PST Recovery Tool

At the risk this newsletter seeming like I’ve changed the theme to Data Recovery Lifestyle, I’m going to share a few more experiences related to my drive crash. BartPE includes a file explorer called A43 File Management, which is best described as a alternative to Windows Explorer. One thing A43 was able to do, unlike both Windows Explorer and GetDataBack, was recover my PST file. About 33% of the PST file was located in the damaged drive sectors. Somehow, A43 was still able to copy the file in spite of its location. Unfortunately, Outlook couldn’t open it when I connected my recovery drive to a undamaged computer, because the PST file was corrupted, but the file was all there.

With some determination, I recovered almost everything in my PST file (about 85% of it), including the important emails downloaded right before the drive failed. Most of what was lost was from the mountain of sent emails built up in my Sent Items folder (I hate using the Outlook archive feature). I found the data using a little known utility for repairing damaged Outlook files called SCANPST.EXE, which is located in the Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\1033 folder. Basically, you run this app, browse to a damaged PST file, and the app attempts to repair the PST. The first try failed partway through the process, so I figured I was stuck with no data recovery and forgot about the PST. A few days later, when I was scanning my recovery files for something else, I ran across the PST and tried again. This time, SCANPST.EXE succeeded in getting most of the data back. Moral of the story, if SCANPST.EXE fails the first time, try again. According to several other Internet accounts, the tool is effective, but flaky, but if you need to get your PST file back, it seems to be about the best solution.