Microsoft Exchange OST file is the local copy of Exchange database content stored at the system drive location. The default OST file location of the file is:
Whenever user run Outlook with Cached mode ON, all the data from Exchange gets stored in this file as an updated copy which user can access in offline mode. In offline mode, mails can be sent or modified or deleted which gets updated when the Exchange is synchronized with the Outlook application.
Recommended: Manual Methods to Convert OST to PST File
Though user can access OST files in offline mode in the Outlook application but there is a storage limit for the Outlook files. With excess file and large attachments files transfer on a regular bases, mostly in a big organization, the size of the OST file becomes quite big and even recreating a new OST file with Exchange would not help as the large Exchange data that it would hold not easy to manage
In such case, when user needs to view very large sized OST file data in the Outlook application, it should be converted to PST file first to get easy access in the Microsoft Outlook versions.
Some more reasons behind OST to PST conversion are – chances of corruption in storage, accidental data deletion, Exchange Server downtime or crash down, OST storage corruption, migration requirement to a different system, ease in accessibility, etc.
Methods to Open or View OST in Microsoft Outlook after conversion
There could be two methods to convert OST to PST in order to view OST file in Outlook 2019/2016/2013/2010/2007 which are either adopting the manual tricks or working on a third-party OST to PST Converter tool.
The difference between manual and professional solutions are that the former is free, have some limitations and the latter needs to be purchased and is an automatic solution. Also, manual processes are complex, lengthy to perform, less reliable while the professional conversion solution is robust, direct and automated.
Let us start with two manual tricks which users can adopt to view OST file in different Outlook versions. Both these methods requires Outlook application installed on your system and Exchange Server connection with it (do not view orphaned OST files).
1st Manual Trick With New PST File – Drag/Drop Data
This method includes creating a fresh PST file using the Outlook profile in the Outlook Account Settings. After the PST file is created, it should be opened along with the OST file (connected with Exchange) in the Outlook. Here, mailbox folders from OST file are simply dragged and dropped to the new PST folder location at the same interface. The whole mailbox folder is dragged and dropped from the source file to the destination file. The new folders created would be a copy of the OST folders with name as Inbox1, Outbox1, etc.
The method works efficiently, however takes much time for manually dragging/dropping each large sized folder one after another. Even contacts, calendars, tasks, etc. folders needs to move individually so this method consumes a lot of time of the users.
2nd Manual Trick With Archiving Technique
Microsoft Outlook includes an Auto-archiving feature used to archive old mailbox items to an archived PST format file. So, this feature can be used to move offline OST data to PST format. Let us know the steps to perform this method.
- Open Outlook in cached mode to access OST file in offline mode.
- Now for latest Outlook versions like 2013, 2016, 2019, go to Files>Options in Outlook.
- Then, on the left pane, click on Advanced option and then click on AutoArchive Settings option on the right pane.
- In AutoArchive wizard, set the frequency of AutoArchive and select other archive-related options. Set the time duration to clean old items which can be in days as well. Now, provide the destination path to save the archived PST location and click on OK.
- The archived PST file will get save at the defined location.
In older Outlook version 2010, you can find the Archive option by navigating to File>Cleanup tools and clicking on Archive option. Then set the archive settings and saving path as per your requirement.
The drawback of this trick is that address books cannot be archived but only emails from OST files.
Once the PST file is saved at the destination path from both the above-explained manual tricks, you can access in your Outlook application anytime on same or other system also (exporting PST to that system with external device). You can either open the PST file directly in the Outlook application or import it using the Import/Export feature of the Outlook application. Choice is yours.
Note: One more native solution which users can perform for the conversion is exporting OST file to a PST file utilizing the Import/Export feature of the Outlook application given that the OST file is synchronized with the Exchange Server.
Alternative – Professional OST to PST Converter Software (View OST data without Outlook)
If you do not want complexity or limitations to view OST file in Outlook 2019/2016/2013/2010/2007 versions, then go with the most widely used OST to PST Converter Software. The converter tool views OST file data to its users before the conversion process for accurate data selection. It allows to view orphaned OST files in case of crash down Exchange Server or when it is under maintenance. It transfers all OST mailbox data (healthy or corrupted) to Outlook PST format automatically without any interruptions and size issues. All Outlook versions whether oldest or latest are supported by this advanced and secured tool. So, it is the most desirable and useful solution to view OST files even without the need of Outlook application.
Viewing OST file data in Outlook versions is an impossible task unless it is converted to the PST format. We have some manual tricks like drag/drop and archiving to convert OST to PST making it possible to view OST data in Outlook. But with advanced OST to PST tool, it can be viewed without Outlook application or need of Exchange Server and also can be converted to PST or more destinations seamlessly.