How to Change, Move OST File Location in Outlook 2016

This write-up gives a broad view on how to change the file location of the Outlook OST file. Using the below mentioned manual techniques, you can safely move OST file in Outlook across all the versions of Outlook such as Outlook 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003. Also, it is recommended for you to convert OST file to PST file, stick to the end of the article to learn about the advantages of converting the OST file.

When should you change the location of OST file in Outlook?

It is quite easy to change the location of PST file that belongs to a POP3 account, however changing the location of the OST-file for an Exchange, Outlook.com or IMAP account might be trickier.

While it is recommended not to alter the default location OST-file, there are still some logical reasons for moving it to different locations, for example: limited storage in “C:” drive and the OST file is requires more space. In this case, necessarily you have to change the location of the OST-file.

The default storage location of Outlook OST data files in Windows is on “C:” drive. If large amount of data is saved in your Outlook data file, it can only be restricted by the space of your system partition. Now, this post will show you how to change the data file location in Outlook 2016 for Windows.

How can you move OST file in Outlook 2016?

One of the reasons behind relocating a OST-file is degradation of the system performance. Huge Outlook data files can cause system to run slow. The resolution for this problem is segregated into two parts:

Part 1: Re-locating OST-file to another location

Part 2: Converting OST to PST

In further sections, these parts are further sub divided into manual methods that help you in changing the location of OST-file in outlook 2016 as well as conversion of OST to PST.

Part 1: Changing OST file location

Method 1: Use the “ForceOSTPath” registry entry to change the location of the .ost file

Using the ForceOSTPath Registry value is a highly preferred method, but it involves the strenuous process of removing and adding your account along with re-downloading your mails all over again from the server.

Note: This method only works for a new Outlook profiles.

Step 1: Make sure that outlook is closed and OST files are not opened in any of the software or program

Step 2: Select Windows logo + R keys to open run box. Type “regedit” and click OK

Step 3: Next, navigate through the path HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook

Step 4: Next, right click on any blank space and then select New -> Expandable String Value.

Step 5:  Name the newly created expandable string value as ForceOSTPath.

Step 6: Double click on ForceOSTPath, On the” Edit String” dialog box, under the” Value data” box enter your desired path where you want to locate the OST-file and then click OK.

Step 7: Close the Registry editor and restart the outlook to see the modified location of OST-file.

Performing these steps will change the old/default location of Outlook 2016 data file (.ost) to the new specified location.

Caution: When making changes to registry, any wrong step can completely break or corrupt the Outlook program or sometimes even the system. If you encounter any trouble due to a corrupt Outlook data file, it is recommended to repair the OST file. Please follow the steps below carefully to ensure the safety of your Outlook data.

 Method 2: Using Symbolic Links or Junction Points

A symbolic link, also called as a soft link, is a specific kind of file that points to another file, just like a shortcut in Windows. An object that is being pointed is called a target. Symbolic links are transparent to users; the links appear as normal files or directories.

You can use this method to move the Outlook OST-file to the new location.

In this case, a symbolic link is created for OST-file in its original location on the system drive(c:\drive) which points to the file present on the data drive.

Steps to create symbolic link are listed below assuming an example with the OST-file name as datafile.ost, and the location to where OST-file is shifted as D:\Documents\Outlook Files.

Step 1: Close outlook that is in use.

Step 2: The default location is; C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook, Move the OST-file or PST-file from its original location to its new location.

Step 3: Open Command prompt using Windows+R keys, Run as Administrator. Provide all the administrator credentials for your computer by selecting yes to allow the prompt.

Step 4: Type the following commands

mklink “C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\ datafile.ost ” “D:\Documents\Outlook Files\ datafile.ost “

Where, mklink is used to create symbolic link;

Once the symbolic is created, it looks like a shortcut in the explorer. It holds the OST-extension and the “Outlook Data File” file type (Windows 7) or the “symlink” file type (Windows 10).

It is a bit tricky to use symbolic link to move Outlook OST-file 2016 because it should be executed in the command prompt. Any misspelled command in the prompt leads to consequences like Outlook data loss or corruption. It is suggested to use a software to repair OST, but you never be able to find a suitable repairing tool for corrupt OST. Therefore, the only possible way is to convert a OST to PST using the a right Conversion tool.

SFWare OST to PST Conversion tool comes with an interactive graphical user interface and retains the structure of original OST file after conversion. It provides an option of previewing the emails, contacts or other attributes that are recovered even before restoring.

Part 2: Converting OST file to PST file 

Before jumping on to the steps of converting OST to PST, It is important to know, why we need to convert OST to PST? Here are the reasons listed out that explain why converting of OST-file to PST-file would be the right action to take.

Why You Need to Convert Outlook OST to PST?

  • MS-Exchange server can unexpectedly crash due to power failure, malicious software, virus attacks or any other reason.
  • During Exchange Server maintenance, you will not be able to access your mailbox.
  • Converting OST file to PST file helps in transferring data from one place to another easily. Also, helps in importing data to any other system.
  • While using OST-file you may come across few errors like
  • “ Your offline folder could not be configured. \\ComputerName\FolderName\Outlook.OST.’
  • “The operation failed due to registry or installation problem”

Where, “ComputerName” is the name of the computer on which Microsoft Outlook is installed and “FolderName” is the name of the folder that has offline file.

To overcome this situation, you need to repair the OST file. As it is impossible to repair a corrupt OST file with a tool, the only best way is to convert a working Outlook OST to PST.

Step by Step Guide to Convert OST file to Outlook PST file

Step 1: Download SFWare OST to PST conversion tool on your system and install the software

Step 2: Launch the software either using the shortcut icon from the desktop or from the installed program menu of Windows.

Step 3: Then, from the main screen to browse OST file by clicking either of the two options.

  • Open OST File – If you know the path where the OST file is stored
  • Find OST File – If you don’t know the location of OST file

Step 4: In the next screen, click on Browse to choose the location for saving the converted file.

Step 5: Select Next, and the software starts the conversion process

Step 6: After completion, a notification will be provided as OST file conversion completed.

Now, you have a PST file that includes all your Outlook data that were previously saved in OST file. By importing this PST file into your Outlook you can successfully access all your Outlook data.

Why SFWare OST to PST Conversion Tool?

  • Has a user friendly graphical interface that allows you to perform conversion faster and easier
  • Use demo version through which you can preview the emails, contacts or other attributes that are recovered even before activating a licensed version.
  • Comes with Self-explained options to perform OST file conversion without any difficulty
  • It also provides a team of highly trained technical support personnel’s who are available round the clock to assist you with your queries regarding software or conversion process.

Conclusion

Outlook OST-file format comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Most of the problems related to Offline Storage Table format in Outlook 2016 can easily be resolved by converting OST-files to PST-files. Conversion of OST to PST can be safely done using SFWare OST to PST conversion tool. With the given reasons, you now have understood why converting OST is better than changing OST-files location to a different drive.

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