Normally when you have issues with Outlook, it is suggested that you repair the PST file so problems can be resolved. In order to repair the PST file, a tool called Scanpst.exe is used. This tool is free and already present on most computers. It is reliable and can be used to fix most corruption issues in PST files.
However, in some cases, it may not work as expected and may throw error messages. This is particularly true when the PST size is large, when Scanpst cannot handle the error or when there are corruption issues in the hard disk. In this article, we discuss one such Scanpst error that reads ‘An unexpected error prevented access to this file’.
Reasons and solutions for ‘Scanpst: An Unexpected error prevented access to this file’
This error usually occurs when there are problems with your hard disk such as file system corruption, severe disk fragmentation or bad sectors on the hard disk. In order to solve this problem, proceed with the steps below.
Step 1: Run CHKDSK
CHKDSK is a built-in tool that checks and repairs file system corruption in the hard disk. It also scans the disk for bad sectors and marks them, so your OS doesn’t try scanning those bad areas again and again thus preventing problems.
To run CHKDSK, follow the steps below.
- Click on Windows + E to open File Explorer
- Right click on the drive where Outlook in installed (normally C: drive)
- Select Properties > Tools tab
- Click on Check Now
- In the dialogue that appears, check both the options listed below
- Automatically fix file system errors
- Scan and attempt recovery of bad sectors.
- Then click Start to run CHKDSK
Repeat the same process again if you find any errors in the CHKDSK status report. If you find that all errors have been fixed, proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Run Scanpst.exe
Once CHKDSK has fixed all errors, run Scanpst.exe again to see if it functions without any errors. To run Scanpst, follow the steps below
- Search for exe in the Windows Explorer Search bar
- Open the tool and select the PST file to repair
- Click on Repair and see if it runs successfully
If Scanpst is successful, all issues are fixed and you are all set. If not, you can try alternate solutions such as the one explained below.
Use Remo Repair Outlook (PST)
Third party tools such as Remo Repair Outlook (PST) can be used if Scanpst fails. This software can be used to fix all kinds of corruption issues with PST files, even the ones that Scanpst cannot.
Once the file is repaired, all Outlook attributes such as emails, contacts, calendars, appointments, etc. can be recovered by importing the repaired PST file into Outlook.
Remo Repair can work with large or compressed PST files, so you don’t have a limitation regarding that. Regarding compatibility, it works with all recent versions of Outlook and all recent versions of Windows. Download a trial and check out the software today!