Things you should know about the OST and PST file

Sep 19, 2020 | Posted by: Deepak Singh Bisht

Microsoft Outlook is a personal information manager and mainly used as an email application, which includes emails, calendars, contacts, tasks, journals, etc. Microsoft introduced the first Outlook version in 1997, included in Office 97, and bundled with Exchange Server 5.5.

MS Outlook uses PST (Personal Storage Table) and OST(Offline Storage Table) file format to store messages, calendars, and other items on the local computer. Mainly, PST files used to store archived items and OST files maintain offline availability.

What is the OST file?

OST or Offline Storage Table is an Offline Folder file. Most account types, such as Office 365, IMAP, Exchange, and Outlook.com accounts, use the OST file to store a copy of your mailbox on your local computer. With the help of the OST file, you can access emails, calendars, tasks, contacts, and journals without any Internet connection. However, you can’t send or receive a new email until the Internet connection is available. When Internet connectivity is possible, then all the changes will automatically be synchronized with the Exchange server.

What is the difference between OST and PST?

  1. The OST file is helpful without any internet connection. You can access all the items that have been downloaded previously, whereas PST is used to store all the data on the local machine.
  2. OST file support only MS Exchange Server, whereas the PST file can be used with the Exchange server but not recommended. Apart from this, PST is also compatible with other servers.
  3. The OST file is appropriate for domains with limited Internet connections. However, such is not the case for PST files.

How to find the OST files location?

For Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013

  1. Open MS Outlook
  2. Go to File option
  3. Select Account Settings and click on the Account Settings
  4. Select the Data File tab and click on the Open file location.

For Outlook 2010

  1. Open MS Outlook
  2. Go to File option and select Info
  3. Select Account Settings and click on the Account Settings
  4. Select Microsoft Exchange server from the list and click on Change
  5. Click on More Settings
  6. Click on the Advanced tab and click on the Offline Folder File Settings

For Outlook 2007

  1. Open MS Outlook
  2. Click on the Tool Menu and select Account Settings
  3. Select Microsoft Exchange from the list and click on the change button
  4. Select Account Settings and click on the Account Settings
  5. From Change Email Account screen select More Settings
  6. Click on the Advanced tab and click on the Offline folder file settings

What are the reasons for the OST file corruption?

The OST file is useful even when Internet connectivity is not possible. But the OST data file is sensitive and sometimes gets corrupt. Most times, the OST files get corrupt because of unreliable internet connectivity. However, there are many reasons for OST file corruption. We can categorize these reasons into two parts.

  1. Hardware Related
  2. Software Related

Hardware Related

We can categorize the hardware-related issues into three parts.

  1. Data Storage Failure
  2. Sudden Power Loss
  3. Network Connection Failure

Data Storage Failure: This is one of the big reasons for OST file corruption. In this case, the hard drive has some bad sectors, and it stores the OST file in those sectors.

Sudden Power Loss: If power loss happens during the synchronization process, that may corrupt your OST files.

Network Connection Failure: Because of the inappropriate functionality of the routers, hubs, network interface cards, can affect the OST file synchronization process, and it maximizes the chances of OST file corruption.

Software Related

Malicious Software or Virus: If your system is virus-infected, then the chances of OST file corruption may increase. The virus can affect your OST file and make them inaccessible.

What are the most common and uncommon errors in the OST file?

Here is a list of some of the most common and uncommon errors. Let’s discuss what you should do if you find these error messages.

  1. Errors have been detected in the OST file
  2. Exchange is currently in recovery mode
  3. The file OST is in use and cannot be accessed
  4. OST file internal error code 0000000E

Note: Please keep a backup before implementing these methods.

Errors have been detected in the OST:

The following message shows OST file corruption. Here, close all the email applications. You can try these manual methods to repair the OST file.

Method 1: Restore Backup

In this method, You need to replace the corrupted OST file with a recent backup copy.

Note: Please replace with the most recent backup. If you don’t have a recent one, then you could lose some data that was changed after the backup was taken.

Method 2: Remove all offline data and recreate OST

  1. Find OST file on your machine
  2. Right-click on the folder and select properties
  3. Select Clear Offline Items and click on the OK button
  4. Open Outlook
  5. Go to Send/Receive tab and click update folder

After the process, Delete the OST file. When Outlook syncs with Exchange, a new OST file will be automatically created, and it will download all mailbox data into it. If the recent changes did not sync with the Exchange mailbox, then you might lose some data.

Method 3: Create a new MS Outlook profile

This error also occurs if your Outlook profile is damaged. In such a case, delete the current default profile and create a new default Outlook profile:

  1. Open MS Outlook
  2. Go to File option
  3. Select Account Settings and click on the Manage Profiles
  4. Click on Show Profile
  5. Click on Add
  6. Type a name for the profile
  7. Click on OK

Exchange is currently in recovery mode:

In this case, the user can choose Online mode or Offline mode. In online mode, users can access the MS Exchange but cannot access the OST, whereas offline, you can access OST but cannot access the MS Exchange server. If you are facing this error, then you can try these methods.

Method 1: Disable Cached Exchange Mode:

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook
  2. Select the File option
  3. Click on the Account Settings and select Account Settings
  4. Click on Change
  5. Unselect the Use Cached Exchange Mode option
  6. Click on Next
  7. Delete the Offline OST
  8. Restart Outlook and cached Exchange mode will be enabled

After the process, a new file will be created automatically.

Method 2: Create a new MS Outlook profile

  1. Delete the current default Outlook profile
  2. Create a new Outlook profile
  3. Set a newly created profile as the default

The file OST is in use and cannot be accessed

This message shows that the OST file is used by another. But it's not necessary; there could be several reasons

  1. Synchronization issues between the OST and associated Exchange mailbox
  2. Applications conflicting with Outlook
  3. Unreliable network connectivity

In this case, you can try to Disable Cached Exchange Mode.

OST file internal error code 0000000E

It is a very common issue, and it occurs because of synchronization interruptions. As a result, OST files become inaccessible.

In such a case, you can use Outlook inbuilt utility ScanOST.exe. But this utility only works to fix minor issues, and it’s not available in MS Outlook 2010 and later versions.

If you are facing these messages, firstly try these manual methods. If these don’t work, then try the SysCurve OST to PST Converter. This tool recovers any corrupted OST file and converts it into a healthy PST file. You can also export selected items. By using this application, you can convert OST to PST, MSG, EML, MBOX, etc.

How to convert OST to PST without using third-party OST to PST converter?
  1. Open Outlook
  2. Login MS Outlook with the Exchange account that was used at creation time
  3. Go to File option
  4. Select Open & Export option
  5. Click Import & Export option
  6. From Import & Export wizard Select Export to a file
  7. Click on the Next button
  8. From Import a file wizard select outlook data file(.pst)
  9. Select the folder which you want to export
  10. Set location for the exported file and select do not export duplicate items.
How to recover corrupted OST file?

You can try the above mentioned manual methods to convert OST to PST. If none of the methods work for you, then try the SysCurve OST to PST Converter. This tool works well on any corruption, and it can recover permanently deleted items. By using this tool, you can repair your OST file and convert it into other file formats. This tool allows you, migrate OST to MS Office 365, and also, you can export OST to PST, EML, MBOX, MSG, HTML, RTF, PDF, MHTML, TXT file format.

Apart from this, you can convert OST to PST and use a split PST option to break PST into manageable sizes, and also you can generate an analysis report of the total export items. This application supports all versions of MS Outlook.

You can also try the demo version of OST to PST software. You can open and view all the entire data, and also you can save 20 items per folder.

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