Updated On - November 9, 2023 by Nasir Khan |Reading Time: 9 minutes
Outlook users are well-versed with its data storage files and know OST files stand for offline storage table. It is the file format created by Microsoft Outlook to store a copy of your mailbox data, including emails, contacts, and calendar items. Over time, these files can grow large and take up considerable space. If you are running out of space on your current Exchange Server and want to move your OST file to another location, this blog will guide you.
So, let’s get started without further delay!
Why user move their OST file to another location?
Users may move their OST (Outlook Offline Storage Table) files to another location for various reasons. Here are some of the most common reasons:
- Storage Space Issues: One of the primary reasons is running out of disk space on the current drive. Moving the OST file to another drive with more available space can help prevent performance issues and ensure that Outlook continues to function smoothly.
- Data Migration: When switching to a new computer or email client, users may need to migrate their Outlook data, including OST files, to the new system. Moving the OST file to a different location is often a step in this migration process.
- Performance Improvement: If the current drive where the OST file is located is slow or experiencing performance issues, users may move the OST file to a faster or more reliable storage medium to improve Outlook’s performance.
- Data Security: Users may have concerns about the security of their email data and want to store their OST files in a more secure location, such as an encrypted external hard drive or a cloud storage service.
- Accessibility: Some users may want to access their Outlook data from multiple devices or locations. Moving the OST file to a location accessible from different devices, such as a cloud storage service, can enable this.
- Maintenance and Troubleshooting: Moving the OST file to another location can be a troubleshooting step if the existing OST file becomes corrupted or is causing issues with Outlook. Creating a new OST file in a different location may resolve these problems.
It’s important to note that when moving OST files, users should follow best practices and ensure that Outlook is properly configured to use the new file location to avoid any data loss or synchronization issues.
Verified Methods to Move OST file Location
Moving an OST (Outlook Offline Storage Table) file to another location involves a few steps. You can follow one of the methods below to achieve this. Please note that these instructions are based on Outlook 2016 and later versions. The steps may vary slightly depending on your specific version of Outlook.
Method 1: Create a New Profile in Outlook
- First, you need to move the OST file into your new location.
- Now you need to configure your OST file with the Outlook. Follow the below given steps for the same: Ensure that Microsoft Outlook is closed before you proceed.
- Open the Control Panel:
- For Windows 10, right-click the Start button and select “Control Panel.”
- For Windows 7, click the “Start” button, and then select “Control Panel.
- In the Control Panel, search for “Mail” or “Mail (32-bit).” Click on it to open the Mail Setup – Outlook window.
- In the Mail Setup – Outlook window, click the “Show Profiles” button.
- Click “Add” to create a new Outlook profile.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to set up a new profile. You can use the same email account settings as your existing profile.
- Now the Outlook will start configuring your new Outlook account. In the meantime. You need to change some account settings to connect your new OST file with the Outlook. Check the checkbox adjacent to Change account settings and click Next.
- In the next window, click on the More settings option then go to the Advanced tab and click on the Outlook Data File settings.
- In the next window, click on the browse and select the OST file from the new location.
Method 2: Turn Off Cached Exchange
If you want to move the existing OST file to another location without creating a new profile, you can try turning off Cached Exchange mode. Here’s how:
- Open Outlook.
- Click on the “File” tab in the top-left corner.
- Click “Account Settings” and then select “Account Settings” again.
- In the Account Settings window, select your email account and click “Data files.”
- In the open wizard, go to the Advanced Tab and click the Outlook Data File settings….
- In the next window, Click the Disable Offline Use button.
- Now move your OST file and navigate the process again and enable Disable Offline Use option.
Outlook will start using online mode instead of cached mode, and it will no longer use the OST file. You can then manually move the OST file to another location.
Method 3: Add a New ForcePSTpath Registry Entry
This method involves modifying the Windows Registry, so proceed with caution:
- Close Outlook if it’s open.
- Press Windows + R to open the Run dialog box.
- Type “regedit” and press Enter to open the Windows Registry Editor.
- Use the following commands according to your Outlook version
Outlook version Key Outlook 2007 Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook Outlook 2010 Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook Outlook 2013 Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook Outlook 2016 Computer\ HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook
- Once the Windows registry editors opens, make a click on the empty space and click on the Expandable String Value option from the dialog box.
- Following, Name the new string value “ForcePSTPath.”
- Double-click the “ForcePSTPath” value to edit it.
- In the “Edit String” dialog, enter the path to the folder where you want to move your OST file as the value data. For example, “E:\OST File.”
- Click “OK” to save the changes and close the Registry Editor.
- Restart Outlook.
Outlook should now use the OST file located in the new path you specified. Make sure you have a backup of your OST file before attempting these changes, as modifying the Windows Registry can be risky. If you’re not comfortable with the Registry Editor, consider seeking assistance from a knowledgeable IT professional.
Why Professionals Don’t Prefer Manual Methods?
The manual methods described to move an OST file to another location have their advantages, but they also have some potential drawbacks or limitations. Here are some of the potential loopholes or issues you may encounter when using these methods:
- Data Redownload: In Method 1 (creating a new profile) and Method 2 (turning off Cached Exchange), Outlook may need to redownload your mailbox data, which can take time, especially if you have a large mailbox. This can also consume network bandwidth.
- Complexity: Modifying the Windows Registry, as described in Method 3 (adding a ForcePSTPath Registry entry), can be complex and carries some risk. Making incorrect changes to the Registry can cause system instability or data loss if not done correctly.
- Data Loss: If you’re not careful during the manual process, there’s a risk of losing data or email synchronization issues. This is particularly true if you don’t back up your OST file before making changes.
- Incomplete OST Move: These methods primarily address changing the location of the OST file but do not necessarily “move” it as you would with a regular file. This means that in some cases, you may still need to manually copy the OST file to the new location and remove the old one, potentially leading to data fragmentation or other issues.
To minimize the potential issues and loopholes, always perform these operations with caution, create backups, and consider using automated tool. Additionally, keep your Outlook and Windows software up to date to benefit from any improvements or changes in handling OST files.
A Professional Utility for One Stop Handling of OST File:
Regain OST Recovery is a software tool designed to recover and repair OST (Outlook Offline Storage Table) files. While it can help recover data from damaged or corrupted OST files, you can also convert your OST to PST format and move the converted PST file into another location.
This tool offers a convenient GUI, making the OST transfer approach a cakewalk even for newbies. Also, the tool supports all Outlook versions and works with all Windows Operating systems, including Windows 11.
Following are the steps to repair corrupt or orphaned OST file
- Install and open the Regain OST Recovery software in your system.
- Select and add the OST files you want to move.
- Here, you can have a preview of the added OST files. Now click on the Export option from the ribbon bar.
- Select PST as a file format in the next window and choose appropriate options. Here, you can also have options to save the data in other file formats like EML, MSG, HTML, etc.
- Users also get options to set the size for the resultant PST file using Split PST option.
- Finally, click the Convert Now option, and the software will convert OST to PST format.
Once your OST files are converted into PST format, you can easily import them into your Outlook account and synchronize them with any Exchange server, and a new OST file will be generated in that system. The best part of PST is that you can move and open them in any Outlook account.
This blog has touched all the dimensions of OST portability related task. We hope this guide has helped you understand how to move an OST file to another location. If you have orphaned or corrupted OST files, then the only solution to move the OST file to another location is to use Regain OST recovery tool. For any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact our support team for help; they are available round-the -clock for your service.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1. What happens if I try to open an OST file after moving it manually?
Ans. An error message that the file is “in use by another program” may pop up if you attempt to open an OST file after moving it. Outlook has a lock on the OST file while it’s open, which causes this problem. To prevent this error, close Outlook before relocating the OST file.
Q2. Can I move multiple OST files if I have multiple email accounts configured in Outlook?
Ans. Yes, you can move multiple OST files, one for each email account, following the same methods for each account’s OST file.
Q3. How can I check the size of my OST file before deciding to move it?
Ans. You can check the size of your OST file by right-clicking on your email account in Outlook and selecting “Data File Properties.” The size will be displayed in the “General” tab.
Q4. Do I need administrative privileges to change the location of an OST file?
Ans. You may need administrative privileges to make changes to certain system settings, especially if you’re modifying the Windows Registry. Ensure you have the necessary permissions.
Q5. What should I do if I encounter synchronization issues after moving my OST file?
Ans. If you face synchronization issues, try reconfiguring Outlook to use the new OST file location or consider creating a new profile following the provided methods.
Q6. Can I move an OST file to a location that is synchronized with a cloud storage service?
Ans. Yes, using Regain OST recovery tool, you can move your OST file to a folder synchronized with a cloud storage service like OneDrive, Dropbox, or Google Drive. Just ensure that the synchronization process is complete before using Outlook.