You receive an error message when you start Outlook

For a Microsoft Outlook 2002 version of this article, see
286162 .


When you start Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 or Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, you may receive the following error message:
The file
drive:\path\file name.pst could not be found.
When you click
OK in the error message, Outlook displays the
Create/Open Personal Folders File dialog box.


This behavior occurs if Outlook delivers e-mail messages to a personal folders (.pst) file, and if one of the following conditions is true:
  • The .pst file where Outlook delivers your e-mail messages is located on a server that is unavailable.
  • The .pst file where Outlook delivers your e-mail messages is corrupted, and Outlook cannot locate it.


To resolve this behavior, use one of the following methods, as appropriate to your situation.

Open a New Personal Folders (.pst) File

If you want to open a new .pst file, type a name for the new file in the Create/Open Personal Folders File dialog box, and then click Open.

Personal Folders (.pst) File That Is Located on a Network Server

.PST files that are located on network drives are not supported.

For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

297019 Personal folder files are unsupported over a LAN or over a WAN link

Corrupted Personal Folders (.pst) File

If you suspect that your .pst file is corrupted, you may be able to recover the file by using the Inbox Repair Tool. To do so, follow these steps.

Note Because there are several versions of Microsoft Windows, the following steps may be different on your computer. If they are, see your product documentation to complete these steps.
  1. Click Start, point to
    Search, and then click Files or Folders.
  2. Type scanpst.exe in the
    Search for files or folders named box, and then click
    Search Now.
  3. In the list of found files, double-click the
    Scanpst.exe file.
  4. Type the name of the .pst file that you want to repair, or click Browse to locate the .pst file.
  5. Click Start.
If you receive an error message, you have the option to back up the file before you try to repair it.

The log file for the repair process has the same name as the .pst file with a .log file name extension. If you repair a file that is named Mailbox.pst, the log file is named Mailbox.log.

More Information

Unless you are using either Microsoft Exchange Server or Microsoft Mail services, Outlook 2003 requires a .pst file to store your e-mail messages, calendar, contacts, and tasks. If Outlook 2003 cannot find a .pst file, the only other folders that you can open are the file system folders, by using Outlook 2003 as a document explorer.