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Microsoft Outlook Data Recovery File Types

Backing up your emails and list of contacts is critical to preserving and saving your digital information in the event of a system crash, hard disk failure or other type of corruption. This is a process that is easily done through most email applications, including Microsoft Outlook, but the feature is often overlooked. While a backup is the quickest and most efficient way to restore lost or corrupted data, there are options available to users who did not backup their data in time.


Files with the extension .PST are one of the most common file types associated with all versions of Microsoft Outlook. Known as Personal Storage Tables, .PST files are utilized to store and keep track of all your personal information within Outlook. This includes sent and received emails, contact lists, calendar information and even more. If this information becomes corrupted, deleted or otherwise damaged, the results can be quite devastating to your online social life.

.MSG and .EML

When saving any email within Microsoft Outlook, whether it is one you sent or received, you will be given the option of choosing between the .MSG or .EML format. These files contain the information of the saved message, including the date it was sent, the address it was sent from, the address that received it, and the complete contents of the email itself, including any attachments. It is essentially a carbon copy of the original email message.

Microsoft Outlook Data Recovery

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to attempt to recover corrupted .PST files. Also referred to as the Inbox Repair Tool, this simple application lets you easily find, diagnose and repair damaged .PST files and, hopefully, the .EML and .MSG files that are contained within.

First, locate the file "Scanpst.exe" within Microsoft Outlook's installation folder. Double-click the icon to start the program and type the name of the .PST file that you want to repair. If you don't know the exact filename, you can browse for it by clicking on the "Browse" button. You can also specify your scanning preferences by clicking on "Options." Once you are satisfied with the settings, go ahead and click "Start." If the program does find an error, you will be prompted to start the file recovery process. Click "Repair" to initiate this process.

The next step is to start Microsoft Outlook with the recently repaired file and switch the view to "Folder List." Within the folder pane you should see a folder titled "Recovered Personal Folders." Inside this folder is the "Lost and Found" folder, which contains any information recovered from the repair process. It is then a matter of creating a new data file and dragging your recovered information into the new .PST.

It might even be possible to recover even more information via backup files. Locate the backup file made by Microsoft Outlook's Inbox Repair Tool and change the file extension from .BAK to .PST. Then, simply import the file into Microsoft Outlook using the "Import / Export" feature. Information that is not found in the "Lost and Found" folder may be recovered from this backup.


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