Troubleshoot Outlook PST error, in this blog you will learn how to troubleshoot outlook PST error to improve outlook functionality.

Outlook downloads mailbox data from the email server, such as emails, attachments, contacts, calendar, notes, and so on, and saves it as a PST file. Outlook Exchange, Office 365, and IMAP emails are also backed up and archived using the PST file format. Outlook settings can be used to open and access emails preserved in a backup PST file at any time. However, PST can become inaccessible at times, resulting in an error message such as “Outlook PST is in use and cannot be opened.” These methods can help resolve this error.

1. Close All Processes and Programs

As indicated by the pop-up message, you must stop all programs that may have access to the PST file. This will prevent MS Outlook from accessing it. Follow these procedures to see if any Outlook-related processes are running in the background and to stop them:

  • Step 1: Right-click the Taskbar and click on Task Manager.

How to Troubleshoot Outlook PST Error?

  • Step 2: Select ‘More Details’ and go to the Processes tab.

How to Troubleshoot Outlook PST Error?

  • Step 3: Now look for processes with names containing ‘outlook’, ‘communicator’, ‘Lync’, ‘UCMAPI’. End all the processes by clicking on the process and selecting ‘End task’
  • Step 4 : Quit the Task Manager and restart Outlook.

2. Open MS Outlook in Safe Mode

You can see if the problem is caused by certain malfunctioning add-ins by opening Outlook in safe mode. If Outlook opens without a hitch in safe mode, you must uninstall third-party add-ins from Outlook while it is still in safe mode. The procedure is as follows:

  • Step 1: Close existing instances of Outlook and then press Windows + R
  • Step 2: Enter outlook.exe / safe and hit the enter key.

How to Troubleshoot Outlook PST Error?

  • Step 3: If the error is resolved in Safe Mode, go to File>Options>Add-ins and disable them.
  • Step 4: Open Outlook normally and enable each add-in one-by-one to find out the problematic one which can be disabled permanently.

3. Fix PST File Errors with Inbox Repair Tool

If the previous procedures fail to resolve the Outlook PST error, the PST file itself may be the problem. As previously stated, a PST file can be damaged or corrupted for a variety of reasons. SCANPST.EXE, an Inbox Repair Tool, is included with MS Outlook and can be found in the MS Office installation directory. The program can be used to repair a corrupted or damaged PST file that can’t be opened in Outlook. You can restore the Outlook PST file error by fixing the PST file. Here’s how you can access it:


  • Step 1: Close Outlook and access the Installation directory of MS Office. It can normally be found at C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\ OfficeXX or C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\OfficeXX

The XX refers to the Office version

  • Step 2: Click on the SCANPST.EXE tool.

How to Troubleshoot Outlook PST Error?

  • Step 3: Select ‘Browse’ and find the PST file.
  • Step 4: Select ‘Start’. This PST file will be scanned for errors.
  • Step 5: If errors are present, you will view a ‘Repair’ button, click on Repair and wait till the repair to finish.
  • Step 6: During the repair process, you may notice a message Inbox Repair Tool ‘Not responding’. However, this is nothing to worry about. Don’t close the tool.

If the Inbox Repair Tool fails, it could be because the tool does not support encrypted PSTs or if the PST file is larger than 2 GB.



The above steps can help resolve “How to Troubleshoot Outlook PST Error” in windows system, depending upon the engineer or a user could follow the above steps to resolve the issue.

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