How to Open PST Files Without Outlook

Do wish to open a .PST file on your PC but you do not have Microsoft Office Outlook installed? That’s okay because it is not impossible.

In this body of work, we will be talking about .PST files and how to open them without installing Office Outlook on your computer.

What is a PST File?

A PST “Personal Storage Table” file is an Outlook data file that contains emails, contacts, and calendar events in your mailbox.  It is the file that you export your emails, contacts, events, and calendar from or Office Outlook for backup.

Free PST Viewer:

Why Outlook cannot open?

Sometimes you experience problems when you try to open Outlook and this is due to several reasons like:

  • Corrupted PST file
  • Outlook add-in doesn’t work
  • Corrupted Outlook profile
  • Outlook app problem

You can try to resolve this issue by doing some of the following:

1. Try to open Outlook in Safe Mode

  • To start in Safe Mode, hold down the CTRL key while opening Outlook. (Hold it until the message appears.) Or, click the Start button and in the search or run box type outlook.exe / safe and press
  • If Outlook opens, the add-in is most likely causing the problem. In Outlook, on the File menu, click Options, and then click Add-Ins. At the bottom of the screen where it says “Control”, click Go, and on the next screen, uncheck the boxes.

  • Disable all add-ons. Then, you can start Outlook again and check if it works. If so, you can enable add-ins one at a time until Outlook crashes again. The most likely source of the problem is the add-on you turned on last. Uninstall or reinstall this add-on.

2. Recover Outlook profile

If Outlook still won’t open with the generic PST file, it might be due to a corrupted profile. You can try to restore it from the Control Panel.

  • On the control panel, select the Mail section, and then press Email Accounts.

  • On the Email tab of the Account Settings dialog box, highlight your account and then click Restore

  • Go with steps displayed on the recovery wizard.
  • Click Finish. After the repair is complete, restart Outlook.

Another way at this stage is to copy the existing profile and check if it opens.

On the control panel, select the Mail section, and then click Show Profiles.

  • Click Copy, enter a new name for the profile, for example, add 1 at the end.
  • Select a new profile from the drop-down list under the Use configuration radio button, and then click OK 

  • Try restarting Outlook.
  • If the problem persists, try skipping to the next section.

What if you still cannot open a PST file?

If after trying these steps and you still cannot open your PST file, there are some free tools you can try to help you open and read PST files without the Outlook software.

NOTE: IMPORTANT: Make sure the PST file is not open with any other program before opening it with one of the tools below.

Top FREE Programs for Viewing Outlook files Without an Email Client

MS Outlook helps to save emails on hard drives in PST format; the files are encrypted therefore making it difficult to read them outside Outlook. Therefore if you want to view them without an email client, there are several designed to view these PST files.

Below is a brief overview of several free Outlook viewers with detailed descriptions of how they work their speed, accessibility, interface features, as well as some shortcomings, such as unwanted ads, additional program elements, etc.

Hopefully, this will serve as a guide to enable you to choose the one you feel is right you and save you a lot of time and trouble searching through the internet:

1. Recovery Toolbox for Outlook

Recovery Toolbox for Outlook is a free Outlook PST file viewer capable of opening good or/and damaged mailboxes in Microsoft Outlook. The tool protects client mailboxes from various threats and quickly recovers email data. It also works with the new Outlook 365.

The tool is available in three versions:

  • A free version that allows you to view the object without downloading the tool. It also allows you to estimate how well your file recovered.
  • An online version where you can view and download the recovered files;
  • A licensed version that works offline and allows you to view multiple recovered files multiple times;
  • A tool allows to view password-protected PST files.

There is no need to worry if you do not have a windows computer. The online PST Viewer allows you to recover or view your file online from any software or OS. You can access the online version with this link,

When making use of the Mac PST Viewer, clients will have to upload the .PST file before they try to recover it. The online version of the viewer does not need the computer’s resources. It recovers data and suggests downloading a clean file of PST format when it is ready. This tool is the best available.

2. Kernel PST Viewer

Kernel Outlook PST Viewer is a free tool that enables you to access and view PST (Personal Storage Table) files without installing the MS Outlook program. Outlook stores these PST files on the host computer and not on a centralized server. The Kernel PST viewer application allows you to access and view PST files created only on old versions of Outlook.

You cannot download the results, you have to pay. The tool scans the health of the files and automatically repairs them if they are corrupt, before showing them to you. You will be able to take a look at deleted and encrypted emails and even other mailbox items hosted in Outlook PST files. The tool costs $49 for a one-time recovery.


These tools all work for the viewing and recovery of .PST files; they are specially designed for that purpose. Choosing which Viewer to use is all up to you.

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