How to change Outlook OST location using Group Policy?

Aftab Alam Aftab Alam Updated On - 09 Aug 2019

The Offline Outlook Data File (OST file) of Outlook allows uses to work in the offline mode (Cached Exchange Mode) when the Exchange Server is down.

The default location of an OST file is –

  • C:\Users\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  • C:\Documents and Settings\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

But sometimes it becomes necessary to move the OST file to another location to free the space in the C Drive. Here, will discuss how you can do this in different Outlook versions with the help of Group Policy.

How to change OST location in Outlook 2010?

You can change the location of an Outlook 2010 OST file to a Network Shared folder using a GPO.
Before starting the procedure, you need to download and install the Group Policy Administrative Template Files from the following location –

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=18968

The tool involves a ‘\Admin’ folder and various ADMX, ADML, and ADM versions of Office 365 Administrative Template files. After downloading the file, go to AMDX folder in C drive in Exchange Server 2012 R2 and copy the downloaded setup file here. Extract the file, and it will install automatically. Now follow the below steps:

  1. Copy office14.admx file from the ADMX folder. Paste it at the location %systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions\.
  2. Copy the outlk14.adml file from AMDX\ADMX\en-US location and paste it at the %systemroot%PolicyDefinitions\en-us.
  3. Now, launch gpmc.msc and follow User Configuration>>Policies>>Administrative Templates>>Microsoft Outlook 2010>>Miscellaneous>>PST Settings.
  4. Here you will see Default location for OST files, and the Default location for PST files. You can change these settings and change the default location to a network shared folder.

For Outlook 2013, 2016, and 2019.

  1. Load the Outlook 2016 Template at the Group Policy.
  2. Go to Group Policy Management Console (GPMC), expand Domains, and then Group Policy Objects. Right-click to it.
  3. After right-clicking the Group Policy Objects, click Edit and it will open the Group Policy Management Editor.
  4. Follow User Configuration>>Policies>>Administrative Templates>>Microsoft Outlook 2016>>Miscellaneous>>PST Settings.
  5. Choose the option Default location for OST files and click ‘Enabled’ for the policy setting.
  6. Input the new location for the OST file and click OK.
  7. Using the same method, you can change the location for the PST file also.

Additional Group Policy Settings

There are many Outlook related settings you can change using Group Policy. Some of them are mentioned here:

  • Cached Exchange Mode Sync Settings.
  • It enables the email messages from Outlook to synchronize locally by the date of the message. By default, Outlook synchronizes messages from the previous 12 months only. If you want to get rid of this limitation, then you can select the settings and click All from the list.

  • Disallow Download Full Items
  • It turns off the Download Full Items option for Outlook.

  • Disallow Download Headers
  • It turns off the Download Header option in Outlook.

  • Disallow Download Headers the Full Items
  • It turns off the Download Headers then Full Items in Outlook.

  • Disallow On Slow Connections Only Download Headers
  • It turns off the On Slow Connections Download Only Headers option in Outlook.

  • Download Public Folder Favorites
  • It synchronizes Public Folder Favorites in Cached Exchange Mode.

  • Download shared non-mail folders
  • It synchronizes shared non-mail folders in the Cached Exchange Mode.

  • Use Cached Exchange Mode for new and existing Outlook Profile
  • It configures new and existing Outlook profiles to add in the Cached Exchange Mode.

Final Words

Group Policy Settings can be used to modify various settings of the Outlook application. But, changing the location of the OST file to a network or shared location is not a good idea as it can sometimes corrupt the file or make it inaccessible. In such cases, you need to have a recovery plan for the OST file. Either you can use the scanpst application or go to professional help. Scanpst has a limitation that it is not suitable for severely corrupt files and it is also unable to recover the deleted item. So, a professional OST to PST conversion tool seems a viable option. Kernel for OST to PST Converter is an easy to use tool which can access an unlimited number of OST files and recover them. After retrieving the OST files, you can change the location of OST file in Outlook.