Frequently Asked Questions

Outlook will not start and warns that my PST is in use and could not be accessed
Last Updated 9 years ago

This problem commonly relates to a corrupted PST file, where Outlook stores your mail. Microsoft provide a generic PST scanning tool to resolve common corruption issues. Where this program can be located on your computer will depend on which version of Office you have.

Outlook 2007
32-bit Windows; C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12
64-bit Windows; C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12

Outlook 2003
32-bit Windows; C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\<locale>\scanpst.exe
64-bit Windows; C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\<locale>\scanpst.exe

Outlook 2002/XP
C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MAPI\locale\scanpst.exe

Outlook 2000
C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MAPI\<locale>\NT\scanpst.exe

Outlook 97/Outlook 98
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Windows Messaging\scanpst.exe

The locale indicates your language code. There will usually only be one folder here. English (US) is represented by 1033. English (UK) is 2057.  Microsoft provide a complete listing for all locale codes.

After running this program, click browse. The PST file can usually be found in the following location:

C:\Documents and Settings\<Your Username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.pst

<Your Username> will be the name entered when your Windows account was originally created. If you're not sure what this is, press Ctrl+Alt+Del to show the Windows Security dialog box. This will show your username under 'Logon information'.

Enter the whole path into the "File name" field of the Browse dialog box and press Enter.

This should then show a complete list of your Outlook PSTs. The error message should have indiciated which PST is in need of repair. Select this file and click Open.

If a PST locked error occurs at this stage it may be necessary to restart in safe mode and attempt the steps above again.

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