Software for Corrupted Outlook PST Files

Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 4:08 am Pacific USA Time.

My laptop has a habit of, once in a while, really crashing. Not just freezing. Really doing it big time. Anything that's open becomes corrupted after I have to force a shutdown or reboot. I have no idea what causes it. But typically, I have Outlook open because I'm always working on emails.

The first time this happened, it corrupted a small PST I had recently started. SCANPST.exe couldn't fix the file, and I mostly gave up. But this past Saturday night, a crash corrupted my main Outlook PST file. SCANPST couldn't fix it.

I ended up on the web looking for software that promised to recover most or all of the file. I paid $129 for Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Repair Tool. I saw similar tools for similar prices, so I wonder if this is out there under other names.

Short version: Don't buy it. Don't waste your time.

Longer version: This tool is hands-down the most poorly-designed program I've ever experienced in my life. Why? Because the tool starts by recovering your Deleted Items folder… probably the emails you care about the least, and in theory, may not care if they get recovered AT ALL.

The tool spent 24 recovering my Deleted Items folder, and then moved on, and then basically crapped out. It recovered around 800MB of my nearly 1.4GB file. Neither my calendar nor contacts were recovered, despite the website's promises about the software.

I emailed support. This is where it gets worse. They asked me if the DEMO version of their software had shown all of my emails. I said that I didn't run the DEMO for too long. Once it was clear that it was finding SOMETHING in my file, I bought the full version and let that run. They tried to make it sound like maybe I should have let the demo run for 36 hrs to see what it WOULD have recovered, and then run the full version for another 36 hrs to actually recover it. Huh?

They then tried to tell me that all my email is there! Just go into my recovered PST file, and do control-shift-F to find my files. Are you kidding me? Your software recovered HALF of my files, the recovered PST has NONE of the email folders I created, but I should expect to see every email if I just hit control-shift-F?

They are now refunding my money, and if they don't, this is a charge I will surely fight. If you have a corrupted PST, there may not be anything that can help. I'm convinced of that at this point. So I will archive more often, and backup more often, and maybe I'll reformat my computer and reinstall things. It's all I can do.

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Categories: That's Bad Marketing

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One Response to “Software for Corrupted Outlook PST Files”

  1. Recovery starts with knowing which solution you need to reclaim the lost data. File recovery is the most common one but advanced users often rely a a partition product if the circumstance allows it. Service is for a failing hard drive.