Troubleshooting PST file issues in Microsoft Outlook is a very common and essential task for its users. Microsoft Outlook is one of the most popular email platforms, especially in corporate environments. While there are several advantages of using it, the PST file format in which it stores mailbox items is vulnerable to corruption, making it impossible for users to access their emails and other Outlook data. You can reduce the chances of data corruption in Outlook considerably by following the best practices of operating it. However, you need not despair if you encounter issues that prevent you from accessing your emails since there are quite a few ways of rectifying them. Some of the top methods of troubleshooting PST file issues in Microsoft outlook to try are included here.

Troubleshooting PST file issues in Microsoft outlook

Reduce the PST File Size

One of the main reasons for Outlook not performing to its potential is the large size of the PST file built by it. When the file size becomes large with time, it creates lag and affects the performance. If you leave it unattended, your PST files will invariably become large and potentially cause Outlook to crash due to file corruption. When this happens, you can lose access to your valuable emails. One of the best ways of preventing corruption is to clean your junk files regularly. Since Outlook gives you a storage limit as high as 50 GB, you can easily create more PST folders and shift some of your files there to reduce the size of the PST files.

Reduce PST Clutter

Even when too many items clutter a single PST folder, you become prone to data corruption that can cause severe disruption. To get around this problem, you should move some of the items in the PST folder to other PST folders so that the original PST folder is less heavy and has the necessary breathing space that allows you to access it normally. Another effective method for de-cluttering a large PST folder is to archive items like email messages, attachments, calendar entries, journals, etc., that are in one single folder. When you archive the Outlook items, you free up storage space, prevent files from getting corrupted, and boost the performance of Outlook.

Use the Default Store to Keep Outlook Items

You may encounter more PST file problems more frequently if you configure your Outlook account to move items to other folders from the default store. This kind of issue is especially more frequent on POP3 accounts compared to IMAP. However, there is a relatively simple solution if you have Outlook 2010/2013/2016/2019. Click on the File tab in the Outlook Home menu and select Info. You can then click on “Account Settings” to locate the target POP3 account and click on it to go to “Change Folder”. You can then follow the command prompts to choose a new folder in a separate store.

Create a New Outlook Profile

Many times the PST files get affected if your Outlook profile is not configured properly. The best solution is to delete the existing Outlook profile and create a fresh one. The method of removing the Outlook profile depends on the mailing protocol, POP or IMAP, being used. You will have to export your mailbox and import it back after creating a new profile for POP-configured accounts, while for IMAP; you can do it from the control panel directly without having to create a backup. All you have to do is create a new profile after deleting the existing one. You can quickly recover your PST files after you create a new profile by using a PST file recovery tool.

Unnatural Computer Shutdown

If your session of Outlook is terminated without following the prescribed protocol you are liable to encounter PST file corruption issues that can prevent you from accessing your Outlook account. It may happen if there is a sudden loss of power or you shut down Windows forcibly for any reason. To prevent this kind of corruption, you should always ensure you close your Outlook program properly before shutting down your computer.

Keep the PST File on Your Local Disk, Not a Server

Many people configure their Outlook account to store the PST file on a server in a bid to free up disk space on their computer. However, when you do this, your email access is slower, and according to Tech Times, the chance of data corruption increases. It is always good practice to keep the PST files on the computer on which you have the Outlook account, not a server, on-site, or on the cloud. To ensure that all information is stored locally, configure your Outlook using the POP3 protocol.


Microsoft Outlook has millions of users because of its user-friendliness, integration of useful features, and stability. Even though you can experience some incidents of PST file corruption, you can limit them by following the above-mentioned best practices. The point is to keep your Outlook lean by reducing the size of the PST file, removing redundant add-ins, and keeping it secure against viruses and malware. By following the above-discussed tips it’s possible to troubleshoot PST file issues in Microsoft outlook.

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