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How to Open & Read PST File In Absence of MS Outlook Environment Easily?

Published on 27 July 17
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Outlook is a most commonly used email client. It uses POP and IMAP protocols for communication purpose. The mailbox items of MS Outlook are stored in a PST file on the local machine. A Personal Storage Table(or PST) can be used to recover deleted or lost emails. Business users that travel often, need to access old emails and mailbox folder items. They often carry their PST file in an external hard drive to open later. Now, some may prefer to open & read PST file in absence of MS Outlook Environment. In this post, possible reasons for corruption in PST file and solution to view these files without Outlook has been discussed.

More About PST file and Outlook
Outlook is a personal information manager that allows options to create tasks, journals, calendars, notes etc. Every business and home user can use this email application for sending and receiving emails. Outlook stores its data in a binary file format that can be accessed using Outlook only. Contents of a user mailbox can only be accessed via PST file. This file can be viewed only through Outlook. Hence, MS Outlook is a must to view mailbox data. Moreover, a corrupt PST can not be viewed even by Outlook. Read more to find out reasons for corruption in PST file.

Reasons for Corruption in PST File


PST file is also prone to corruption, just like any other file. Here are some of the reasons for corruption in PST file:
  • Software Issues: Using faulty data recovery software may cause issues with the PST file of an Outlook client. Such tools corrupt the database files and overwrite healthy PST with garbage values. This can lead to deletion of PST file and along with mailbox data that can not be recovered.

  • Hardware Related Issues: Any issues in the physical device that stores the PST file can lead to corruption in the PST file. Hardware related issues include technical problems like a malfunction of the hard disk and accessing PST via remote connection. Also, issues like damage to the sector of the storage device saving the storage file. These all can lead to damage to the PST file.

  • Virus Attack: A malicious data file that can take up a lot of space on PST file can cause Outlook to hang. Such viral attacks are quite common in email clients, as email attachments are the most common way to distribute a virus. It is highly recommended not to open attachments from anonymous senders.

  • Abrupt Outlook Closure: Users tend to close Outlook without saving data on PST file. This can cause corruption in the storage file and lead to inaccessibility to data residing within it.

  • Power Surges: If there are power related issues on a user’s computer, the PST file may not be saved in a proper manner. This can lead to corruption on PST file and cause problems while accessing user mailbox.

Possible Methods to Open and Read PST File Without Outlook
A PST file can only be accessed using Microsoft Outlook application. However, there are ways through which one can open & read PST file in absence of MS Outlook Environment. Below are some of the possible ways through which users can access their mailbox contents:
  • Web Browser: There are ways through which an email can be viewed using a web browser like Chrome, Mozilla, Safari etc. A PST file mostly comprises of individual emails and mailbox items. One has to just open these files separately and save them in an HTML/HTM file format. This can be done by opening the message, use the Save As.. and save the email.


This step can be performed over and over again for each email file. This is a very time-consuming and lengthy process. Often users look for a workaround when a mailbox storage file has more than say, 400+ data. But the advantage is that the email properties like email header, cc and formatting is retained in this process. One can view email same as it was in Outlook interface.


  • Text Based Reader: This is very similar to saving email file in HTML format. In this, instead of saving in an HTM/HTML file format users can save emails in ‘.txt’ file format. This will save the email file in a text file. Such files can be accessed by using any or all text based reader applications. One of them being Notepad which is available on all Windows Operating systems. It is easy to read from anywhere, at any time. Header and message body are all included in a text format.

Alternative Approach to Open and Read PST File without MS Outlook
This solution may not be effective in the case of corrupt PST file. For that one needs a professional and proven solution for viewing Outlook data. One such reliable tool is SysTools PST Viewer, which is easy to use and highly recommended by many data recovery agents. It is an easy-to-use application that can be used by both technical as well as non-technical users. It has a simple user interface that can allow preview of PST file contents instantly. It even repairs and recovers corrupt PST file before loading them into the application. Any minor or high corruption can be fixed using this tool.
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Wrapping It Up
For a business user, an email application is used on a daily basis. Chances are at times, there can be corruption in the storage file of the Outlook application. Hence, users may try to look for alternate approaches to open & read PST file in absence of MS Outlook environment. Some alternative has been discussed in this post including using a third-party software. A PST Viewer is an efficient tool that can resolve all issues pertaining to PST file. It repairs and recovers corrupt PST file and allow users to preview its contents easily.



Outlook is a most commonly used email client. It uses POP and IMAP protocols for communication purpose. The mailbox items of MS Outlook are stored in a PST file on the local machine. A Personal Storage Table(or PST) can be used to recover deleted or lost emails. Business users that travel often, need to access old emails and mailbox folder items. They often carry their PST file in an external hard drive to open later. Now, some may prefer to open & read PST file in absence of MS Outlook Environment. In this post, possible reasons for corruption in PST file and solution to view these files without Outlook has been discussed.

of PST file contents instantly. It even repairs and recovers corrupt PST file before loading them into the application. Any minor or high corruption can be fixed using this tool.

1

Wrapping It Up

For a business user, an email application is used on a daily basis. Chances are at times, there can be corruption in the storage file of the Outlook application. Hence, users may try to look for alternate approaches to open & read PST file in absence of MS Outlook environment. Some alternative has been discussed in this post including using a third-party software. A PST Viewer is an efficient tool that can resolve all issues pertaining to PST file. It repairs and recovers corrupt PST file and allow users to preview its contents easily.

This blog is listed under Development & Implementations and Data & Information Management Community

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