Scanpst.exe can’t be found or started when Outlook is installed via the Microsoft Store

My computer crashed while Outlook was running so I now want to check my pst-file for errors with scanpst.exe.

After searching for a long time on my computer, I finally found it in a very odd location (e.g. not in the location everybody is saying where it should be) and I can’t start it either as that returns a permissions error.

Why is scanpst.exe not in its default location and how can I start it so I can repair my pst-file?

Scanpst.exe buttonWhen you’ve installed Outlook via the Microsoft Store on Windows 10, the installation location is different from a “regular” installation via the Office website.

In addition, there are several additional security (sandbox) restrictions which will prevent you from running certain exe-files directly. Trying to run scanpst.exe will run into the following error;

Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item.

With a small trick and the help of Word, we can still run it though.

Step 1: Am I using Outlook from the Microsoft Store?

Microsoft Store buttonIf you don’t know whether Outlook was installed via the Microsoft Store, there are a couple of ways to find out.

  • Method 1
    Go to: Start-> Settings-> Apps
    If you see a listing for Microsoft Office Desktop Apps, you’ve installed Outlook via the Microsoft Store.
    If you see a listing for Microsoft Office 365, you’ve installed Outlook via the Office website.
  • Method 2
    In Outlook go to: File-> Office Account
    Look at the version information shown next to the “About Outlook” button.
    It will either have “Microsoft Store” behind the version number or “Click-to-Run”. The latter indicates an installation via the Office website.

About Outlook - Microsoft Store
The About Outlook information reveals the installation source.

Note: If it turns out that you are not using the Microsoft Store based installation of Outlook, then you can find an overview of the possible locations of scanpst.exe here: Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe).

Step 2: Open scanpst.exe via another Office app installed via the Microsoft Store

Word buttonThe trick to still be able to run scanpst.exe is to open it via another Office app that you have installed via the Microsoft Store. In the instructions below, we are going to use Word but if you only installed Outlook and are still able to open it, then you can use that as well of course.

  1. Open any file browsing dialog in Word.
    For instance;
    • File-> Open-> Browse
    • Insert-> Pictures
  2. Browse to: C:\Program Files\WindowsApps
  3. Open the folder called: Microsoft.Office.Desktop.Outlook_####.####.####.#_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
    • The # stands for the version number of Outlook.
    • Be careful you do not select the Outlook folder with “neutral” in its name as well. If you only see the AppxMetadata folder after opening it, you picked the wrong folder ;-)
  4. Open the folder called: Office16.
  5. Set the dropdown filter in the bottom right corner of the dialog to: All Files (*.*)
  6. Scroll down and right click on scanpst.exe and choose: Open.

A bit unconventional but not impossible; Opening scanpst.exe via Word.
A bit unconventional but not impossible; Opening scanpst.exe via Word.

Scanpst.exe - Microsoft Outlook Inbox Repair Tool
After opening scanpst.exe, it works exactly the same way as normal.

Note: For step-by-step instructions to use scanpst.exe see: Using the Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe)

Optionally: Switch to an Office website (Click-to-Run) installation

Download Office buttonIn case you want to switch from the Microsoft Store installation to an Office website (Click-to-Run) installation, you can do so in the following way;

  1. Go to: Start-> Settings-> Apps
  2. Uninstall: Microsoft Office Desktop Apps
  3. Go to:
  4. Login if you aren’t so automatically, click on the “Install Office” link in the top right corner and follow on-screen instructions.
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