Outlook 2007 killed my PST, messages lost! Please help.


Joe Negrau

Errors have been detected in the file <file_path>. Quit all mail-enabled
applications, and then use the Inbox Repair Tool.

I am having a huge problem with Outlook 2007 on Vista Home Premium 64-bit.
I recently bought a new computer and have moved my PST file to it. When I
tried to open it, I got the error message listed above. I ran scanpst.exe on
my email file and now it's missing about a month of emails!


I found the above article and realized that this must be the problem. The
original pst is 2,785,305KB in size. The recovered pst file is only
2,079,249KB. How can it be that My email is limited to 2GB, when I can set
up a GMail account and have 10GB?

On the old computer, Outlook was opening up the original pst file with no
issues. Why would I have a problem opening the file on a new computer? Why
would it prompt me to run the scanpst on a good file and then damage it?

What can I do to recover the missing messages that are still (hopefully) in
the .bak file?


The kb quoted referes to outlook data files created with versions pre 2003,
From 2003 the default data file format does not have the size limitations.

Your problem is undoubtably due to the method you used of transfering your
data to the new PC. You need to start over and correctly transfer the data
using methods posted here daily

Roady [MVP]

Did you use the Inbox Repair Tool that shipped with Outlook 2007 or did you
download it?
You can find scanpst.exe in the installation for of Office 2007. By default,
on a 64-bit computer, that is;
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\

The bak-file is the original pst-file. To recover that to a working file
again, simply rename it to .pst.
If it still opens correctly on your original machine, then you might want to
create a new pst-file there and copy the contents to that new pst-file. This
should get rid of any structural errors that might be in the file.
For details see;

If this is an IMAP pst-file from your Gmail account, then don't bother about
moving it, simply reconfigure your IMAP account on your new account and
Outlook will resync all the content.

If none of your actions can seem to recover the original pst-file, then you
could try a commercial pst recovery tool. Some are listed here;

Joe Negrau

DL, thanks for the reply.
The file was created in Outlook 2007 less than a year ago. Not in any
earlier version. In any case, why wouldn't there be any kind of warning in
big red letters saying "Hey your file is too big! Start a new one before you
lose anything."

As for the transfer, I simply moved the file off the old system to a
portable drive and copied it to the new laptop. Outlook 2007 on the new
system had the error in trying to open the file and suggested using scanpst.

Roady [MVP]

There is such a warning when you are indeed using an ANSI formatted
When using a UNICODE formatted pst-file (the default for newly created
pst-files since Outlook 2003), then you won't get this error message until
you are reaching 20GB.

In your transfer, did you perhaps overwrite the original pst-file in the
moving process?
Also see my earlier reply to you.

Joe Negrau

Roady, thanks for the help. I used the scanpst that was in the office12
folder. The PST file was created less than a year ago in Outlook 2007.

I have tried renaming the .bak file to .pst and open it on the old computer
and I get the same error message. The other weird thing is that when I tried
this I noticed that some of my calendar items are still being opened on the
old system even though it has a new pst file.

The original pst isn't an IMAP pst for google. I was just frustrated when I
wrote the first post and was complaining that gmail has a 10gig limit and had
just found out that a file on my system can only handle 2gig.

As for a commercial recovery tool, I didn't know one existed. Thanks for
those links. But, it seems crazy that MS software could crash my pst and now
I have to pay to get another program to fix the problem.

Any other suggestions? Thanks.


As stated previously a unicode data file does not have a 2gb size limitation
If you are receiving any warning about size either you are using an Ansi
format data file, or someone edited the registry

Joe Negrau

Thanks for the suggestions. I have taken a closer look at the .bak file and
since it is about 2.7gig I am sure it is in the UNICODE format and not
limited to the 2gig. After running scanpst.exe, the resulting file is only
about 2gig. That means that somehow 700MB of data is being lost in the

I very much need to get this data back. There are journal entries, calendar
items, contacts, project notes, and emails that I just must get back. I live
in Outlook and can't afford to lose this stuff. I would never be able to
recreate or get this data back.


I need some serious help in resolving this and recovering valuable data. I
was moving my Outlook 2007 pst file to a new laptop. (Original laptop was
Vista upgraded to 7 with Outlook 2007. New laptop is Vista that’s awaiting
the free disc for upgrade to 7) with Outlook 2007. The original PST file was
working fine. All I did was move it to an external drive and then again
moved it from that drive to the drive in the new laptop.

Another symptom I have noticed is that when I open the recovered PST file, I
keep getting reminders that pop up for events that have long since past. I
dismiss them, but they pop up again the next time I open Outlook.

You recommended a page with several repair/recover tools. Can you please be
more direct and let me know which one will work? I will buy a program if
necessary, but can't go buying all of them in the hopes one will work.

Thanks again. And if anyone else has any ideas, I would greatly appreciate


You say you recovered the data file from external but dont say how you did
Assuming outlook is functioning, what does it say for Format in Advance
properties of the Personal Folder?

Joe Negrau

Hi DL,
I did not "recover" from an external drive. I moved the original pst file
from the old laptop to the external. I then copied it from the external to
the drive in the new laptop. From the Outlook file menu I selected
Open>Outlook Data File. When it tried to open the file, I then got the error
that said to use scanpst.exe.

It was all simple Windows Explorer moving and copying of the pst file.

After running scanpst, that is when I realized so much data had been lost.
Scanpst started with a 2.7gig pst file and "recovered" it to a 2gig file.
That's 700MB of data that are now missing.

The most obvious was the newest email since the beginning of the year. But
there seems to be other problems as well. Whenever Outlook opens the
"recovered" pst file, it brings up notifications and reminders that have long
since passed. I try to dismiss them, but they show up again the very next
time I open the pst.

Something seriously wrong happened and I can't figure out what.

Thanks for any help you may be able to provide.


If OL was functioning when you copied back to your laptop, in the default
location, then you will probably have corrupted both the Profile and the
data file when you overwrote the origonal.
However you didnt answer the Q re format; ie within OL select the Personal
Folders in tree View, rt click properties > Advanced.....what does it say
for format?

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