The Microsoft Outlook app has been a pioneer in the email communication landscape. It got introduced to the corporate scenario at a time, when there existed no web-based email services such as Gmail. Moreover, during those days, the server charges were exorbitantly high. According to Fit Small Business, the Outlook email client is best for organizations that rely heavily on email for business communication, seek cutting-edge software, automation, and organization capabilities, and are comfortable with the idea of an annual commitment. Microsoft Outlook email client has evolved over the past three decades and has proved to be an efficient productivity tool and multipurpose email client. It is known worldwide since it dominates the entire desktop email client scenario and boasts millions of loyal global users who have shown unwavering support and faith in the application. However, Microsoft Outlook comes with a flaw that cannot be overlooked or undermined. Its PST files seem to be vulnerable to data corruption. Here are some of the most common causes of Outlook PST data corruption.

Header Corruption Because of Download or File Transfer 

While downloading a file online or transferring a PST file across any network, there remains a possibility of header corruption. In such a circumstance, the Outlook PST file may become unreadable. This corrupted outlook PST file may be retrieved by implementing data recovery techniques or using advanced data recovery tools.

Incidents of Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware is a particular category of malware known for employing encryption for holding valuable information of a victim. An organization or user’s crucial data will be encrypted to ensure that databases, files, or applications cannot be accessed by the victim. Thereafter, the victim gets a ransom alert whereby a specific amount is demanded to allow access. Ransomware has been designed to spread seamlessly across any network and start targeting file servers and databases. Ransomware has the potential of quickly paralyzing your entire firm. Ransomware seems to be a growing threat, and billions of dollars are being paid to cybercriminals. Ransomware attacks are pretty common and could be immensely damaging for governmental organizations and businesses. If your organization has been a victim of a ransomware attack, you will lose access to your PST data files.

Virus Infection

Virus infection is a common cause of all kinds of corruption including PST file corruption. Experts recommend the use of premium quality antivirus. Viruses are one of the most common reasons behind Outlook PST file data corruption. A virus could infiltrate your system in diverse ways: installation of unknown software directly from the Internet, spam email, or even copying infected files. When a virus has penetrated your system, it will make multiple modifications to the registry. Moreover, your PST data files will be compromised. 

Many errors arise because of PST files infected by viruses. A viral infection may impact the outflow and inflow of messages. Moreover, multiple errors may crop up and prevent access to specific mailbox folders. You may come across unexpected errors notifying you that you cannot access Outlook.pst, the system is not able to display a folder, or PST has attained its maximum size limit. 

You may use a manual process to rectify the issues, but it has certain limitations. When you try to get rid of the viruses manually, data integrity may not be assured. Often the retrieved file is not present in the original folder, or sometimes, even email formatting may get changed. Manual solution for eliminating these viruses involves a time-consuming process. Moreover, technical expertise is essential. Only experienced professionals with sound understanding and knowledge of the working of scanpst.exe, and Outlook can help you.

The manual solution can help eliminate the virus from the infected PST file. However, an automated solution may be sought if bugs and errors persist. Use one of the advanced Outlook data recovery tools. Outlook Recovery is a highly recommended and easy-to-use tool for the purpose.

Hard Disk Crashes

The hard disk that contains the Outlook PST file may crash from time to time, making the files inaccessible. In certain cases, bad sectors may occur on your hard disk that may damage the valuable PST data, contained in it. It is of pivotal importance to close down the application carefully. In case of an Outlook application crash or an unanticipated power outage, the PST data files may get damaged or corrupted.

Improper Closure

As discussed, one of the common causes of PST data file corruption is improper shutdown. The error occurs when somebody closes the Outlook app abruptly, ignoring the mandatory shutdown sequence. Because of improper shutting down of the application, your PST data file may get compromised and become unreadable.

You have a case of improper Outlook app shutdown when you unmindfully exit Outlook while it is still performing housekeeping activities such as receiving or sending emails or even making folder structures. PST corruption may take place in such an event. For resolving this particular corruption issue, consider restarting Outlook it will spontaneously attempt to recover the damaged PST data file utilizing its advanced Auto Recovery option.


Many factors trigger Outlook PST file data corruption. Once you identify the precise reason for the corrupted PST file, you may consider using an appropriate data recovery tool or software to retrieve the lost or damaged data.