Understanding and managing data is crucial in our digital world, and one common challenge faced by Microsoft Outlook users is dealing with OST files. Offline Storage Table (OST) allows you to work offline and then synchronize updates with the Exchange Server the next time you connect to the internet. However, like any file, OST can become damaged or corrupted, rendering them inaccessible. In such situations, you might find yourself asking, "How to repair OST file?" This blog post aims to guide you through this process in an easy-to-understand manner.
What is OST File?
Offline Storage Table (OST) files are a vital component of Microsoft Outlook. These are generated when users configure their accounts with Microsoft Exchange Server in cached mode, or when they set up IMAP email accounts or Outlook.com (Hotmail) accounts. Essentially, OST files are a mirror of your mailbox stored on your local machine.
These files provide a tremendous benefit to users, particularly those who often work offline. They store downloaded emails, contacts, calendars, and other data, making them accessible even without an internet connection. Moreover, they enable users to create and modify emails, appointments, contacts, tasks, among other things, offline. Once online, any changes made offline are synchronized with the server.
Why OST Files Get Corrupted?
As beneficial as OST files are, they are not impervious to problems. These files can be corrupted or damaged due to a variety of reasons, leading to accessibility issues. Here are some common causes of OST file corruption:
Virus or Malware Attacks: Viruses and malware can corrupt files, including OST files. Once infected, these files can become unreadable or inaccessible.
Abrupt Termination of Outlook: If Microsoft Outlook is closed abruptly while an OST file is being written to or updated, this could lead to the corruption of the file.
Power Outages: Sudden power outages when an OST file is open and in use can lead to corruption.
Hard Drive Failures: If the hard drive where your OST files are stored fails or suffers from bad sectors, this can lead to OST file corruption.
Network Connection Issues: Since OST files synchronize with the Microsoft Exchange Server, any interruption or issues with the network connection during this process could potentially damage the OST files.
Software or Hardware Conflicts: Issues with hardware or software can cause OST files to become corrupt. This could be due to problems with your computer's operating system, conflicts with other software, or faulty hardware components.
Oversized OST Files: In older versions of Outlook (2002 and earlier), OST files have a size limit of 2GB. If this limit is exceeded, it can cause the file to become unstable and eventually corrupt.
Understanding the causes of OST file corruption is crucial as it can help you take preventive measures to protect your valuable data. When an OST file becomes corrupted, it can lead to errors, and you may be unable to access your emails and other data. In the worst-case scenario, you may lose all your data.
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How to repair OST file?
When an OST file gets corrupted, there are a couple of standard methods available to repair and restore it. The two primary approaches include manual methods and the use of third-party OST repair tools.
The manual methods usually involve built-in features of the Outlook application, like the Inbox Repair Tool (ScanPST.exe), or recreating the OST file. While these methods can be effective, they can also be quite technical and might not always recover all your data.
On the other hand, third-party OST repair tools often provide a more user-friendly interface and offer more advanced recovery options, making them a popular choice for many users to repair OST files.
Here, we will delve into each of these methods in detail, providing step-by-step instructions to guide you through the process of repairing OST files.
Method 1: Repair OST file using Inbox Repair Tool
To help manage and repair OST files, Microsoft provides a built-in tool known as Scanpst.exe or the Inbox Repair Tool. This tool can diagnose and repair errors in your OST file, making your data accessible once again. It is available in MS Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019.
Note: Before starting the inbox repair tool, create a backup.
- Close MS Outlook and go to one of the following file locations
- Outlook 2019: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
- Outlook 2016: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
- Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15
- Outlook 2010: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14
- Outlook 2007: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12
- Open Scanpst.exe
- Click on the browse button
- Select the Outlook data file which you want to repair and click on the Start button
- Select Make backup of scanned file before repairing checkbox
- Click on the Repair button
After the process, you might see the Recovered Personal Folders or Lost and Found folder. These folders contain your missing folders and items. To place the items in the original folder structure, you can select items, and after that, drag the selected items and drop them into the original folders.
Method 2: Delete and recreate the OST file
For those using Microsoft Exchange, deleting and recreating the OST file is another possible solution. This method, while effective, should be used cautiously, as it involves deleting data. Before using this method, make sure that all of your data has been synchronized with your Exchange server to prevent data loss.
- Make sure the email app is closed.
- Open Control Panel
- Select User Accounts
- Click on the Mail option.
- In the Mail Setup screen, click on the Show Profiles button.
- Select Outlook and click on the Properties button.
- Click on the Email Accounts button.
- In the account settings screen, select the Data Files tab
- Select the account and click on the Open File Location button.
- Close Mail, Mail Setup, and Account Settings screen
- Delete the damaged OST file
- Open MS Outlook
- After this process, MS Outlook will automatically recreate the OST file.
Note: This method pulls data from the MS Exchange server. It cannot restore Outlook items that you created in Offline mode and was not synched with MS Exchange.
Method 3: Repair OST file using OST Repair Tool
If your OST file is still inaccessible after trying the first two methods, you might consider using a third-party tool like SysCurve OST to PST Converter to repair OST file. This software is designed to repair and recover damaged OST files and convert them into PST format, making your data accessible in Microsoft Outlook.
- Download and install the OST Repair tool
- Click on the Add file and select the OST file which you want to repair
- Click on the Scan button and click on the OK button
- After the process, the software will generate a preview mode inside the software
- Click on the Export and choose the Export All folders option
- Select PST (Outlook data file) as an Export option and provide a destination path
- Click on the Next button to start the conversion process
After the process, you can open the converted PST file with MS Outlook.
Other helpful features
- Quickly repair OST files
- Convert OST to PST, EML, MBOX, HTML, RTF, and other file formats
- Migrate OST to Office 365 and Live Exchange server
- Maintain original hierarchy folder structure
- Perform selective conversion based on To, From, Subject, Cc, Date range, etc.
- Free conversion or migration for the first 20 items per folder
- Support Windows OS and all versions of MS Outlook
Frequently Asked Questions
What can cause OST file corruption?
OST files can be corrupted due to several reasons such as abrupt termination of the Outlook application, power outages, virus or malware attacks, faulty networking devices, synchronization issues, and hard drive failures.
Can I repair OST files from Outlook 2016 and 2019?
Yes, you can repair OST files from Outlook 2016 and 2019. The methods mentioned in this post, both manual and third-party software like the SysCurve OST Repair tool, apply to all versions of Outlook, including 2016 and 2019.
Is it possible to convert a repaired OST file to different formats?
Yes, with the help of the SysCurve OST Repair tool, you can convert the repaired OST file into different formats like PST, EML, MBOX, HTML, and RTF.
Is it safe to use a third-party OST to PST Converter tool?
Yes, it is safe to use a reliable third-party OST Converter tool. It is recommended to choose a trusted and well-reviewed software like SysCurve OST to PST Converter. This tool ensures the safety and security of your data while repairing and converting the OST file.
What if the manual method to repair OST file does not work?
If the manual method does not work or if it seems too complicated, you can use third-party OST repair tools like SysCurve OST to PST Converter. It provides a simpler and more user-friendly way to repair and convert OST files. It also offers advanced features that may not be available in manual methods.
Is there a size limit for the OST file to be repaired?
Most manual methods may have limitations when dealing with larger OST files. However, third-party software like the SysCurve OST Repair tool can handle OST files of any size, making it a preferred choice when dealing with large OST files.
The Final Word
As we've demonstrated, dealing with corrupted OST files need not be a nightmare. With the help of built-in tools like Scanpst.exe and third-party solutions like the SysCurve OST Repair tool, you can effectively repair and recover your OST files. As with all things technical, caution is advised. Always ensure to back up your files and data regularly to prevent irreversible data loss. We hope this comprehensive guide was helpful in your quest to repair OST files and made the process less daunting.