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Corrupt PST Files – Know the Reasons Why They Get Damaged

Though MS Outlook is a popular email system with calendar options and more exciting features liked by global clients, it has some major loopholes, especially when it comes to its data files. Yes, it’s damaged PST files. The issues come up because the PST files store copies of emails, attachments, contacts, notes, calendar items, and tasks on a local drive. 

According to an article published in Lifewire, Outlook Personal Information Store comes with a limited size of 2 GB. If the size limit exceeds, there are performance issues. So, there are many reasons why PST files get corrupted or stop to function as usual. It prevents you from sending or receiving emails. And data loss is the most evident issue that businesses face with corrupt PST files. In this article, we will walk through the various reasons why PST files become corrupt. 

1. System or Outlook crash

You know that the Windows operating system or even Outlook might crash sometimes owing to OS issues, hardware failure, or issues with the software. Many complain that their MS Outlook crashes all of a sudden even while they are working. It results in a damaged PST file and loss of essential corporate and client data. Some of the time, if the crash was due to a critical issue, users aren’t able to reboot their PCs and end up losing email items forever. 

You need to stay away from such situations by using a reliable hardware configuration and ensuring that the system is all fine and optimized with an updated application or software. Avoid setting up a beta version of the OS or other application you frequently use. 

2. Outlook froze or stopped responding

Sometimes, you will see that MS Outlook freezes or stops working at all if you have issues with the system hardware. You will face problems when retrieving specific mail items. You may feel like closing Outlook forcefully by going to Task Manager and then restarting it to continue with the tasks you were performing previously. Try to avoid this because force closing your MS Outlook will lead to a damaged PST file. 

Outlook will freeze if it fails to complete a specific task like processing or updating PST files. When you keep giving commands, Outlook will get stuck. So, in such a scenario, you need to stay patient and wait for a few minutes to let MS Outlook respond to your commands. If the problem with Outlook persists, you may force close the application and restart it. To be on the safe side, wait for an application to respond before force closing it to prevent PST file damage. 

3. Oversized PST file

In previous versions of MS Outlook, especially 2003 as well as 2007, the suggested ANSI PST size of the file is 2 GB. Then, Outlook 2010 and versions after that make use of a UNICODE PST file. The suggested file size is 20 GB. Now, if the data files surpass or even reach the recommended limit, there could be major performance issues with MS Outlook. You will experience delays when opening the email items or lags when you send or receive emails. All of these issues can result in business interruptions when you need to send an urgent project proposal to clients. 

So, when you see these signs, it is an indication that PST files have touched or exceeded their suggested limit. You need to use the right tools for avoiding PST file corruption. You can also make use of the archive option of Outlook and keep removing spam messages and deleted items from the trash folder. Once you take these steps, your Outlook will work fine. 

4. Malware or virus attack

These days, malware or virus attacks are common when users open an email message, click on a link, or download an attachment. Your system may be virus infected if you use a flash drive to transfer information from one device to the other with no scanning. These viruses will damage the PST file in MS Outlook and even encrypt information. It will lead to unreachable PST files as well as the loss of essential business data. You cannot afford to lose client data or run the risk of making them susceptible to virus attacks. If your client comes to know about it, it could have adverse business implications. You may even lose clients. 

You can avoid data file damage by installing a reliable antivirus application on your business PC or laptop. Always choose the latest versions of software to avert the intrusion of viruses or malware. Instead of using a flash drive, opt for cloud storage solutions for transferring information. If the file size is huge, you need to scan all files as well as the drive before you transfer data. 

5. Issues with a storage device

There are problems with storage devices like bad sectors or file system problems leading to PST file corruption. There could be damage to the file header or a few parts stored in that sector going bad. Low storage availability may also corrupt a PST file resulting in MS Outlook issues. Your drive may also crash or stop to respond leading to a system freeze as well as a system crash. Consequently, PST files damage. 

You will need to monitor the health of the disk by using an advanced drive monitoring application or tool. If you see that the drive is not healthy, do not use the drive to avert data file corruption and system crash resulting in loss of data. 

6. Defective add-in or incompatibility 

Defective add-ins or incompatibility issues lead to Outlook performance like seeing error messages when you try to send or receive emails. Poor performance, delayed response, and corrupt PST files are the major issues.

Don’t install add-ins from unreliable sources. Use MS Store if you at all need to install anything. 


You can prevent PST file corruption provided you know the causes and use the right tools or take effective steps. Remember your MS Outlook should run efficiently to continue seamless client communication and operations. 



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