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Manual Guide to Fix Outlook PST Cannot Be Found Error

Updated On - May 10, 2022 by Henry Bray |

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Though Outlook is one of the leading email clients in the marketplace, it isn’t free from unwanted errors at all. Sometimes, while opening Outlook, you can get an error alert that says “Outlook PST Cannot Be Found” error message.

It isn’t a recently found error at all. In the support community of Outlook, we have seen that many users have reported this error. However, it’s not impossible to cure this error. We will discuss the best solutions to fix this error. Just stay tuned!

What do you mean by the Outlook PST Cannot Be Found Error?

Basically, it means that Outlook is unable to identify the location path of your newly created PST file. That’s why whenever you try to access Outlook, it throws an error. If you press the “OK” button on the error message, you will be prompted to create a new PST file. You can do that, but you will probably lose your existing files in that PST file.

How to Fix Outlook PST Cannot Be Found Error

However, PST files are the lifeblood of Outlook for online use. Therefore, when you get the Outlook PST Cannot Be Found error, first keep in mind that Outlook is unable to detect the PST file on your device. Now find the reasons why it’s happening and then apply the possible solutions.

Why can’t Outlook find the PST file on your device?

There isn’t any specific reason for this error. As Outlook can’t locate the PST files on your device, it can be due to your known or unknown actions. Likely, you may have deleted the PST file by mistake while visiting device directories. Some probable reasons are as follows:

  • Due to the network connectivity issues,
  • Unwanted deletion of the PST file
  • The PST file has become over-sized.
  • Corruption or damage has occurred in the PST file.
  • The installation of any suspicious software on your device or add-ins on Outlook.
  • Malware attack in the location of the PST file’s directory or folder

3 simplest methods to fix the Outlook PST Cannot Be Found Error

1. Check the size of your Outlook mailbox

Whenever the mailbox of Outlook exceeds its size limit, it gets corrupted, and at that time, Outlook fails to locate and access it on your device. Now that you have got the error, you need to check your mailbox size first. If it’s become oversized, you need to delete unwanted items (such as emails, attachments, and others) and again check if it’s fixed.

Don’t know how to check the mailbox size of your Outlook? Here, as follows, we have added a few steps to check it and also advised what to do if it exceeds the size limit.

1. After running Outlook, navigate to the “file” tab and from there press the “Mailbox cleanup” button to access the feature.

Manual Guide to Fix Outlook PST Cannot Be Found Error

2. After a while, whenever the new pop-up window appears, press the “View mailbox size” option from there.

Resolve Outlook PST Cannot Be Found Error

In this way, you can see the mailbox size of your Outlook. Here you will also display the items that are causing the oversizing issue. If you find that the mailbox actually exceeds its limits, you need to delete unwanted items from your Outlook.

After that, check if the error is fixed. If not, then the PST file may get corrupted. Check out the next solutions for repairing PST files.

2. Repair your Corrupted PST file

Microsoft has its own utility (known as scanPST or Inbox Repair Tool) to repair corrupted PSTs. You don’t need to download and install it on your device. It is pre-located in your device’s directory. As follows, we have added a screenshot. Here you can find the destination path of the scanpst.exe (according to your Outlook and Windows versions) from here.

Step by step Guide to Fix Outlook PST Cannot Be Found Error

After locating the “scanPST.exe” on your device location, just double-click on it and run the utility.

Manual Steps

Press the “Browse” option and locate your corrupted PST files in the tool.

Outlook PST Cannot Be Found Error

Then press the “repair” option and it will start scanning for errors. If it detects any errors, it will repair them itself.
But this tool is very basic and can’t detect advanced or critical errors. Usually, many times, it fails to detect corruption and repair PSTs. Therefore, we always recommend using a professional utility like the Regain Outlook PST Repair software.

3. Help Outlook to locate your PST

Sometimes, due to uninstallation or location path change issues, your Outlook may fail to detect the PST file. In such situations, you can help Outlook locate the PST (by which we mean, you need to manually add that PST). For that, check the steps as follows:

1. First, open Outlook and, from the “File” tab, press on the “Account settings” button to access it.

Manual Guide to Fix Outlook PST Cannot Be Found Error

2. Whenever the “Account settings” window appears, from there go to the “Data files” tab. Here you will find the default PST file (named as “Outlook Data File”). Select it and press the “Open file location” button.

Free Manual steps to Fix Outlook PST Cannot Be Found Error

3. Then the PST will open in your device’s Windows File Explorer. Here you will find the PST that is causing the error. If you can’t find it here, try searching for it using the name or title in the search bar.

4. After that, you may find the PST in a different location (however, its name can also be changed unknowingly).
5. Then delete the default PST from that location and add the PST that throws the error and check. Now you may get the solution.

Quick solution

Actually, whenever the error message comes to you, just press the “Ok” button and with that you will be able to generate a new PST file. In this way, you will get an instant solution.

[Note: After creating a new PST, your existing items will no longer be available to you. Therefore, you mustn’t attempt it if you have any vital things on that PST.]

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Author: Henry Bray

Henry Bray is a young technologist and content a Content Writer at Regain Software, loves to write about MS Outlook, MS Exchange Server, Office 365, Mozilla Thunderbird and many more email applications.

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