Outlook PST Cannot Be Found | 4 Fixes

How do you fix the "outlook.pst cannot be found" error? Check the page and get 4 ultimate solutions to help you find and restore corrupted or missing Outlook data file.

Aug 21,2019 • Filed to: Recover & Repair Emails • Proven solutions

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Outlook data file cannot be found. Why?

Just now, I wanted to send an email, but got the error message - "The file C:\Documents\Outlook Files\Outlook.pst cannot be found." I don't know why the message appears. How can I access my Outlook data file. Thanks.

Outlook data file cannot be accessed

Outlook PST File Missing


Microsoft Outlook is a stable software program, at the best of times. It does not crash that easily. However, just like any other software, it is also vulnerable to issues. When facing a problem, the MS Outlook issues error messages. The "Outlook PST cannot be found" error is such an error message that is displayed by the software, if it cannot locate a PST file on the system. How do you fix "Outlook data file cannot be found"? In this post, you can get 5 viable solutions to fix the PST file missing issue.

If your Outlook PST file can't be opened, you should turn to the checklist: Repair "Outlook PST Cannot Be Opened".

Why outlook.pst cannot be found in Windows 10

PST, short for Personal Storage Table, is an Outlook data file that is used to store your messages, events and contacts. Before fixing the "Outlook data file cannot be found" error, you have to determine the cause of the Outlook issue and take a specific measure. The Outlook PST file missing can be caused by many factors.

  • Corruption of the PST file.
  • Mailbox has exceeded its size limit and bring issues with the Office program.
  • The conflict between the Outlook software and the other software that have recently been installed on the computer.
  • The PST file is temporarily located in the Network server, and thus becomes unavailable.

There are several factors that can cause a PST file to get corrupted. For instance, the presence of viruses and malicious software on the system, unexpected shutdown of the Outlook software and improper shutdown of the PC can all lead to the corruption of the PST file. Besides, the bad sectors on the C drive or large-sized Outlook data file can possibly result in the corrupted and thus missing PST file in Outlook.


Method 1. Check Your Outlook

To fix the "Outlook PST file can't be found" error, the first way is checking your Outlook and the computer software that is installed recently. It can help resolve the issue caused by an excessive mailbox or the conflict between different software on your computer.

If your mailbox is overloaded by too much necessary or unimportant data, it might possibly cause the PST file corruption, and thus you can't find it anymore. Thus, you should remove some of Outlook files and don't exceed the size limit of 15GB. Here are some measures that you can use to view the mailbox size and restore the missing PST file.

In the pop-up window, you can see how much size is used and what's occupying your mailbox storage. After checking the mailbox storage, you can decide if it is necessary to delete some of Outlook data files and even empty some folders, for example:

  • Junk folder.
  • Deleted items.
  • Unnecessary emails from your inbox.
  • Emails with unimportant files, attachments or images.

Method 2. Create a new PST file

Creating a new PST file is one of the methods that can be used to fix the "Outlook PST cannot be found" error. It requires you to generate a brand new PST file. You will have to make use of the Mail Setup Wizard to do the same. How do I create a PST in Outlook 2016? It involves following a few simple steps to generate a new PST file.

Step 1. Locate the default PST file

To generate a new Outlook PST file, you have to confirm the file location, so that you can save it in the right path that can be used by Outlook software. And the navigation is very easy. Three options are available.

Step 2. Create a new Outlook data file

To generate a brand new Outlook data file, the Mail Setup wizard is still an important tool you need. In the Account Settings dialog box, select "Add" under the tab of "Data Files". In the next pop-up window, click "Ok"

create a new pst file

Then, you should set the newly created .pst file as the default.

  1. Select the new file.
  2. Click "Set as Default".
  3. Close the Mail Setup wizard.
  4. Restart Microsoft Outlook.

Method 3. Repair PST using MS Inbox Repair Utility

An Inbox Repair Utility has been provided in the MS Outlook software by Microsoft. You can use it to fix the "Outlook.pst cannot be found" error. It involves the use of the "scanpst.exe". You will have to execute this program by finding it in the Office folders. Once it has been executed, this utility is going to scan the corrupted PST file. If it finds out any errors in it, it will ask you to initiate the repair process. On finishing the Outlook repair, you can start the Outlook software to see if the repair has fixed the error message or not.

The Outlook PST file repair with Inbox Repair Utility is an intuitive process. But you might have trouble in launching "scanpst.exe". Gernally, you can navigate the program by searching one of the following pathes through the Run Command or the searching box.

Path 1 - C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16
Path 2 - C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16

repair Outlook data file

However, please note that the file path can vary from the Outlook version to Outlook version. If you're not sure, you can also navigate it step by step.

  1. Select "Local Disk (C)" in the File Explorer.
  2. Choose "Program Files (x86)" and "Microsoft Office".
  3. Find Office16 or Office15/14/13.
  4. Find the program file - "scanpst.exe".

Method 4. Repair corruption with third-party PST Repair software

If the three methods that have been mentioned above aren’t able to fix "Outlook data file cannot be found" error, you might have to consider using third-party Repair software to repair the corruption of the PST file. While there are a lot of third-party repair tools available on the internet that claim to perform this task, most of them fail at it miserably. The only utility that has been recommended to repair PST file in a safe manner is Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Repair.

This software supports to recover and repair your emailes, attachments, contacts notes and other items. You can save the recovered mails in the formats of EML, MSG, RTF, HTML, and PDF. Besides, after repairing your Outlook PST file, it allows you to encrypt and protect them with passwords.

How do I repair Microsoft Outlook

Here is a guide which is going to walk you through the process of using the Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Repair to repair PST file.

Step 1 Launch the Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Repair. Select the "Find Outlook File" option, choose the drive in which there is a chance the corrupt PST file is located and then press the "Look In" button.

repair corrupt outlok pst file step 1

Step 2 Finish the repair of corrupt PST file by pressing the "Scan Now" button.

repair corrupt outlok pst file step 2

Step 3 Preview the repaired PST file and save the repaired PST file

repair corrupt outlok pst file step 3

The "Outlook.pst cannot be found" error can be very frustrating for a user to see on his computer screen. Usually, this error message is caused due to a corruption of the PST file. There are a few methods that you can use to solve the question of "How do I restore a PST file?" The best option for repairing missing PST files is to use Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Repair. It is the most effortless and safest method.

Amy Dennis

staff Editor

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