How to Recover a Contact List in Outlook

Microsoft Outlook 2010 stores email account information in an Outlook data file, or Personal Store (PST) file. The Outlook data file saves calendar data, contacts, messages, notes and journal items.

If your Outlook contact list is corrupted or if you or another user deleted your primary PST file, you can restore your account information from a backup or use the Inbox Repair Tool to recover your data file.

From the Inbox Repair Tool

Step 1

Click "Start." Click "Computer." Click "Tools," then click "Folder Options." Click the "View" tab.

Step 2

Click the radio button next to "Show hidden files, folders, and drives," then click "OK."

Step 3

Click an empty space in the address bar, which is located to the left of the search box. Type "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office 14" into the address bar.

Step 4

Press "Enter" to go to the Office 2010 program folder. Find scanpst.exe and double-click the file to launch the Inbox Repair Tool.

Step 5

Enter "C:\Users\Account Name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\Filename.pst" into the "Enter the name of the file you want to scan" field. Replace "Account Name" with your user name. Replace "filename" with the name assigned to the PST file.

Step 6

Click "Start" and the Inbox Repair Tool will scan for errors. Click "Repair."

Step 7

Open Microsoft Outlook. Load the profile that uses the now-recovered PST file. Hold down "Ctrl" and "6" to open the folder list.

Step 8

Click "Lost and Found." Select the "Home" tab, click "New Items" and point to "More Items." Click "Outlook Data File." Name the file, select a location to save the data file to and click "OK."

Step 9

Drag-and-drop the files in the "Lost and Found" folder to the new data file to restore your contact list and other PST data.

From a Backup

Step 1

Open Microsoft Outlook. Click the "File" tab, then select "Open" from the left pane.

Step 2

Click the "Import" option. In the Import and Export Wizard, click "Import from another program or file." Click "Next."

Step 3

Click "Outlook Data File (.pst)," then click "Next." Click "Browse," then choose the folder where the backup PST file is stored.

Step 4

Click the radio button next to "Replace duplicates with items imported," then click "Next."

Step 5

Enter the password for the backup file. Click "OK." Choose "Contacts" from the "Select the folder to import from" field. Click "Finish" to recover your contact list in Outlook.


You can only recover from a backup if you created a backup of your PST file previously.