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Moving your OST in Outlook 2007 or 2010

Updated on June 16, 2010

Sometimes where Outlook chooses to place your OST just isn't right

For Exchange users who work in a disconnected mode a lot (and those with slow or intermittent connections to the server at home or in the office) the OST or Offline Storage / Cache mode in Outlook is an absolute blessing.

You can work disconnected and then sync back to the server to send/receive your email, update your calendars etc. I spend a lot of time with my laptop in cafes between meetings and being able to sync over WiFi or my cellphone as a modem (and have the connection downgrade and trickle just headers and let me select what's important if the connection is slow) is a life saver

But sometimes when you set up Outlook the default location for the OST isn't always optimal. For me recently it tried to put it on my fairly full C: drive which I try to keep for just the OS and Application files - all personal data should live on the D: Drive     

Moving the OST in Outlook 2007
Moving the OST in Outlook 2007

Moving the OST

Luckily, it's not to difficult to move the OST from the default location to anywhere you want it

 Refer to the picture above, and follow the simple steps (don't forget to restart Outlook when prompted)...

  1. Go into Tools | Account Settings
  2. [A] On the Data Files tab select the data file for the account
  3. [B] Turn off "Cached mode" on the "advanced" tab
  4. [C] Disable "Offline use" on the "offline folder" settings popup
  5. And then.... you can move the .ost (in Explorer) and reference the new location to have Outlook work with it
  6. When you've finished don't forget to re-enable "Offline use" and turn "Cached mode" back on - otherwise you'll only be able to work when connected to the remote server

When you have finished this process Outlook may spend a moment re-synchronising your local data with the server, but if you have moved and used a recent OST then the process will be no longer than a normal send/receive.

Don't forget to keep your OST tidy

Like all files that are frequently having data written and deleted the OST can get pretty disorganised. It's good practice on a regular basis to go to and hit the Compact Now button (visible in [C] above)

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    • profile image

      Ajay 10 years ago

      This was really brilliant advice. made my day :)

    • profile image

      Bharat 10 years ago

      Thanks... nice, simple and workabe solution

    • profile image

      Brad 10 years ago

      unreal - thanks a lot!

    • profile image

      Gordon Greenham 10 years ago

      Easy, only once you know how - thanks.

      Gord

    • profile image

      Etienne 10 years ago

      Thank you, realy good.

    • profile image

      sZone 10 years ago

      Sehr schön,

      ich danke dir!

    • profile image

      Akhlaq 9 years ago

      great! that was simple! thanks!

    • profile image

      Neil  9 years ago

      Thanks for that!!!

    • profile image

      SAW 9 years ago

      A lot easier than the old method of manual regedit that I use to use! Thanks!

    • profile image

      Bill 9 years ago

      Very useful advice. Thanks!

      --Bill

    • profile image

      Mike 9 years ago

      How many years did it take for MS to get the hint?-M

    • profile image

      Quinn 9 years ago

      Outlook is no fun. Every time I try to move my ost, it is no good at all. Just don't do it.

    • profile image

      Offbeatmammal 9 years ago

      @Quinn - did you follow the instructions above? I've used them several times at it works fine. What version of Outlook are you using?

    • profile image

      Gaurav Jain 8 years ago

      This was very useful. Thanks for the advice.

    • profile image

      Brian 8 years ago

      I had trouble with this, but after multiple pop error boxes when trying to restart outlook it finally worked. Make sure you close Office Communicator if you use it.

    • profile image

      Evert 8 years ago

      Hmm, the tip does not seem to apply to IMAP-accounts...?

    • profile image

      Basma Ebeid 8 years ago

      Great, You've helped me a lot. Thank You :)

    • profile image

      alagu 8 years ago

      thx a lot!!.. really helped..

    • profile image

      Tom 8 years ago

      Just what I was looking for! Thanks so much.

    • profile image

      ram 8 years ago

      Genius!

    • profile image

      Simon 8 years ago

      A good advice, thanks.But in my case, i can't disable Exchange Cache Mode - the checkbox is disabled. Do you have any hint?

      Thanks - Simon

    • profile image

      Rob 8 years ago

      Perfect. I had been told it was not possible and feared trying a manual move of files and some regedit botch.

      Thanks a million.

    • profile image

      offbeatmammal 8 years ago

      @Simon - if the checkbox is disabled you need to go "offline" first (disconnect from your Exchange server) - you can't do an update while connected...

    • profile image

      Mansoor 7 years ago

      hi is there any way that i can restore my previoust ost file as i have lost online data but luckily had backup of ost in my harddisk...now i imagine it should contain old emails

    • profile image

      jfarnhill 7 years ago

      This was great advice. Thanks for posting and making it so findable.

    • profile image

      MullyX 7 years ago

      Thanks buddy,

      You saved me from some gray hairs ;O)

      But why oh why do MS insist on making this sh*t so difficult? It's not rocket science, it's computer science.

      1.) Not everyone stores EVERYTHING on the C:\. Work it out! Let the software be configured differently from the blessed defaults - God forbid anyone would want to change a default setting. I mean why would you? They're perfect right. NO!

      2.) Not everyone wants to store application data in the 200 deep directory structure (presumably for easy access) at C:\Documents and Settings\AUser\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\SomeStupidApp\Yada\Yada\Yada\...

      3.) Also, what happened to usability studies? Where "real" users interacted with the system and tried "common" stuff. Presumably there was a requirement to move the config files but it was never tested.....by anyone...much??? Lovely work.

      Rant rave gimme a soap box....

    • profile image

      Offbeatmammal 7 years ago

      @MollyX ... I hear ya! I started out ranting and... now I work there :)

      The good news is I now see how much feedback - like this - is taken into account when making decisions in product development... so never stop (and check out https://careers.microsoft.com/ ... who knows, you might find the perfect role to fix this)

    • profile image

      Alessandro C. 7 years ago

      Can't thank you (and Bing, for finding it so quick!) enough. Exactly what I was looking for and struggling with.

    • profile image

      krishan  7 years ago

      Thanks that was a great hint, Quick and easy to follow. Saved my neck because i have a mac with a windows virtual machine running on vmware fusion and since Entourage sucks.... i wanted outlook setup. But I created my C drive filled up and i have another partition but the VM wouldn't let me extend it . so i wanted to point my 2 gig OST to the d drive.

    • profile image

      Gabriel 7 years ago

      Brilliant help, nice and concise. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Murthy 7 years ago

      Very Use full info. Able to move the Data from C drive to E Drive.

      Thanks a lot

    • profile image

      Eli W 7 years ago

      Thanks so much. Just a note...you may need to Apply the changes of removing Cached Exchange Mode before being able to click on Disable Offline Folders. Otherwise, the tutorial was perfect.

      Thanks

    • profile image

      Gryzor 7 years ago

      You, sir, are a STAR! Thanks :o)

    • profile image

      ms 7 years ago

      macro shit

    • profile image

      Eddie 7 years ago

      Well done.

    • profile image

      Bob Maria 6 years ago

      Ya, it works but when i do so i was stuck in the middle of the process and due to power supply i missed the important data then repair OST File software helped me to short out the problem. You can try it from - www.repairostfile.com

    • profile image

      MOM ABDO 6 years ago

      THANKS A TERA .. MORE THAN PROFESSIONAL

    • profile image

      Fred 6 years ago

      Easier way if you're online: Close Outlook, rename the ost file, restart outlook and it automatically create an outlook.ost file and sync with the server.

    • exchangerecovery profile image

      exchangerecovery 6 years ago from India

      Very good hub. Continue for sharing this type of information. If are interested to know more about this topic you can visit this hub: http://hubpages.com/hub/Compact-OST-file-to-manage...

    • profile image

      teterkin alex 6 years ago

      Thanks! Short, but brilliant article.

      I did in little bit different way. I closed outlook first and then used Control Panel Mail application for all the actions. Also I think it is useful to mention that you may experience a problem while copying files because of Windows Search service or Microsoft Communicator application.

    • profile image

      convert ost to pst 6 years ago

      In such cases, many of the times the ost file becomes inaccessible, especially when you update the MS Outlook client for the newer version. The newer version of outlook can not locate the ost file results in ost file corruption. the only thing you can do when you get the ost file corrupted is to convert the ost file in to its equivalent pst version. After converting the ost file into pst file

      you can easily access the pst file using your newer version of outlook

    • profile image

      grateful 6 years ago

      Brilliant ! Thanks.

    • profile image

      igyori 6 years ago

      Thanks man! You really saved my life! This has been a very big problem for me to move a large mailbox from drive c to an another partition! Thanks! You are THE BEST!!!! :))

    • profile image

      OST to PST 6 years ago

      USE SysTools exchange OS recovery tool and convert ost to pst file a very easily.

      ost recovery and ost to pst conversion tool

      1. repair ost file

      2.convert ost to pst file

      http://www.ost-to-pst.com/

    • profile image

      adrina 6 years ago

      OST to PST Conversion tool is an effective Email Conversion Software tool to convert emails, contacts, calendar, tasks, notes, attachments etc from unusable OST (Exchange Server Offline Storage File) to PST (Microsoft Outlook Personal Storage) File Format easily..http://www.ostconvert.com

    • profile image

      user 6 years ago

      Thanks for the article. It did not help with 2010 though.

    • profile image

      convert ost file 6 years ago

      Exactly what i am looking for thanks for the information i found some related articles on http://www.ostpstconverter.blogspot.com

    • profile image

      Warp3 6 years ago

      Thanks. Unlike many of the steps on the web for doing this, this version actually retains the contents of the OST (other guides don't keep the OST file, so Outlook has to rebuild it). The last thing I wanted was to have to rebuild my huge OST file afterward.

    • profile image

      Tech Twitt 6 years ago

      I found a helpful resource at http://www.techtwitt.com

    • profile image

      Magdalin 6 years ago

      Thanx a lot

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      With Outlook 2007, moving the OST will cause search to stop functioning. I had to use this procedure to restore search functionality by including the new OST file location in the indexing folders.

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      With Outlook 2007, moving the OST will cause search to stop functioning. I had to use this procedure http://www.thenetworktechnician.com/2009/06/how-to... to restore search functionality by including the new OST file location in the indexing folders.

    • profile image

      PW 6 years ago

      Superb advice and guidance !!

    • profile image

      convert ost to pst 6 years ago

      Thanks for the great post, COnvert OST to PST tools really proves bebeficial in recovering data from a corrupt Outlook ost file

    • profile image

      yioann 6 years ago

      thanks

    • profile image

      danman87 5 years ago

      for more outlook help check out http://howtooutlook.com

    • profile image

      JamesP 5 years ago

      Note that the OST file is a replication of the Exchange Server data, and as such would not normally need to be backed up. It will be refreshed or re-created when you reconnect to your Exchange Server. You might want to move it if your C:\ drive is tiny. . .

    • profile image

      Guest 5 years ago

      Will NOT work with hotmail.ost files, at least those that involve the Outlook Connector, which is the only way to get IMAP with Hotmail (Live Mail just uses a different form of Connector - neither will work!)

    • profile image

      experimentalism 5 years ago

      Great post. One such link that helped me in achieving great recovery results is http://www.convert-osttopst.com

    • profile image

      John Peterson 5 years ago

      Thanks for the tips. In my case, this ost repair tool did a great work: http://www.recover-computerdata.com/ost-pst-conver...

    • profile image

      ostpst.com 5 years ago

      SysTools OST Recovery Tool is best one in software market to recovers corrupt ost file quickly great feature to convert ost file in pst format, msg format and eml format

      Visit us more information :-http://www.ostfile.co.uk

    • profile image

      marshal 5 years ago

      Hi Offbeat,

      I think this is nice place to post my query as there is great discussion on repair OST file. I have one simple query related to Inbox Repair Tool i.e what are the main errors not recoverd by Inbox Repair Tool ? Have Any Idea !

      Thanks

      OST Recovery Software

      http://www.stellarinfo.com/exchange-ost-recovery.h...

    • profile image

      Mark 5 years ago

      Absolutely fantastic - thank you very much

      Of course it would be better if Outlook had an option to move the file, but your instructions make it very easy.

    • profile image

      Keyur 4 years ago

      Hey Thanks, this was excatly what I was looking for

      By the way what I was trying to do is point two mail accounts in different outlook profiles to the same ost file. by default when we configure the mail account in another profile the ost file name is different from what is in the first profile.

      I needed this so that I could see same data in both profiles while having different mail account as defaults in each profile.

    • profile image

      ost to pst 4 years ago

      Three best application to Convert OST and Repair

      htttp://www.openost.microsoftosttopst.net

      http://www.ostconvertertopst.com/convert-ost-to-ps...

      http://www.sqlrecoverytool.com/convert-ost-to-pst....

    • profile image

      Bert Leen 4 years ago

      Kernel for OST to PST Converter software successfully convert OST file to PST file at the time when Exchange Server goes down. It is a professional OST to PST conversion tool to convert ost files with all of its items like emails, journals, calendar, notes, tasks, contacts, and attachments into PST file. For more information please visit here : www.recoveryfiles.org/ost-to-pst-converter.html

    • profile image

      nitish india 3 years ago

      this good for non tech

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