Can you recommend an Outlook PST file repair utility?

Eric R. Chambers November 13, 2010
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I’m trying to help a friend with a repair of a damaged Outlook 2007 PST file. Can you please recommend the best PST file repair tool? Even if I have to pay for it I’m willing to consider that.

Here are some more details:
I helped a friend with a laptop that wouldn’t startup (MS Windows Vista Home Premium). In the end I’m pretty sure that it was a nasty virus or spyware infection, but I did some initial troubleshooting and then decided to just save his data and rebuild his system from scratch. I pulled his HDD and mounted with my USB-SATA ext adapter, then copied over the entire C:\User folder. I double checked everything and then did a new Windows install, plus apps and tools, then copied the Users folder back. Everything seemed perfect. I delivered to the user.

Then even though the user had told me that they used web based eMail, they now told me that they also used Outlook. Oops, I knew I should have asked that question before hand but I figured no big deal because the PST files are always under \Users anyway. Well, I searched for it and the PST was not there.

I remounted the HDD externally and did a deep scan with my “File Scavenger” which found the two PST files and they had been in entirely strange location. Anyway I use my FS to recover them and then put it all back together and copied them over to the laptop, hoping that they were really recovered intact, but knowing that they’d probably need to be scrubbed.

Sure enough I went into Outlook 2007, it had created a new Outlook.PST, both Outlook-2010.PST and Backup-2010.PST (the recovered files). When I tried to open them in Outlook or import from them, it simply reported that they were not PST files. One is 3 GB and the other 10 GB, which I figured was OK since we’re dealing with Outlook 2007 and not Outlook 2003 or earlier.

So I tried the free Microsoft Inbox Repair Tool. It scanned the files, but gave me nothing. Then I started looking for third-party apps. I have found some as cheap as $60 and some as expensive as $250. Most work by showing you what can be recovered but only letting you recover if you register and pay for the app. I am OK with that as long as I know I’m not wasting the money and I would like to get the best one, especially if I get one of the more expensive ones.

Last night I got a demo version of Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Repair that will cost $129. I loaded it and ran the scan, it took most of the night. This morning it reported a big success, 14,000 e-mail messages, 540 contacts, etc, etc. So now I’m excited, but I would really like other tech-heads to confirm that this app is a reputable one or if there’s another that will work even better I can jump on it. Gee, I hope I didn’t exceed the posting limit or kill anyone with boredom.

Here are some others that I’ve seen too:
https://safecart.com/bluesquad/.pst-repair/purchase
http://www.diskinternals.com/outlook-recovery/
http://www.datanumen.com/aor/download-thanks.htm
http://www.recoverytoolbox.com/buy_outlook.html
http://www.repair-outlook.com/

Thanks!

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  1. Andrew Ross
    October 26, 2011 at 5:42 am

    I suggest you to use Disk Doctor's PST Repair Tool I use it myself and found it very useful and It can run with full capabilities even in demo version for 30 days.

  2. Oron Joffe
    November 15, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Or you could search for "free pst repair". There are plenty of options on the net. Have used one successfully a couple of years ago, so it's definitely worth a try!

  3. Eric R. Chambers
    November 13, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Staff suggested that I explain what is wrong with the PST file so here goes. I helped a friend with a laptop that wouldn't startup (MS Windows Vista Home Prem). In the end I'm pretty sure that it was a nasty virus or spyware infection but I did some initial troubleshooting and then decided to just save his data and rebuild his system from scratch. I pulled his HDD and mounted with my USB-SATA ext adapter then copied over the entire C:User folder. I double checked everything and then did a new Windows install, plus apps and tools, then copied the Users folder back. Everything seemed perfect. I delivered to the user. Then even though the user had told me that they used web based e-mail, they now told me that they also used Outlook. oops, I knew I should have asked that question before hand but I figured no big deal because the PST files are always under Users anyway. Well I searched for it and the PST was not there. I remounted the HDD externally and did a deep scan with my "File Scavenger" which found the two PST files and they had been in entirely strange location. Anyway I use my FS to recover them and then put it all back together and copied them over to the laptop, hoping that they were really recovered in tact but knowing that they'd probably need to be scrubbed. Sure enough I went into Outlook 2007, it had created a new Outlook.PST, both Outlook-2010.PST and Backup-2010.PST (the recovered files), when I tried to open them in Outlook or import from them, it simply reported that they were not PST files. One is 3 GB and the other 10 GB, which I figured was OK since were dealing with Outlook 2007 and not Outlook 2003 or earlier. So I tried the free Microsoft Inbox Repair Tool. It scanned the files but gave me nothing. Then I started looking for third-party apps. I have found some as cheap as $60 and some as expensive as $250. Most work by showing you what can be recovered but only letting you recover if you register and pay for the app. I am OK with that as long as I know I'm not wasting the money and I would like to get the best one, especially if I get one of the more expensive ones. Last night I got a demo version of one that will cost $129. I loaded it and ran the scan, it took most of the night. This morning it reported a big success, 14,000 e-mail messages, 540 contacts, etc, etc. So now I'm excited but I would really like other tech-heads to confirm that this app is a reputable one or if there's another that will work even better I can jump on it. gee I hope I didn't exceed the posting limit or kill anyone with boredom. Thanks!!!! ERC

    • jhpot
      November 13, 2010 at 7:58 pm

      Does the program let you preview the information it's recovering? If so, is it the info you're looking for? I'd be hesitant to pay for software if I can't see any of the data I'll recover.

      • Eric R. Chambers
        November 13, 2010 at 8:27 pm

        Yep, it seems like the genuine article; it does show stuff that is real and will allow it to be written once I pay and register. For $129 it looks like it's going to be a big success. I just wanted to have other tech-heads confirm that I'm on the right path or suggest other apps too.

        • jhpot
          November 15, 2010 at 3:14 pm

          I'm sorry, I really don't have much experience with this kind of recovery.
          Judging from the lack of response I'm thinking the team here doesn't either.
          I guess free software enthusiasts don't use Outlook all that much. Sorry we
          couldn't be more help, and let me know how everything goes!

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