Home blog Explore the Top Reasons Causing Outlook PST File Corruption Issues

Explore the Top Reasons Causing Outlook PST File Corruption Issues

by Cameron James Connor
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Microsoft Outlook is a pioneer in the world of email communication. When Microsoft Outlook began to be used in the corporate sector, Gmail or any other web-based email services were absent. Moreover, the server charges were exorbitant. Over the past three decades, this email client has established itself as one of the best productivity tools and multipurpose email clients. Outlook has been dominating the overall market for the desktop email client. Millions of Outlook users are passionate and excited about Microsoft Outlook. However, despite this popularity, Outlook seems to have a flaw. Its PST data files seem to be prone to corruption. Here are some of the common reasons leading to PST corruption.

File Download or Transfer Leading to Header Corruption

While transferring a PST file or downloading it over the Internet, there is a possibility of header corruption. It can result in a PST file issue, and you won’t be able to read it unless opt for recovery techniques. Want to stay up to date on the latest news regarding the federal corruption case involving Karen Bass, former L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and the former dean of USC’s social work program, Marilyn Flynn? Check out our blog!

Bad Sectors and Hard Disk Crashes

The PST file is located on a hard disk. This hard disk may crash occasionally. The PST files will become inaccessible when the hard disk crashes. In a few cases, a bad sector may occur on your hard disk, and your PST data may be compromised.

Virus Attacks

In several cases, we have come across viruses that have actively targeted PST files on Outlook. Viruses often are responsible for making PST files inaccessible. Even after successfully eliminating the virus from your system, there have been instances when the PST files remained inaccessible. It could be because its metadata may have been messed up.

Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware is a particular class of malware targeting computers via encryption of all hard drive contents. According to the findings of a survey presented on Forbes, 56 percent of organizations across the globe became ransomware attack victims in 2020. If you have been a victim of a ransomware attack, you will face the issue of PST files becoming inaccessible or unreadable.

Power Outages, Hang-ups, & Outlook Crashes

It is mandatory to shut down your Outlook application properly and avoid abrupt and unexpected shutdowns. However, in case of an Outlook application crash or a power outage, the PST data files are susceptible to corruption.

Earlier Outlook Versions & Data Limits

If somebody is using earlier versions of the MS Outlook application, such as the 2002 edition, as soon as the Outlook PST files cross the 2GB limit, there is a possibility of Outlook corruption. The PST files may behave erratically. While this particular issue has been dealt with and solved in the recent versions of Outlook, there are still thousands of small businesses and offices that use older editions of outlook. They are still experiencing this kind of corruption issue.

Third-Party Software & Incompatible Plug-ins 

Often the third-party plugins may trigger corruption in Outlook PST data files. As Outlook is used widely, it is natural for developers to come up with plug-ins for extending the application’s functionality. In a few cases, the plugins may be conflicting with your Microsoft Outlook application. This could cause undesirable corruption in the underlying PST data files. 

Data Corruption & Recovery of PST Data

Whenever you encounter a corrupted PST data file, it is mandatory to try to recover it utilizing an effective PST repair tool. These advanced tools have been crafted to provide prompt recovery and top recovery rates. Moreover, these cutting-edge tools are best for splitting an oversized PST file into compact or smaller parts.

Hardware Reasons

Your PST files are bound to get corrupted whenever your hardware is unable to store or transfer PST file data. There are three main types: 

  • Power Failure: if there is a power outage while accessing the PST data files, the abrupt power failure may corrupt your PST files.
  • Failure in Data Storage Device: Suppose your hard disk develops a few bad sectors, and you find that your PST data files are stored there. You may be able to read and access only part of your Outlook PST data file. Alternatively, the data may be inaccurate and filled with errors.
  • Defective Networking Device: For instance, the PST files are present on the network server, and you are trying to access them via network links from your client’s computer. In case there are issues with cables, interface cards, hubs, routers, or some other devices, any remote access may corrupt your PST data files.

There are several effective techniques and tactics to minimize or prevent Outlook PST file damage or corruption because of hardware issues, for instance, UPS may be effective in minimizing power outage issues, and utilizing trustworthy hardware devices may help minimize data corruption possibilities.  


Besides the reasons discussed above, we understand that several Outlook PST data file damage or corruption may take place because of software-associated problems. You may find it far-fetched or unrealistic that PST file corruption may occur due to incorrect or imperfect file system recovery. However, the fact remains that when you seek assistance from a data recovery expert or tool, your recovered PST files may be corrupt, and some portions of your original PST data files may be lost forever. Always hire a trusted, qualified and experienced data recovery professional for positive outcomes or use the right data recovery tool for prompt results.

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