May 20, 2024

15 Steps to Fixing a Damaged Outlook File

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Outlook is an incredibly powerful tool for managing emails and personal data. Unfortunately, this incredible power also means that Outlook files can become corrupted easily if they are not properly maintained.

If your Outlook file has been damaged due to a virus or other issue, here are 15 steps you can take to attempt to repair it:

1. Check for Viruses:

The first step when trying to fix a corrupted Outlook file is to check for viruses on your computer. You may want to use anti-virus scan software such as Malware bytes or Norton Security Suite to ensure no malicious programs have infected your system.

2. Backup Your Files:

Before making any changes, it’s recommended that you back up all Outlook files and folders on an external hard drive or cloud storage service. This way, if something goes wrong during the repair process, you’ll still have a copy of your data.

3. Create a New Outlook Profile:

Creating a new Outlook profile can help resolve some issues with corrupted files. To do this, go to Control Panel > Mail > Show Profiles, then click Add and follow the instructions in the wizard to create a new profile.

4. Disable Unnecessary Add-Ins:

Outlook add-ins can sometimes cause conflicts that lead to file corruption. You should check which ones are installed and disable any that you don’t need or use regularly by going to File > Options > Add-Ins and unchecking the relevant boxes.

5. Enable Safe Mode:

Running Outlook in safe mode can help prevent any conflicts that may be causing your file to become corrupted. To do this, hold down the Shift key when you open Outlook and select ‘Safe Mode’ from the startup menu.

6. Run a ScanPST Utility:

Microsoft provides a free utility called ScanPST which can scan and repair corrupted files. You can download it from Microsoft’s website, and then follow the instructions to run it on your Outlook file.

7. Use an Archive Tool:

If a ScanPST utility doesn’t fix the issue, you can try using an archive tool such as WinZip or 7-zip to create a new Outlook file with the same name as your corrupted one. This may help to recover some of the data that has been lost.

8. Disable Compression:

Outlook can sometimes compress files, which can lead to errors and corruption. To turn off compression, go to File > Options > Advanced, then uncheck the ‘Compress contents to save disk space’ box.

9. Run System Restore:

If you recently installed an update or made changes to settings on your computer that may have caused the issue, you can try running a system restore in Windows to undo these changes and potentially fix the problem.

10. Rebuild Your PST File:

You can rebuild your PST file using Microsoft’s Inbox Repair Tool. This tool can help to restore your file and recover any data that may have been lost.

11. Uninstall Office Updates:

If you recently installed an update for Microsoft Office, you can try uninstalling it to see if this resolves the issue. You can do this by going to Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features, selecting the relevant update, and then clicking Uninstall.

12. Reinstall Outlook:

If all else fails, you may need to uninstall and reinstall Outlook in order to fix a corrupted file. To do this, go to Control Panel > Programs >Uninstall a Program, select Microsoft Office and click Uninstall/Change. Follow the prompts in the wizard to uninstall Outlook and then reinstall it.

13. Run Check Disk:

Run the Windows Check Disk utility to look for any potential disk errors which may be causing your file corruption. To do this, right-click on the drive where you have Outlook installed and select Properties > Tools > Error Checking > Check Now.

14. Run CHKDSK /F:

If the regular Check Disk doesn’t fix the issue, you can run a more advanced version called CHKDSK /F. This command will scan your hard drive for errors and attempt to repair them if possible. To run it, open Command Prompt as an administrator and type ‘chkdsk /f’ followed by Enter.

15. Run an Anti-Virus Scan:

If there is a virus or other malicious software on your computer, this could be causing file corruption. You should run a full anti-virus scan to make sure your system is clean and free of any potential threats. Once the scan is complete, delete any viruses that are found.


It can be very frustrating dealing with corrupted Outlook files, as they can cause a lot of disruption to your workflow. However, by following the steps outlined above you should be able to troubleshoot and fix the issue quickly and easily. With some patience and perseverance, you can get your Outlook file back up and running in no time.


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