7 Methods to Prevent Corruption in PST File
PST files are the ‘personal folder’ or ‘personal storage table’ files in Windows Outlook, a desktop email client by Microsoft. PST is an open file format that is used to store copies of data items such as Emails, Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, Journals, etc. that exists in MS Outlook on your computer. It can also be used to archive items from any email account.
In Outlook 2002 and earlier, the storage limit for a single users’ PST file is 2 GB and utilizes ANSI encoding.
In Outlook 2003 and 2007 version, the PST files have a maximum size of 20 GB by default and are created in the UNICODE format. In Outlook 2010, 2013, and 2016, the maximum size has been increased to 50 GB. The increase in the maximum size limit of PST file in Outlook versions above 2002 has led to the decrease in chances of these files getting corrupt.
However, the same has not been done away with, and the Outlook PST files may still get corrupt. There are even more reasons that may corrupt the Outlook profile leading to inaccessibility of the saved data items.
If damaged, any internal or external utility can, of course, be used to repair it. Let’s look at how we can prevent the Personal Storage Table file from becoming corrupt.
7 Ways to prevent PST file corruption
Follow the steps below:
- Do not load Outlook PST file beyond the safe limit –Although Outlook 2003 and 2007 supports PST files up to 20GB, while Outlook 2010, 3013, and 2016 supports 50 GB sized PST files, it is highly recommended that they should not be loaded beyond 10 GB. This keeps the PST files in a healthy state and the chances of them getting corrupt is considerably reduced.
- Create a number of PST files and move emails– The Outlook version 2003 and above supports opening a number of PST files simultaneously in the left panel. Thus, a number of PST files must be created, and the emails should be transferred to them so as to decrease the size of each Outlook data file. This can be done with the use of ‘Outlook rules’ that permits creating different rules.
- Keep Outlook 2002 PST files below 2GB –As the maximum size limit of PST file in Outlook 2002 and below versions is 2 GB, the probability of them becoming corrupt rises. Therefore, to prevent them from getting damaged, you should limit their file size to about 1.5 GB.
- Operate on a small volume of emails –The MS Outlook desktop email client gets deadlocked if you work with several emails simultaneously. To remove the deadlock, it becomes necessary for you to close Outlook abnormally which, in turn, may corrupt the PST file saved in the system.
The experiential limit of emails is 10,000. Therefore, when you want to select, copy, move, delete, or perform any other action on more than 10,000 emails, you should avoid operating on them together. Instead, you should process a maximum of 1,000 emails at the same time. You should repeat the procedure until all the emails in the PST file get processed.
- Store Outlook PST file on your local computer –You must always store the Personal Folders file on your local computer, and not on the server or the network drive. This is because the network environment is not able to support dense access of the PST file; this, in turn, can easily corrupt your Outlook profile.
- Exit Outlook before you shut down your system– To prevent corruption of PST file, always exit from Outlook before you shut down your computer. Not doing so can cause the PST to become corrupt, therefore, making the stored data items inaccessible.
- Be cautious with the antivirus you installed –Some antivirus programs do protect the Outlook PST and the stored emails even if the number of emails is high. However, certain security programs damage the Personal Folders file. Microsoft OneCare has been found even to cause deletion of PST files.So, you should always be cautious about the antivirus you install on your system.
The above-stated methods to prevent corruption in PST file are effective tipsthat you should adopt if you work on Outlook and do not want to face discrepancy in it. Nevertheless, it can get damaged despite adopting the preventive ways. In such a scenario, when you have corrupt Personal Folders and are in dire need of the emails or other items, you can either opt for the Inbox repair tool (scanpst) or any other external PST repair software.
As a first step, you can try the built-in tool that comes installed with Outlook so as to repair and extract the data items. This is because it has been devised by Microsoft, developer itself, and comes free of cost. However, the limitation of this tool is that it can fix only minor errors and not the major ones.
Thus, if your PST becomes severely corrupt, you will have to look for a third-party tool that can successfully extract all the data items. Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Repair is one specialized utility that can successfully repair even the severely damaged PST file and recover all the stored contents such as emails, its attachments, tasks, notes, journals, contacts, and calendar. The repaired PST file can then be directly imported into any Outlook version and access its data items.
This guest post was written by Rajan Singh, a technical author of numerous technology blog and magazine articles. He is interested in serving free tutorials for Exchange Messaging, MS Outlook, Novell GroupWise and other popular email platforms.