Outlook is a popular email client used by millions of users worldwide. It is widely used by individuals, businesses, and organizations to manage their emails, calendars, tasks, and contacts. However, like any other software, Outlook can also face issues and errors. One such error is “the file is not an outlook data file (.pst)”.
The “The file is not an Outlook data file (.pst)” error can be frustrating, especially if you have important emails or contacts stored in the file. This error message indicates that the file you are trying to open in Microsoft Outlook is not a valid Outlook data file. This error can occur for a number of reasons, including file corruption or compatibility issues with older versions of Outlook.
Fortunately, there are several ways to resolve this error and recover your data. In this article, we will explore some of the most effective methods for resolving this error and getting your Outlook data back on track.
What is “the file is not an outlook data file (.pst)” error?
When you try to open an Outlook data file (.pst), you may encounter an error message that says, “the file is not an outlook data file (.pst)”. This error message indicates that the PST file you are trying to open is corrupted or damaged, or it is not in the correct format. PST (Personal Storage Table) is a data file format used by Microsoft Outlook to store emails, contacts, calendars, and other data. So, when Outlook is unable to open a PST file, it displays this error message.
Reasons for “the file is not an outlook data file (.pst)” error
There can be various reasons for this error message to appear. Some of the most common reasons are:
- Corrupted or damaged PST file: If the PST file is corrupted or damaged due to hardware failure, software crashes, power outages, improper file handling, abrupt system shutdowns, issues during the PST file creation process or other reasons, Outlook may not be able to open it and display this error message.
- Incorrect file type: If the file you are trying to open is not a PST file but has a .pst extension, Outlook will not be able to open it. This can be the file saved by another application such as GarageBand. Sometimes, users may rename a file with a .pst extension to open it in Outlook, which can cause this error message.
- Large PST file: If the PST file you are trying to open is too large, Outlook may not be able to handle it and display this error message. A large PST file can also get corrupted easily, leading to this error. Read how to increase the Outlook data file size limit.
- Incompatible Outlook version: If the PST file you are trying to open is created in an older version of Outlook and you are using a newer version of Outlook, you may encounter this error message.
- File system issues: If there are issues with the file system, such as bad sectors or disk errors, it can cause data corruption and lead to this error message.
How to resolve “the file is not an outlook data file (.pst)” error?
Now that we know the reasons behind this error message let’s discuss how to resolve it. Here are some of the most effective solutions to fix this error:
Prior to continue:
- Ensure that the file extension of the PST file is “.pst” and not mistakenly renamed or saved with a different extension. Right-click on the file, select “Properties,” and confirm that the file type is recognized as a PST file.
Solution 1: Repair the PST file
One of the first things you can try when encountering this error is to run the Inbox Repair Tool, also known as Scanpst.exe. This tool is included with Microsoft Outlook and is designed to scan and repair corrupt Outlook data files.
Run the Inbox Repair Tool (Scanpst.exe):
- Close Microsoft Outlook if it is open.
- Open the folder containing the corrupt .pst file.
- Locate the Scanpst.exe tool. The location may vary depending on the version of Outlook you are using, but it is typically located in the following folder: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\OfficeXX, where XX is the version number of your Outlook installation.
- Double-click Scanpst.exe to launch the tool.
- In the “Enter the name of the file you want to scan” field, enter the path and filename of the corrupt .pst file you want to repair. You can also click the “Browse” button to navigate to the file.
- Click the “Start” button to begin the scan.
- The tool will scan your file and attempt to repair any errors it finds. This process can take several minutes, depending on the size of your file.
- Once the repair process is complete, you will be prompted to save a backup of the repaired file. You can choose to save the backup in a different location or overwrite the original file.
- Open Microsoft Outlook and try to open the repaired .pst file. If the file opens without error, you have resolved the issue.
Use a Third-Party PST Repair Tool:
If the Inbox Repair Tool fails to repair your corrupt .pst file, you may need to use a third-party PST repair tool. These tools are designed specifically to repair corrupt Outlook data files and can often recover data that the Inbox Repair Tool cannot. There are many different PST repair tools available, both free and paid, so it’s important to choose one that is reputable and has good reviews. Here are a few popular options:
a. Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Repair ( from 99 USD ): This is a paid tool that can repair corrupt PST files and recover all types of data, including emails, contacts, calendars, and attachments.
b. Kernel for Outlook PST Repair ( from 89 USD ): This is another paid tool that can repair corrupt PST files and recover all types of data, including emails, contacts, calendars, and attachments. It also has the ability to split large PST files into smaller ones.
To use a repair tool a or b, follow the instructions provided by the tool’s manufacturer. In general, you will need to download and install the tool, then select the corrupt .pst file you want to repair and follow the on-screen prompts to repair it. Once the repair process is complete, you should be able to open the file in Microsoft Outlook without error.
c. Recovery Toolbox for Outlook ( from 39 USD ): This is a tool that can repair corrupt PST files and recover all types of data, including emails, contacts, calendars, and attachments. Both a free and a paid version are available. However, the free version has some limitations, such as a limit on the number of items that can be recovered. Recovery Toolbox may handle complex and severely corrupted PST files, providing a higher chance of successful recovery, it is reliable and trustworthy PST repair tool from reputable software provider. That’s why we are highly recommend it. Install the software, follow the on-screen instructions, and use the tool to repair the PST file displaying the error.
- Download the Outlook Data File Recovery Toolbox.
- Run it and specify the location of your PST file.
- Select the recovery mode and other parameters.
- Launch the PST file repair process.
Solution 2: Rename the PST file
If the PST file is not in the correct format or has been renamed incorrectly, you can try renaming it to the correct format. Here are the steps to rename the PST file:
- Close Outlook and go to the location where the PST file is saved.
- Right-click on the PST file and select Rename.
- Change the .pst extension to .old or any other extension.
- Try to open Outlook and create a new PST file.
- Import the data from the old PST file to the new one.
Solution 3. Create a New Outlook Profile
Sometimes, the error might be related to a corrupt Outlook profile.
- Create a new Outlook profile by going to Control Panel > Mail > Show Profiles.
- Click on “Add” and enter a name for the new profile.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to set up the new profile and configure your email accounts.
- Once the new profile is set up, open Outlook and check if the error is resolved.
Solution 4. Import PST File into a New Outlook Data File
- Create a new Outlook Data File (PST) by going to File > Account Settings > Account Settings.
- Select the “Data Files” tab and click on “Add.”
- Enter a name for the new data file and click “OK.”
- In Outlook, go to File > Open & Export > Import/Export.
- Select “Import from another program or file” and click “Next.”
- Choose “Outlook Data File (.pst)” and click “Next.”
- Browse and select the PST file you want to import, choose the desired options, and click “Finish.”
Solution 5: Split the PST file
To split a large PST file into smaller files, you can use a third-party tool specifically designed for this purpose. There are many tools available online that can split large PST files into smaller ones however most of these tools typically offer the following steps:
- Select the Large PST File: Choose the large PST file that you want to split into smaller files. This file will be the source file for the splitting process.
- Configure Splitting Options: Specify the desired splitting options, such as the maximum size for each resulting file or the number of files you want to create.
- Start the Splitting Process: Initiate the splitting process by clicking on the appropriate button or command. The tool will begin splitting the large PST file based on your specified settings.
- Monitor the Progress: Keep an eye on the progress of the splitting process. The tool may provide a progress bar or display information about the current file being split.
- Review Splitting Results: Once the splitting process is complete, review the resulting smaller PST files. These files should now be within the specified size limits or quantity, making them easier to manage and work with.
Solution 6: Disable Add-Ins
If you are still encountering the “The file is not an Outlook data file (.pst)” error after attempting to repair your .pst file, it may be caused by an add-in installed in Outlook. Add-ins are third-party programs that add additional functionality to Outlook, but they can sometimes cause compatibility issues. Here’s how to disable add-ins in Microsoft Outlook:
- Open Microsoft Outlook.
- Click the “File” menu > “Options” > “Add-ins”.
- Select “COM Add-ins” in the “Manage” field and click “Go…” button.
- Deselect the checkbox next to the add-in you want to disable and click OK.
- Restart Outlook.
Encountering “The File is Not an Outlook Data File (.pst)” error can be worrisome, but with the right troubleshooting steps, you can resolve the issue and regain access to your Outlook data. By following the solutions outlined in this guide, including verifying the file extension, using Scanpst.exe or third-party repair tools, creating a new Outlook profile, or importing the PST file into a new data file, you can overcome this error and continue using Outlook seamlessly. Remember to always create backups of your PST files to avoid data loss, and consult professional help if necessary.
- Read how to split PST file when converting EML to PST format
- Also, how to split a PST file using the command line parameters
- Here is how to fix error have been detected in OST file issue
- And what you may do if Outlook can’t connect to Gmail
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?