Accessing a different PST file through Microsoft Outlook without overwriting (and potentially corrupting) your current PST file is very difficult to do. Most users who attempt this end up wiping their active PST and for that exact reason, it's preferable to use a PST file reader instead.
After researching the best solutions, we've pulled together the important details about the 4 best Outlook PST readers and assembled them in our guide below.
Time and time again we recommend iMyFone ScanOutlook for all PST/OST related tasks, and for good reason. It offers widespread support of all Outlook versions and as you'd expect, it's a wonderful PST file reader.
View PST files from any Outlook version (2003. 2019) for Free
Access all items in PST file including contacts, notes, tasks, attachments, and more
Scan and recover your permanently deleted items from your PST file
Export data from PST files as HTML, MSG, EML, RTF, and PDF
Repair corrupt, infected, or damaged OST/PST files
Works well on various Windows OS, including the latest Windows 11.
After checking out these features and downloading iMyFone ScanOutlook, jump into the guide below to use it as a simple PST reader.
Step 1. Launch ScanOutlook on your computer. A list of data files found in the default Outlook installation will be shown.
Step 2. Either select one of these PSTs or use the manual select feature. Once you've chosen a PST, click "Repair" to proceed.
Step 3. After a short scan and possible repair, everything in the PST will be accessible. You can navigate through this data using the menu on the left.
Step 4 (optional). If you want to export data, tick the box next to the file and click "Export Selected" at the top of the window.
Step 5 (optional). Now choose one of the saveable formats, a save location, and press "Export".
Exporting is completely optional so if you just want to use ScanOutlook for viewing a PST file, this is doable without the final steps. As you can see, this is a basic yet effective program which is ideal for viewing PST.
Kernel Outlook PST Viewer is also a great program that offers a simple solution to view whatever data your PST file is storing.
Provides an easily readable data tree after scanning PST
Can open PST files in bulk and simultaneously
Displays all email data (timestamps, recipients, subject lines, etc)
Scans and displays corrupt/damaged PST files if the damage isn't too severe
Allows users to create informative reports about the PST data
Free to download, doesn't require a license!
This free program is as simple as it gets and is easy enough to use that nobody will get stuck or confused when they use it. Being able to read multiple PSTs at the same time and create data reports are two unique features that make Kernel Outlook PST Viewer stand out, but there are some negatives.
Reportedly slower performance than other PST viewers
PST files with intense damage cannot always be opened
All the features that we generally need in a free PST reader without Outlook can be found in Sysinfo PST Viewer. With a simple interface easy navigation, you can expect viewing your PST files with this program to be a cakewalk!
Opens and views corrupt Outlook PST data
Lets users preview data before exporting to a new file (emails, attachments, and more)
Doesn't require Microsoft Outlook to be installed
Includes 3 scanning modes to make sure as much data as possible can be viewed
For the cherry on top, if you're using the viewer and don't feel like it's done a good job, a moneyback guarantee is in place. For the most part this is a great program but of course, we can't ignore the disadvantages.
Unable to export data from PST files into another EML, MSG, or DBX file
Requires $49 license purchase for access to all features
The final addition to our list is FreeViewer PST File Viewer. Considered more of a PST analysing tool than it is an Outlook PST reader, FreeViewer is surprisingly effective and users are rarely disappointed by the results it delivers.
Repairs and displays corrupt PST files
Provides detailed information about all the data inside of PST
Has 2 scanning options depending on if PST is damaged
Preview and selectively extract data from PST files
Includes advanced PST viewing tools (such as bypassing password protection)
Being able to access encrypted PSTs is an impressive feature that this free PST reader has. We've all been there. forgetting your Outlook password and not being able to read the most recent emails is a disappointing experience.
Not actually free (requires a paid upgrade to access premium features)
Although it functions great, the interface is somewhat unappealing
So, without the tricky reconfiguring of Microsoft Outlook, you can download one of these PST email readers and access the file's data easily. iMyFone ScanOutlook always delivers great results and is a reliable tool for all things OST/PST. Whether repairing a corrupt data file or simply reading the data, that's the tool to use.
By Simon Marcus , to Outlook Repair
Updated: Jul 21, 2021