How to Delete Corrupt OST Files: A Comprehensive Guide
Updated On - February 27, 2023 by Henry Bray |Reading Time: 6 minutes
Outlook users are pretty familiar with the term “OST corruption.” While dealing with Outlook for Windows or Mac applications, users take many precautions to prevent accidental data corruption. But what should you do if your offline OST files somehow get corrupted? Today, we’ll talk about how to delete corrupt OST files in Outlook and what other choices you’ve to access corrupt OST files
What is a corrupted OST file?
An OST file, also known as an Offline Storage Table file, is a local copy of your mailbox stored on your computer. It is used in Microsoft Outlook to allow users to access their email, calendar, and contacts even when not connected to the internet.
A corrupted OST file can occur if the file becomes damaged or is otherwise unable to be read by Outlook. This can happen for various reasons, including hardware or software issues, power outages, or problems with the Exchange server. If an OST file becomes corrupted, it can cause Outlook to malfunction or display errors when trying to access the file.
Location of OST file
Before we discuss how to delete corrupt OST files, let us first determine the location of the OST file. The location of the OST file depends on the version of Outlook and the operating system you are using. Here are some of the typical locations of OST files:
- Outlook 2019 and Outlook 2016: C:\Users%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
- Outlook 2013: C:\Users%username%\Documents\Outlook Files
- Outlook 2010: C:\Users%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
Note: %username% refers to the username of the currently logged-in user.
How do OST files get corrupted?
OST files can corrupt for various reasons, such as power outages, system crashes, and malware infections. Let’s learn them one by one!
- Sudden power failure or shutdown
- System Hardware issues (like; hard drive failure)
- Network issues that disrupt communication between the Exchange server and the local computer
- Virus or malware infection
- Incorrectly closing Microsoft Outlook while the OST file is in use
- Incorrect system or Outlook configurations
If an OST file becomes corrupted, it may be difficult or impossible to access the data it contains. Sometimes, you can repair the OST file using Microsoft Outlook’s built-in repair tool. However, if the damage is severe, you may need to recreate the OST file by synchronizing with the Exchange server again or have to use third-party OST recovery tool.
What errors occur in Outlook as a result of OST corruption?
A corrupt OST file can cause Outlook to crash or freeze, preventing you from accessing your important email and other data. Besides, it causes a lot of unwanted errors that have listed as follows:
- Outlook crashes randomly.
- Cannot open the Outlook data file.
- Data sync issues between Outlook and the Exchange server
- Inability to send or receive emails.
- Corrupted contacts and calendar entries
- Lost IMAP and POP3 settings and configurations.
- Outlook fails to start and displays an error message.
- Outlook takes a long time to start.
- Error alerts suddenly pop up that show the OST file is inaccessible.
- Blank folders with no content appear in Outlook.
So, it is important to delete corrupt OST file in Outlook or repair it to prevent these issues and keep your email program running smoothly.
How to Delete Corrupt OST Files in Outlook?
- Close Outlook and any other programs using the OST file.
- Locate the OST file on your computer. OST files are commonly saved in the C:\Users[Your_Username]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
- Rename the OST file by adding the word “old” to the end of the file name (e.g., “Outlook.ost” becomes “Outlook.ost.old”). This will allow you to keep a copy of the OST file in case you need to refer to it later.
- Open Outlook and allow it to create a new OST file. This will delete and replace the corrupt OST file with a new, un-corrupted one.
- Deleting a corrupt OST file in Outlook is an important task. Following the steps outlined above, you can easily delete corrupt OST files and get your Outlook program back up and running. That can help keep your email program running smoothly and prevent data loss.
Recreate OST files in Outlook
Recreating an OST (Offline Storage Table) file can help you fix issues related to synchronization, data corruption, and other errors. When you recreate an OST file, it creates a new one that is synced with the Exchange server.
Before proceeding with the steps to recreate OST files, it is important to understand that recreating an OST file will delete all the data in the file, including any changes you made to your mailbox data while working offline. If important data is not synchronized with the Exchange server, back it up before proceeding.
Here are the steps to recreate OST files in Outlook:
Step 1: Close Outlook
Make sure to close Outlook completely. You can do this by right-clicking the Outlook icon in the system tray and selecting “Close Outlook.”
Step 2: Locate the current OST file
The location of the OST file depends on the version of Outlook and the operating system you are using. You can use the steps outlined in the previous blog post to locate the OST file.
Step 3: Rename the current OST file
To recreate the OST file, you must first rename the current OST file. You can do this by right-clicking the OST file and selecting “Rename.” Change the file extension from .ost to .old.
Step 4: Open Outlook
Open Outlook, and it will automatically create a new OST file synchronized with the Exchange server. The synchronization process may take some time, depending on the size of your mailbox and the speed of your internet connection.
Step 5: Verify synchronization
Once the synchronization process is complete, verify that your mailbox data is up to date by checking your emails, calendar, contacts, and other mailbox items. If you notice any missing data, you can import the data from the backup file you created earlier.
Is it safe to delete corrupt OST files?
Now that we know the location of the OST files, let us answer the question, is it safe to delete corrupt OST files?
The short answer is yes. You can delete the corrupt OST file without affecting your mailbox data, as it is just a local copy of your Exchange server data. However, deleting the OST file will result in losing all the changes you made to your mailbox data while working offline. When you reconnect to the Exchange server, a new OST file will be created and synchronized with the server.
Why should you repair corrupt OST files instead of deleting them
Although it is safe to delete corrupt OST files, it is not the best solution to the problem. Instead of deleting the OST file, consider repairing it. Here are some reasons why:
- Data recovery: When you delete the OST file, all the changes you made to your mailbox data while working offline will be lost. However, if you repair the corrupt OST file, you can recover all the data before it becomes corrupt.
- Time-saving: If you delete the OST file, Outlook will have to re-synchronize all the data with the Exchange server, which can take a lot of time, especially if you have a large mailbox. Repairing the corrupt OST file will save you time as you will not have to re-synchronize all the data.
- Cost-effective: If you use paid data recovery software, deleting the OST file and re-synchronizing the data with the Exchange server may not be cost-effective. Repairing the corrupt OST file with a reliable OST to PST converter software is a more cost-effective solution.
How do I recover corrupt OST files without deleting them?
According to experts, deleting or recreating the corrupt OST file is the easiest option to eliminate the OST corruption issue. But in all cases, it’s not right. Sometimes, you may have vital data saved on your OST file. At that time, you have no other option but to recover the data.
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You don’t need to worry about it, as many third-party tools are available online to perform the recovery. The Regain OST recovery tool is the best; it has all the advanced facilities and a straightforward user interface.
Don’t delete corrupt OST files; recover them using a free software
- Step1: Install and Open the free software in your system.
- Step2: Click on the Add file option and add OST files.
- Step3: Now preview the OST file and click on the Export option.
- Step4: Choose the Outlook PST option in the dropdown menu.
- Step5: At last, choose a required option and click Export.
OST corruption can be a major issue for Outlook users. If your OST file becomes corrupted, it can cause Outlook to malfunction or display errors, which makes it difficult or impossible to access your important data. To prevent this from happening, you can delete corrupt OST files in Outlook. However, if your OST file keeps the data you need, then deleting is not an option. You can use the Regain OST file recovery tool to recover lost data and corrupt OST files.
3 thoughts on “How to Delete Corrupt OST Files: A Comprehensive Guide”
I have noticed that Outlook’s offline OST files often get corrupted. I agree with your thoughts that deleting the corrupted OST file is the best way. Thanks for this tedious article! I have found many useful pieces of information (like the OST file’s location, screenshots of the steps, and others) here. Again, thanks a lot.
I was having a lot of trouble with this problem, but I’m now able to repair it. Thank you for the informative information!
It is never a good idea to delete OST files; instead of deleting them use any automated tool and recover them. Business data is the backbone and losing them cause trouble or you might need the deleted OST files data later.
I truly agree with not deleting corrupted OST files data, and after reading the complete blog using your free OST recovery tool, there is no reason to delete OST files. You make the OST recovery process easy as it never was. Appreciate your effort and effortless tool.