Some days before, I discussed about some ways to restore permanently deleted emails from Outlook PST file. We all consider that losing data by deletion is a worse scenario but ever wondered the situation when the file itself is deleted and you have nothing to get back your data!
Yes, some unfortunate people like me come across such scenarios and what I have always learned from these tragic cases is to Be Optimistic! Not only a positive mind relaxes you but it gives some positive idea to work around the problem.
“Today, I opened Outlook 2010 on my Windows7 machine. Like always, I entered the password to open my PST but unlike all days, I was welcomed with an error that said that the PST file is missing. I navigated to the drive where my PST file was saved and I noticed that the PST file wasn’t there. The only question in my mind was what has happened to my file and how can I get it back?”
Definitely, BACKUP was what clicked my mind first but it was created few months ago. But yes, I had Windows File Versions for all disk enabled which was a positive sign to get back my lost PST file. To use File Versions, you need to have Windows Vista, Windows7, or Windows XP (addition requirements for XP discussed in later section).
The methods shared below to recover deleted PST files can be used if a PST file is overwritten or it is corrupt but cannot be repaired with applications like scanpst.exe (popular as Inbox Repair tool).
Introduction to the “Previous Versions” Feature
Previous Versions is a feature in Windows Operating System where multiple versions of a file gets created after a defined timestamp. It is included in Windows 7 and Windows Vista (Business, Home, and Ultimate edition). This feature is renamed as File History in Windows 8.
If you want to recover permanently deleted PST files through Previous Versions, then follow these simple steps mentioned below:
1: Navigate to the folder where PST file is saved. Right-click on the folder, and choose ‘Properties’.
2: Click on Previous Versions tab. All available versions of the Outlook folders will be listed within the dialog box. You can Open a version to Outlook folder, Copy it, or Restore it. You can find all PST files under this folder. Copy the latest one so that PST file along with recent data can be restored.
Note: It is recommended to copy the file to an alternate location and then open it in Outlook. Do not restore it. If the PST file that is opened does not contain appropriate data, check out the most recent version of file.
How to Activate Previous Versions Windows 7
By default, Previous Versions feature is enabled for all logical drives of HDD but if an additional drive is added, thus attribute can be enabled by following means:
- In Control Panel, move to “System and Security” and choose “System”
- In the left pane, click on “System Protection” link. A new dialog box named “System Properties” will pop up on screen.
- Click on “System Protection” tab and move to “Protection Settings” segment to select the drive for which previous versions are to be created.
- Click on “Configure…” button. Restore settings should be set to “Only restore previous versions of files”.
- You can use the slider to define how much disk space should be used to create previous versions of files. When new shadow copies are generated and no more space is available, the old versions of the file get automatically deleted.
ALSO READ: Outlook Sends Multiple Copies of Same Email: How to Tackle It?
Reasons for Automated Deletion of PST
- Virus Scanner: If anti-virus program is integrated with Outlook, then it scans every email for virus. If message downloaded to inbox contains virus and he scanner detects virus pattern in raw data of PST file, it will delete the file.
- Disk Issues: If the PST file is saved on disk that has bad sectors, then possibility is PST file gets deleted due to this. This often results in CRC errors that should not be reflected and fixed on time.
- Incorrect Cleanup Session: Possibility is someone has accidently deleted PST file and sometimes the PST file is so large that the Recycle Bin cannot accommodate it. In this case, the PST file gets permanently deleted.
If nothing works to get back lost PST file, the solution to get some disk data recovery software.