, the Outlook PST file resides on the network server, and you try to access it from a client computer, via network links. If the network interface cards, cables, routers, hubs and any other devices constituting the network links have problems, then the remote access of the PST file may make it corrupted.
- Power Failure. If a power failure happens when you are accessing the PST files, that may leave your PST files damaged.
There are many techniques to prevent or minimize the Outlook PST file corruption due to hardware problems, for example, UPS can minimize the power failure problems, and using reliable hardware devices can also reduce the chances of data corruption.
Also many Outlook PST file corruptions occur due to software related issues.
- Incorrect File System Recovery. You may find it is unbelievable that a file system recovery may cause PST file corruptions. But in fact, sometimes when your file system is broken, and you try to hire a data recovery tool or expert to recover the PST files on it, the files recovered may still be corrupt, because:
- Due to the file system disaster, some parts of the original PST file are lost permanently, or overwritten by garbage data, which makes the final salvaged PST file incomplete or contain incorrect data.
- The recovery tool or expert doesn’t have enough expertise that it/he may collect some garbage data and save them as a file with .PST extension. As these so-called .PST files don’t contain any valid data of the Outlook files, they are totally useless.
- The recovery tool or expert has collected the correct data blocks for the PST file, but has not combined them in a correct order, which also makes the final salvaged PST file unusable.
Therefore, when a file system disaster occurs, you should find a good data recovery tool/expert to recover your PST files. A bad tool/expert will make the situation worse instead of better.
- Virus or Other Malicious Software. Many viruses will infect and damage the Outlook PST files or make them inaccessible. It is highly recommended to install quality anti-virus software for your Outlook email system.
- Terminate Outlook Abnormally. In normal situation, you should quit Outlook gracefully by saving all your changes to the PST file and then clicking “Exit” or “Close” menu item. However, if Outlook is shut down abnormally when you are opening and accessing the PST file, then the PST file is prone to corrupted or damaged. This can happen if power failure mentioned above occurs, or if Outlook is busying in doing something and you terminate it by click “End Task” in Windows Task Manager, or if you turn off the computer without quitting Outlook and Windows normally.
- Deficiencies in Outlook programs. Every program has deficiencies, so does Outlook. Some deficiencies come from the short sights of the designers. They can usually be expected but cannot be solved simply by fixes or patches. For example, in the early days, the Microsoft designers don’t believe there will be bulk of data in PST files, so the maximum size of PST file for Outlook 97 to 2002 is 2GB by design. But nowadays, the communications and personal information grow so quickly that the PST file increases dramatically. When the PST file approaches or goes beyond 2GB, it will get corrupted. While the other deficiencies result from the carelessness of the programmers. In general, they cannot be expected but once found, can be solved by small fixes or patches. For example, when Outlook encounters an unexpected error, it will say “Microsoft Outlook has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.” and terminate abnormally, which is very likely to make the PST file corrupted.
Symptoms of Corrupt PST Files:
For your reference, we have collected a list of common errors and problems when using Outlook , which includes the symptoms when a PST file gets corrupted.