How to Open OST files in Outlook 2016

In this page, you will get the complete guide on how to open OST files in Outlook 2016. And also some basic ideas of OST file, PST file and Microsoft Outlook which is one of the most widely used desktop email client by the users and stores all its data in two file types such as OST (Offline Storage Table) and PST (Personal Storage File).


What is OST file?

OST is an Outlook data file which is also known as Offline Storage Table. The OST files cannot be opened directly in an Outlook profile or account. It is an encrypted file that was created when an account was set up in Outlook. The file is tied to a specific profile and PC on which you have configured your account. However, you can open OST files in Outlook 2016, and in its entire previous version once it is converted into PST format.


PST refers to Personal Storage Table is also an Outlook data file that you can open and import into your Outlook account.

In this page, we have explained both the methods to smoothly convert OST files to PST files and steps to open OST files in Outlook 2016 after conversion.


Where is the OST file located in Your System?

Before opening the OST file, the location of the Outlook OST file must be known in order to be able to access the content of the data in the system. Here are the simple steps to find out the correct location of the OST file:

  • Start MS Outlook on the old system on which the OST file is available. All configured data elements such as emails, attachments, contacts, etc. are available.
  • Select the configured account name and right click on it to select the system ‘data file properties’.
  • A new window that appears with all the elements of the configured account, select the "Advanced" option
  • The location of the file is shown in the data file settings, which look like this “C:\Users\Admin\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\”.
  • Copy the location of the file, paste it into the search field of the Run command and press Enter.
  • Select the OST file for which you need to access the items in another system.

How to Open OST File in Outlook easily?

After knowing that opening an offline OST file is enabled in Outlook (by default), you can either try to open your OST file in Outlook with the entire mailbox manually or with a professional third party tool. The location of OST files in your local system differs on the basis of different versions of MS Outlook application. Like :-


For Outlook 2010: (Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8 & 10)

Drive: \Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook


Windows XP

Drive: \Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook


Outlook 2007: (Windows Vista)

Drive: \Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook


Windows XP or Windows Server 2003

Drive: \Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook


But you need to know that MS Outlook 2010 and higher versions like Outlook 2016, 2013 and 2019 does not allow manual method of importing OST files. Therefore, in this situation, your only option is to recreate an OST file using manual steps. You can then access your mailbox elements with MS Outlook.


Follow the Steps to Re-creating then Open OST File in Outlook:-

  • Quit MS Outlook. Click or double-click Mail of In Control Panel
  • Select the Exchange account on the E-Mail tab, and then click Change.
  • Select and clear the Cached Exchange Mode check box. Now click on More Settings.
  • On the Advanced tab, click Offline Folder File Settings.
  • Click Disable Offline. The dialog box will appear. Click yes.
  • Click the Offline Folder File setting again. Click OK.
  • Click 'Yes' in the dialog box that appears.
  • Now use the Cached Exchange Mode check box under the Cached Exchange Mode Settings
  • Now click on OK, then on Next and then on Finish.
  • Click the Close button under Account Settings and Email Setup.

Manual Method – once you successfully transferred the OST file, try to open the file in the new system through Outlook. You will get an error message that says- "The File C:\Users\admin\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\abc.ost file cannot be opened."

As we can see, the OST file cannot be opened manually in Outlook. This method is not efficient and it can also damage or corrupt the file. Therefore, using a professional third party tool will be the best choice for you to open OST file in Outlook.

Method 2: Open OST file in Outlook with OST file recovery Tool

There are lots of third party tool available on the internet that can easily fix all the issues with OST files and successfully allows you to open OST file in Outlook including 2019, 2016, and older one. The user can download the OST file recovery software to restore offline OST files on Exchange server and open all mailbox of OST file in Outlook as PST file format with all email items..


Data recovery software such as Regain OST file recovery software can help you repair an inaccessible, orphaned, or encrypted OST file to PST, RTF, MSG, PDF, EML, and HTML formats. The software extracts all mailbox items such as emails, contacts, calendars, notes, attachments, etc. in PST format with 100% accuracy.


Below are the quick steps to use this tool:

Download and install the software. Click Add file option to open the OST file or click on Browse.


Now choose the OST files which you want to recover and Set the details and click Open. The scanning process will start.


Select the mailbox folder that you only want to recover, mark check on the folder to select.


Select the mailbox folders that you want to save into a new PST file. Click Save on the taskbar.

Next, click the browse button to set the location for a new PST file. Click OK.


Finally, the recovery will start and after recovery click OK to close.


Now, import the recovered PST file in Outlook to access all the data accurately without facing any technical issues.