What To Do When PST File Cannot Be Opened in Outlook?

Updated on October 14, 2022

If you are encountering “Outlook PST cannot be opened” error when you try to open your Outlook application, the error doesn’t let you access your Outlook profile. The error appears when there is a problem in your Outlook PST file. This article is a complete guide that helps you fix the PST file error and gets back access to your Outlook data file.


We all know, with PST files, one can open and access the emails from anywhere at any time. The error Outlook PST files cannot be accessed error appears when PST files becomes inaccessible.

Why can't I open a PST file?

A Few of the reasons behind the error could be, Outlook.exe running in the background because of an improper Outlook termination. Faulty Add-ins sometimes causes trouble in accessing the PST files. Damage or corruption in PST files due to disk errors, system crash or application crash is a major cause of an PST file error.

If you are wondering how to fix the error and get access back to your emails, here are few of the best workarounds that helps you fix the error Outlook PST file cannot be accessed in 2021, 2019, 2016 and other Outlook versions.

How to Fix Outlook PST File Cannot Be Opened?

Here are a few troubleshooting methods described to fix PST file cannot be opened.

1. Try opening Outlook in Safe Mode

2. Disable the trouble causing Add-ins

3. Try fixing the issue with ScanPST.exe

Fix 1: Start Outlook in Safe Mode

Often, the issue “Outlook PST file cannot be opened” would be faced when there is some conflict between Outlook and other applications. And, starting Outlook in safe mode can fix the problem. So, first start the Outlook in Safe mode using this below procedure.

Fix 2: Disable Add-ins

If Outlook doesn’t start in safe mode, then the problem is likely with one of the add-ins. You will need to disable all add-ins using these steps.

Now, start the Outlook 2019, 2016 or any versions of application and try to open your PST file. If you are able to access the data present on Outlook PST file, then it’s well and good.

But, if you are still facing the PST file cannot be opened issue, then it means that the file is corrupted. So, use scanpst.exe to repair Outlook PST file cannot be accessed issue.

Fix 3: Use Scanpst.exe to fix Outlook PST cannot be accessed

It is an easy-to-follow method. However, it has certain limitations that includes,

If you were unable to fix the error using above manual methods, all you need to do is fix the PST file error using the safest SFWare PST Repair tool, most recommended tool by the professionals.

The SFWare PST Repair Tool repairs damaged, corrupted PST file due to CRC errors, virus infection, improper synchronization. The tool also fix PST oversize problems, the presence of bad sectors on the drive, and much more. Also, the tool is enough capable to restore deleted items like emails, contacts, calendars, RSS feeds, journals, etc. from your Outlook. It retrieves PST file attributes from both corrupted as well as healthy PST file. Therefore, your original data stays intact and the tool works on the copy of your PST file.


How to Fix Outlook PST File Cannot be Opened with SFWare

Download, install and launch SFWare PST Repair Tool program. Three options will be displayed on the main screen. Choose any one among those according to your situation.

After this, choose Normal Scan (for fixing trivial issues of PST) or Smart Scan (to fix severely corrupted PST file).

Select Scan

Now, browse the destination location to save the fixed file and click on Repair button.

Select Repair for PST repairing

SFWare, with it's simple and interactive interface helps you fix any PST file errors. It doesn’t modify any content while repairing the PST file and repairs highly encrypted, as well as password, protected PST file


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