It’s not recommended and not required to change the default location of the OST file. But if you think you can save some storage space by relocating the OST file, you can do it.
The location of offline Outlook Data File (OST)
When you are using Outlook with an Exchange account, your mailbox and other data resides on the Exchange Server. But enabling the Cached Exchange Mode helps you work even when you are not connected to Exchange. It’s offline Outlook Data (OST) file, a local copy of your Exchange mailbox, that helps you use the mailbox even you are offline. The default locations of OST file are:
- drive:\Documents and Settings\\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook.
Changing the location of OST file
Changing the location of OST file basically involves disabling the Cached Exchange Mode, configuring a new location for the OST file, and then re-enabling the Cached Exchange Mode so that a new OST fill be created in the newly configured location. The new OST file will download all the mailbox data from Exchange data automatically. This is how you can do it in Outlook 2010:
- In MS Outlook 2010, go to the File tab, click Account Settings > Account Settings (alternately, in your system, go to Control Panel, double-click Mail and click Data Files).
- Now on the Data Files tab (of the Account Settings window), choose your account and click Settings.
Note: Here, you can note the present location of the OST file, if you don’t know it.
- Now in the new window, go to the Advanced tab, uncheck the Use Cached Exchange Mode check box; click OK. Click OK.
- Now again click Settings, and go to the Advanced tab, click Outlook Data File Settings > Disable Offline Use > Yes.
- Again chose Outlook Data File Settings, browse for the new folder location of OST file and click Open; click OK.
Note: If you want to move an old OST file to the above location, first copy that OST file to the new location, and open it in this step.
- Again on the Advanced tab, check the Use Cached Exchange Mode checkbox; click OK. Click OK.
- Now close all the open dialogue boxes and click OK.
Why you need not move the OST file to another computer?
You need not move your OST file to another computer to use Outlook there. When you add your account to the Outlook there and enable Cached Exchange Mode, a new OST file is created where you can get all your data.
Also, there is no need of keeping backups for OST file as Exchange can create them afresh. However, after Exchange Server disasters and crashes, one can recover their mailbox data from OST file by converting it to PST file. One can use third-party tools like Kernel for OST to PST to convert OST files to PST format.
Outlook users can change the default location of the OST file if they want to do so. However, there is no need for them to back up OST files or port OST file from one computer to another as Exchange can recreate them. But at the time of Exchange disasters or crashes, users can convert OST files to PST using third-party tools like Kernel for OST to PST to recover its data.