Fix Outlook.pst is Not a Personal Folders File Error Message

Ashwani Tiwari ~ Modified: January 17th, 2022 ~ Email Recovery, Outlook Error, Tips ~ 5 Minutes Reading

Microsoft Outlook is a highly recommended email client as well as a personal information manager. But when it comes to errors and bugs, it is no different from other email applications. Often Outlooks displays the error message “.pst is not a personal folder file“.


Reasons Behind MS Outlook Error

The Microsoft Outlook error message is generally shown when users try to import a potentially corrupted Outlook data file. It indicates that the Outlook application cannot interpret the file as a healthy PST file which goes to show that the file may be damaged. Another reason which could prevent access of the data file is if it’s gone into “read-only” mode. Since Outlook needs permissions to read/write, it won’t accept the PST file and generate the error.

How to Resolve “Outlook.pst is Not a Personal Folders File” Error?

The most basic thing to do here is to check that the file you are trying to import into the Outlook application is not set as “read-only“. To do that follow the given steps:

  1. Right-click on the PST file giving you issues
  2. Go to Properties. In the Properties window, ensure that the Read-Only check box is not checked. If it is, then uncheck it, Apply the changes and click Ok to exit

Now, try to open file in Outlook and see if the error still exists. If it does, then it confirms the corruption of the PST file. Refer to the next section for such case.

Using ScanPST.exe Free Utility to Fix Corrupt Data File

The Inbox repair tool (scanpst.exe) is a free utility provided by Microsoft to scan and repair your Outlook Personal Folder files. Make sure that Outlook is closed, then follow the given instruction to resolve the error using this free tool:

Locate ScanPST.exe:  To use it first you have to find where is Scanpst located? And to do this simply open File Explorer and search for scanpst using the search box. Another way is to directly look for the tool in its default location for different versions:

  • MS Outlook 2016: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16,
  • MS Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15,
  • MS Outlook 2010: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14, and so on.

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Repairing the Inaccessible PST file:

  • Once located, double-click on scanpst.exe to launch the Inbox repair tool
  • Browse and open the concerned PST file from the tool
  • Click Start to initiate the repairing process. The tool will scan the file in different phases for any minor errors.
  • If errors are found, click on Repair button to start the repairing process
Note: Make sure to check the make backup of scanned file before repairing option. It is a precautionary step to keep the original file safe in case something happens during repair.
  • Once the repair is successful, a dialog box will display the confirmation message.

Now, open the file in MS Outlook. If there were no major corruption issues with the file, it should now be free from “Outlook.pst is not a personal folders file” error.

Drawbacks ScanPST.exe Tool:

  1. Scanpst.exe only fixes errors at the minor level.
  2. Also, it won’t fix any PST exceeding the 2GB size limit.
  3. Depending on the file size, the process can take hours to finish.
  4. Also, there are chances of data loss even if the file is fixed.

In relation to the error focussed in this article, there have been cases when Scanpst hasn’t detected any error in the file. Also, even if it detected and fixed errors, the file was still not acceptable by Outlook platform. So, in order to overcome all these limitations, we require the use of external third-party software such as SysTools Outlook Data File Repair Tool.

Use Best Repair Tool to Resolve PST Error

Not able to access a PST file means losing its entire data and quite frankly, no one wants that to happen. That’s why we have a remarkable application to fix any kind of PST file corruption, even when every other method fails. Outlook Data File Recovery utility Outlook PST Repair Software and restore them in a healthy format no matter how severe the corruption is.

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Its user-friendly interface is laced with a wide variety of prominent features to benefit users as much as possible. It can easily get rid of the “Outlook .pst is not a personal folders file” error message with minimal effort and time. Some other benefits of the tool which makes it the BEST among its counterparts are:

  • Repairs corrupted PST file with both minor and major corruption thus resolving the Outlook error.
  • Recovers all the mailbox items from the data file including emails, calendars, tasks, contacts, etc.
  • Retrieves emails with all Attachments and other meta-data fully intact.
  • Restores the damaged file in healthy UNICODE PST format which can be imported in all Outlook versions including Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003.
  • Also, not only does it support files larger than the 2GB limit, but also provides a splitting option to export the data in multiple smaller-sized PST files to speed up the Outlook performance.
  • Supports both Windows 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Other features include file naming conventions, maintains folder structure, recovers password-protected files, repairs Archive file and many more.


The blog contains different solutions to resolve the “Outlook.pst file is not a personal folder file” error in Outlook. In the case of corruption, a free built-in utility is provided. However, it has some unavoidable limitations. Therefore, we discussed a professional approach which comes with some remarkable features to easily resolve all the PST file related errors.