CSCANPST - A command line interface for the SCANPST

UPDATE 10/18/2018:

You no longer need this tool! Microsoft recently updated thier SCANPST utility to include all the functionality of CSCANPST!

Read about it here:

I tried it out and it works great!...

(Note that the "-rescan" didn't work, but the "-force" ones did.)

And a big thanks to Harry Q. for the heads-up on this change!


SCANPST is a utility published by Microsoft for repairing Outlook PST files. Unfortunately, the SCANPST utility does not have any command-line interface so you can only control it interactively from the GUI. Since SCANPST can take a long time to run and because it requires user input while running, this can be a big waste of time.

CSCANPST is tool that will let you use SCANPST from the command-line, making it possible to write batch files that will run SCANPST unattended.

CSCANPST is now open source!

I just don't have time to maintain it anymore, and there are lots of people offering to do translations
into other languages.

The code is here...

Please contribute back any updates, fixes, improvements, or translations!




Jason Simotas has written a graphical front end to CSCANPST. You can find it here.

It automaticall finds your active PST files and even supports Drap-and-Drop of your other PST files.

Unless you specially want a command line tool for writing your own scripts, this is probably what you want.


Why would you want to run SCANPST from the command-line?

To save time. Even if you only have a single PST file, every time you run SCANPST you have to sit and watch it run so you can respond to the pop-up dialog boxes that it generates. By contrast, with CSCANPST, you can start the process and then go get a cup off coffee; it will run until it is done without needing any additional input from you.

If you have multiple PST files, you can even use a batch file to automatically run SCANPST on all of them with just one step. Again, you can start the process and then let it run until it is done while you do something else. This is much better than having to manually launch SCANPST on each PST file individually and watch it run.

Quick Start

  1.  Click here to download CSCANPST.ZIP and unzip it to your hard drive.
  2. Open the SCANALL.BAT file using Notepad or any text editor.
  3. Change the SCANPST_PATH line to point to the location of your local copy of SCANPST.EXE.
  4. Change the PST_FILE_MASK line to point to the directory where you keep your Outlook PST files.
  5. Save and close the SCANALL.BAT file.
  6. Run SCANALL.BAT either from a command prompt or by double clicking on it.


The CSCANPST.EXE executable takes two requered parameters. The first is the fully qualified path to a SCANPST.EXE executable. The second is the name of the PST file to scan.

You can optionally add an "N" at the end of the command line to suppres the creation of a backup PST file.

Once launched, CSCANPST will load SCANPST and send it the requested filename. It will respond to SCANPST input requests until either the file is repaired or there is an error.

On exit, CSCANPST will set the DOS errorcode to one of the following values...

ErrorLevel Meaning
0 Scan completed successfully. No errors found.
1 Scan completed successfully. Minor inconcistancies found and repaired.
2 Scan completed successfully. Errors found and repaired.
3 Another copy of SCANPST is already running. Quit out any running instances and try again.
4 User canceled the scan.
5 Error opening the specified PST file.
6 File already in use. Make sure Outlook is not running.
7 Could not find the specified PST file. Check that you specified the correct directory and filename.
8 File type not recognized. Make sure the specified file is an Outlook PST file.
9 An error has occurred in SCANPST which caused the repair to be stopped. Some modifications may have been made to the scanned file.
10 PST file was read only - file not scanned.
11 Not enough arguments on command line (must be at least two).
12 Specified SCANPST.EXE not found.
13 Specified PST file not found.

CSCANPST will always answer "yes" when SCANPST asks to make a backup file. It will always use the default file name for the backup file (typically the PST name with a .BAK extention).

CSCANPST will append a line to the file called "CSCANPST.LOG" with details of the scan. If the log file does not exist, it will be created.  The appended line will show the file scanned and outcome. Possible outcomes are...

ERROR: User canceled

ERROR: Could not open file
ERROR: File already in use
ERROR: File not found
ERROR: File type not recognized
No errors found
Minor inconsistencies repaired
File repaired


Entering this command will scan the specified PST file and return to the command prompt...

CSCANPST "C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\Mapi\1033\scanpst.exe" "C:\Documents and Settings\User Profile\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Archive.pst"

Here is a short batch file that will scan the two specified PST files and then report the results...

CSCANPST "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\SCANPST.EXE" "C:\Outlook\main.pst"
CSCANPST "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\SCANPST.EXE" "C:\Outlook\work.pst"
CSCANPST "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\SCANPST.EXE" "C:\Outlook\Spam.pst"

Here is an example of the output in CSCANPST.LOG after running it on my computer (I have a lot of PST files)...

Launched on C:\Users\josh\Documents\Mail\archive.pst...File repaired
Launched on C:\Users\josh\Documents\Mail\mail2005.pst...No errors found
Launched on C:\Users\josh\Documents\Mail\Mail2006.pst...No errors found
Launched on C:\Users\josh\Documents\Mail\Mail2007-B.pst...No errors found
Launched on C:\Users\josh\Documents\Mail\Mail2007.pst...No errors found
Launched on C:\Users\josh\Documents\Mail\Mail2008-A.pst...No errors found
Launched on C:\Users\josh\Documents\Mail\Spam-062808.pst...File repaired
Launched on C:\Users\josh\Documents\Mail\Spam-0805.pst...No errors found
Launched on C:\Users\josh\Documents\Mail\Spam.pst...No errors found
Launched on C:\Users\josh\Documents\Mail\spam20080908.pst...No errors found



Q:  How can I find the location of my SCANPST.EXE?
A:  You can do a Windows file search for "SCANPST.EXE". Alternately, check out this helpful page.

Q: How can I find the location of my PST files?
A: You can do a Windows file search for "*.PST". Alternately, check out this helpful page.

Q: How does CSCANPST work?
A: CSCANPST is written in the surprisingly handy AutoHotKey language. It basically runs the SCANPST.EXE then watches for certain strings of words in windows that SCANPST generates. Based on what it sees, it pushes the right buttons to make SCANPST complete its job.

Q: SCANPST poped up a message that CSCANPST does not seem to be responding to.
A: CSCANPST responds to every error I could make happen, but there may be others that only happen in situations that I could not create. If you ever see one of these, please email me and let me know and I will add that case to CSCANPST. A screenshot showing the exact wording on the pop-up message would be very helpful.

Q: I am using a non-English version of Office and CSCANPST doesn't seem to work.
A: Yes, CSCANPST actually looks at the text inside the SCANPST windows to know what to do and when to type, so it will not recognize what is going on in windows that have non-English text. Probably the easiest solution is to find a English version of the SCANPST.EXE executable and run CSCANPST using that. Note that you do not need to install Office in English or even overwrite your existing SCANPST, just get an additional copy of SCANPST.EXE and OLMAPI32.DLL in English, put them in any directory on your hard drive, and specify the path to this new SCANPST.EXE when running CSCANPST.

Some translations also and insturctions here...


Q: How much does CSCANPST cost?
A: CSCANPST is free. I do ask that you do not redistribute it- instead, please send people to this webpage so they can download it themselves. It would also be great if you could send an email to me at the support address below so that I can let you know about any updates to the program.

Q: Isn't there an easier/better way to do this?
A: Not that I could find. It does seem like Microsoft could have very easily added a few command-line parameters to SCANPST, but they didn't. Of course the day after I finished CSANPST I found this page. It is very similar to CSANPST, but I think (now that I already made it) that mine is a bit better documented.

If you really love CSCANPST, you can express your gratitude though a tax-deductible donation of any size to my favorite charity, The Aasha Foundation. They spend zero on administration and fundraising, so every dollar you give goes directly to helping the orphans.

Q: What is your relationship to Microsoft, makers of SCANPST?
A: None, except that I am a user of their program. 

Q: Sometimes it seems like SCANPST gets "stuck", but then wakes up if I click anywhere in the window.
A: This happens sometimes to me too. It might be a bug in AUTOHOTKEY or Windows. I've found that it usually only happens if I am going something else while the scan is running that messes up the window focus, so I usually start CSCANPST running and then leave the computer alone. Great excuse to go get a cup of tea.

Q: Does CSCANPST work with non-English versions of SCANPST.EXE?
A: Unfortunately CSCANPST looks specifically for English text in the window titles and prompts, so it will not work with non-English versions of Scanpst.exe.  

You can download an English version of ScanPst.exe and use CSCANPST with that instead. See FAQ question above.

Q: How can I automatically keep scanning a PST file until it is completely repaired?
A: Often it takes a few passes of SCANPST to completely fix a broken PST file.

It is easy to do this automatically in a batch file that checks the return code from CSCANPST. For example:

REM ***This batch file will automatically run SCANPST on specified PST file in the 
REM ***directory specified by PST_FILE_MASK. 
REM ***It will keep running until the file is clean or there is an error.

set SCANPST_PATH="C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\SCANPST.EXE"
set PST_FILE="D:\Users\josh\Documents\My Mail\Mail2010.pst"

REM *** CD into in the directory that contains the launched batch file...

echo CDing into %~dp0


cd %~p0

del cscanpst.log


cscanpst.exe %SCANPST_PATH% %PST_FILE%

if errorlevel 3 goto DONE

if errorlevel 1 goto loop

ECHO *****File scanned clean!


@echo Log:
@type cscanpst.log


This will keep scanning and scanning until either the file comes back with no errors, or CSCANPST hit a non-recoverable error (like file not found).

Just be sure to paste in the correct values for SCANPST_PATH and PST_FILE for your machine.

Q: How can I have it scan though all PST files in a tree of subfolders?
A: It is possible to do in with a little batch file magic. Check out this lin for ideas…


5/19/2018   New release on GitHub. Fixes some glaring errors in the example batch file, adds pre-compiled .exe's for the translations.
11/25/2013 - Source code released on GitHub!
7/28/2012 - Added link to new GUI tool.
10/13/2011 - Added Q&A about how to keep scanning a file until it comes clean.
5/25/2010 - New version of the CSCANPST executable that _really_ fixes "suppress backups " to for both "error repair" and "minor inconsistancies" repairs. Wow, that was harder than I thought!
4/29/2010 - New version of the CSCANPST executable that fixes "suppress backups " to for both "error repair" and "minor inconsistancies" repairs.
4/26/2010 -

Note that this new version changed the errorlevel values so you must update any bacth files that check these values. Now any error level less than 3 indicates success.

  • Added new errorlevels to indicate if there were errors or not.
  • Added new errorlevels to indicate errors in the command line parameters.
  • Added new command line parameter to let you suppress the creation of a backup PST file.
  • Added detection for "read only file" message.
2/5/2010 -
  • Add a reference to OLMAPI32.DLL in the FAQ question about using non-English versions of SCANPST.EXE.
10/3/2009 -
  • Added FAQ question about non-English versions SCANPST.EXE.
11/3/2008 -
  • First published
11/24/2008 -
  • Fixed broken links and formatting errors on the page that Expression somehow messed up. Sorry.
1/12/2008 -
  • Updated CSCANPST.EXE to correctly recognize the version of SCANPST that comes with Office 2003- before it would only recognize the 2007 version.
  • Updated the SCANALL.BAT file to CD into the launch directory so you can now run SCANALL.BAT from anywhere and the log file will end up in the launch directory.
  • Changed "Updates" section to display in this attractive table format. I wish I could figure out how to do the TD vertical-alignment:top with CSS...
3/5/2009 -
  • Added quotes around the %%I in the sample batch file so it would correctly handle filenames with spaces in them. Also fixed a spelling error. (thanks Harry)
  • Added FAQ about the SCANPST window getting stuck.
4/22/2009 -
  • Added support for the "error has occurred" message. (thanks David)
7/8/2009  -
  • Changed the example batch files slightly so that they first change the drive to the launched drive letter before changing into the launched directory. The old way didn't work if the batch file was launched in a directory on a different drive from where the batch file was located.



For support, please email me at...

support email address