Outlook 2010 Access Denied. Cannot open pst file‏.

Just had this issue at one of the client site. After goggling and trying all different solutions, its come out as a very funny solution….

the PST file was read only…. Humm

The client of mine who uses Microsoft Outlook had to reinstall Windows 7 from Windows XP and all his programs, including Outlook. He restored his PST file from a backup but kept getting the error “File access is denied. You do not have permission to access this file” when trying to open the PST”. Here is how we solved it.

Restore the PST file from a backup

If you have backed up your PST file onto a CD or DVD, first copy it onto your hard drive and remove the read only attributes of the file. To  do this right click on the pst file and ensure the Read Only option is not checked, if it is then remove it and click Apply.

Even if you backed up on External HDD, just check the attributes.

My client had backed up his PST file using an online backup service so it was restored directly onto the hard drive, the read only attributes was not selected. We double checked this by using the attrib command in cmd which confirmed the file attribute was set to archive (so far so good).

Open the PST file

To open the restored PST file do not use the import function in Outlook. This is option can cause corruption so the best method is:

Open Microsoft Outlook, click File, Open, Outlook Data File and browse to find the restored pst file – select it and click OK.

In theory you should be able to open the PST file and its contents will now be displayed within Outlook. Not for us, we still kept getting “File access is denied. You do not have permission to access this file”.

As this was pointing towards a file permission issue we made sure the user was logged in as the Administrator, no luck here as the same error occurred.

Scan the PST file for corruption

Microsoft comes with a useful utility called scanpst.exe – you may need to use the search function to locate scanpst.exe on your computer. When you find it open it and browse to the restored pst file, now try and scan it. When we tried it we received the access denied error again, something is really not right and users is starting to think we’ve lost all his emails.

Check File Permissions of the PST file

At this point we ignored the fact it could be a corrupt PST file and also that Outlook was the cause, after all Outlook wasn’t open so how could that deny access to the PST?

Back to check the attributes. I got the user to try and set the pst file as read only (just as a test) and when he tried to apply the changes guess what error occurred? Yup, “File access is denied. You do not have permission to access this file”. So now we’re looking at a permissions problem.

We followed MS knowledge base article KB 308421 How to take ownership of a file or a folder in Windows XP. First step was to disable simple file sharing as instructed in KB 307874 and configure the ownership of the file. Once we performed this step we were able to open the PST file again.

The solution is very simple but yet the problem is very popular. If you have problems accessing your PST and seeing the error “File access is denied. You do not have permission to access this file” then try the above, it should work.

Best of Luck

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This entry was posted in How To, Outlook, Tips & Trick and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Outlook 2010 Access Denied. Cannot open pst file‏.

  1. enrico says:

    Same here but the problem popped up just after rearranging files on hd partitions instead of after os upgrade.
    silly read ony files 🙂

  2. What’s up, this weekend is fastidious for me, since this occasion i am reading this wonderful educational post here at my residence.

  3. A.D. says:

    Thanks! It work now.

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