An OST file (offline Outlook Data File) is a copy of the Exchange user mailbox. It makes offline working possible for Outlook users. However, these OST files are vulnerable to many issues. So, many administrators and end users are eager to convert OST files to PST format.
When the Outlook is connected to the Exchange, the user can easily recreate OST file without any problems. But this is not possible when Exchange is down – temporarily or permanently. In such cases also, OST files need to be converted to PST files. Manual conversion of OST files to PST has many limitations. Let us go through each of them.
- Cannot recover Exchange mailbox from orphaned OST files – Orphaned OST files are OST files that are not connected to any Exchange server. After Exchange crashes and disasters, such OST files are the only source of user mailbox data. Unfortunately, there are no manual methods to convert such OST files to PST format. Only Exchange connected OST files can be converted to PST format using manual methods.
- The Same Exchange account is needed – One cannot access an OST file with a different Exchange account. It can be accessed only with the Exchange account that was used to create it. It is somewhat equivalent to saying that only the original Outlook users can convert their OST files to PST format. It is a disadvantage of manual OST to PST conversion.
- Cannot convert corrupt OST files – Outlook email client cannot open corrupt OST files. When Exchange is down, users cannot recreate OST files to replace the damaged ones too. In such situations, the manual OST to PST conversion becomes almost impossible.
- It is time-consuming – Various Outlook versions have different locations for the storage of OST files. Naturally, it is not easy to locate them. And the methods to retrieve the OST files or to convert them to PST format may differ slightly in different versions. Altogether, it is a time-consuming process.
- Technical expertise needed – Though manual OST to PST conversion is simple, only experienced Outlook users or technical experts are willing to try it.
An alterative to manual OST to PST conversion
Considering the difficulties of manual conversion, many Exchange administrators and end users try third-party tools for OST to PST conversion. Kernel for OST to PST is such a tool. It is simple, user-friendly, and quick. And this tool is popular with end users and Exchange administrators.