Unable to access the Outlook PST file – Try these simple methods for quick recovery


Outlook PST file inaccessibility situation arises when “Outlook is unable to access the requested file” error message appears while accessing the PST files.

Unable to access the Outlook PST file


There are many reasons for which you might be facing such type of errors and not able to access your Outlook PST file. This article presents few simple but effective solutions of the problem which will help you to recover your inaccessible or corrupted PST file.

Before starting with the solution it is recommended to have a look on some of the reasons responsible for corrupting your Outlook PST file like virus attack, hardware failure, unexpected system shutdowns etc. These are few common causes for corruption and deletion of Outlook PST file.

There are two ways of accessing your Outlook PST files, you can either access them directly using the path C:\Users\<user name>\App Data\Local\Microsoft\Outlook or by making it default email client under settings option in windows. To check whether this is the issue with only one particular PST file or multiple PST files you can select one of your PST files and try to access it. If you are able to open the file then it might be an issue with only that particular file, otherwise you will need to follow all the possible solutions for repairing inaccessible Outlook PST files.

Solution 1: Using Microsoft Scan PST tool

Microsoft scanpst.exe utility has the capacity to scan and repair your corrupted or damaged Outlook PST files. Tool is available for free download to all windows users. You can perform quick fix by using this tool as follows:

  • Select the PST file which you want to access, click on File menu option and select “Open & Export” option present in sub menu.
  • From the dialogue box choose “Open Outlook Data File” option and select the file which needs to be repaired.
  • Now click on ‘File’ menu, select ‘Save & Exit’ options present in sub menu.

Solution 2: Using SFC Scan

Windows File Checker is a utility available in all windows version which can be used to scan and restore your corrupted or damaged Outlook PST files. You can perform quick fix by using this tool as follows:

  • Open Command prompt from Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt option. Now, type sfc/scan now from the command prompt window and press enter key.
  • It will take some time while scanning process is on, after that you can see the result of scanned files. If all the files are marked with “Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations”, you are good to go further for repairing your Outlook PST file. Else follow Solution-3.

Solution 3: Using Inbox repair tool to scan and fix inaccessible Outlook PST file. 

Microsoft offers a free utility known as inbox repair tool which can be used for quick recovery of inaccessible or corrupted PST files. You need to download this freeware from the Microsoft website and follow the following steps for quick solution:

  • Click here to download Inbox repair tool from Microsoft website. Save the file on your desktop.
  • Double click on the downloaded file inbox repair tool and follow wizard for quick recovery of files.

Solution 4: Using Outlook installation CD or DVD for recovery of inaccessible Outlook PST file

If you still face difficulty in accessing your inaccessible PST file, you can also try to extract the file from the installation media. Follow the steps as follows:

  • Insert the disk into your DVD/CD drive and restart your computer. If prompted press any key for booting from CD/DVD drive. Follow screen instructions as necessary and select “Repair your computer” option after launching of “Automatic Repair”.
  • Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt.
  • Now type the following command and press enter key: CD C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15 (in case of 64 bit operating system) or CD C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15 (if you are using 32 bit Operating system).
  • Now launch Document Imaging > Open and select the file which needs to be recovered.

Solution 5: Scan your computer with antivirus

Check for virus infection especially when you get this error message “The Outlook Program could not be accessed. Cannot open the file…” Please note that it is not always about virus infection when you get this error message, but we recommend scanning your computer with antivirus and checking for any spyware or adware infection in your system.

Solution 6: Check for public folder corruption if you receive the following error message “The store could not be opened. Cannot open the file…”

  • Quit all mail-enabled applications.
  • Launch Task Manager by pressing CTRL+Shift+Esc key combination or right clicking on taskbar and select Task manager option.
  • Now click on Processes tab and check for outlook.exe process.


Outlook is one of the most popular e-mails client applications available in market. Outlook is widely used by businesses and individuals for sharing information, email communication and other tasks through internet or local area network. If you face difficulty in accessing your mailbox due to corruption of PST file then it’s time to take an appropriate solution and save all your important data. In the above article, we have discussed all possible solutions which you can apply for quick recovery of inaccessible or corrupted Outlook PST file.

Karan Singh

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