How can you Change the Location of OST File in Outlook?

Sandeep Saxena
Sandeep Saxena | Updated On - 27 Jun 2022 |

Read time 9 minutes

In Outlook, the location of your OST file is important. This file stores all of your email messages and other data, so it’s crucial that it be located in the right place. But in some cases, you may need to change the location of your OST file in Outlook. For example, if you have multiple user profiles set up on your computer, you may want to keep your OST file in a central location so that it can be accessed by all profiles. Or, if you are using an Exchange account, you may need to move your OST file to a different location so that it can be accessed offline. Whatever the reason, changing the location of your OST file is a relatively simple process.

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The location of offline Outlook Data File (OST)

When you are using Outlook with an Exchange account, your mailbox and other data reside on the Exchange Server. But enabling the Cached Exchange Mode helps you work even when you are not connected to Exchange. It’s an offline Outlook Data (OST) file, a local copy of your Exchange mailbox, which helps you use the mailbox even when you are offline. The default locations of the OST file are:

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

Changing the Default Location of the OST File

There are workarounds that can help you change the location of the OST file in the right way.

  • Create a new Outlook Profile and move the existing OST file to a new location
  • Disable the Cached Exchange mode and configure a new location for the OST

We will discuss both workarounds to change the location of OST files in a more detailed manner.

Method 1: Create a New Outlook Profile and Move Existing OST file to a New Location

This method involves creating a new Outlook profile and configuring a new location for the existing OST. Follow the given instructions to perform the operation.

  1. Locate the existing OST and copy and paste it to the new location.
  2. Launch Control Panel and select the Mail option.Launch Control Panel option.
  3. As soon as you click on the Mail option, it will prompt the Mail Setup dialog box.
  4. In the Mail dialog, click on the Show Profiles button.
  5. Then, in the Mail dialog box, click the Add button.click the Add button
  6. Enter a new Profile name and click OK.Enter a new Profile name
  7. In the next window, enter the credentials of your email account with which you want to create a new Outlook profile. Then, click Next.Enter the credentials of your email account
  8. Once Outlook finishes configuring your new email account, check the Change account settings checkbox and click Next.Change account settings
  9. In the next window, i.e., Server Settings, click on the More Settings button located at the bottom left corner of the interface.
  10. Go to the Advanced tab and click on Outlook Data File Settings.Outlook Data File Settings
  11. Browse the location where you have moved your existing Outlook Data File (OST), select the file, and click Open.Browse the location where you have moved
  12. Finally, click Finish to complete the process.
  13. Once you successfully configured your email profile and changed the location of the existing OST, go back to the Control panel and select Mail again.
  14. Click on the Always use this profile radio button, and from the drop-down list, select the New Profile.Click on Always use this profile
  15. Click Apply to save the changes.

Method 2: Disable the Cached Exchange Mode and Configure a New Location for the OST

The second method involves disabling the Cached Exchange Mode, configuring a new location for the OST file, and re-enabling the Cached Exchange Mode so that a new OST file is 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, and click OK. Click OK.account-settings
  • Now again, click Settings, go to the Advanced tab and click Outlook Data File Settings > Disable Offline Use > Yes.
  • Again choose Outlook Data File Settings, browse for the new folder location of the 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.
  • Now close all the open dialogue boxes and click OK.

Method 3: Set ForcePSTPath Registry Entry

A Windows Registry Key called ForcePSTPath can be used to change the location of Outlook data files. The Registry Key can be used to change the location of the OST file on all Outlook versions, including Outlook Version 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, & 2003.

You can change the location of an OST file by following these steps:

  1. Hold down both the Windows and R keys at once. Type Regedit in the Run window & hit Enter.Type Regedit in the Run window
  2. A Registry Editor window appears. Use the appropriate keys according to your version of Outlook.
    • For Outlook Version 2016, the key is:
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook
    • For Outlook version 2013, the key is:
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook
    • For Outlook Version 2010, the key is:
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook
    • For Outlook version 2007, the key is:
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook
  3. Right-click on an empty area of the Registry Editor in the right-hand pane. Click on New & navigate to Expandable String Value.Navigate to Expandable String Value

  4. It creates a new Value. Add ForceOSTPath to the value and set the new default location in the Value Data box, under the Save OST option. Press OK.Add ForceOSTPath to the value
  5. Restart MS Outlook after closing Registry Editor. If you create a new Exchange account, a new OST file is automatically created in the default directory.

Why do 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 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 to keep backups for OST files as Exchange can create them afresh. However, after Exchange Server disasters and crashes, one can recover their mailbox data and convert OST to PST file easily. One can use third-party tools like Kernel for OST to PST to convert OST to PST format.

Conclusion

Outlook stores offline folders (.ost) in different locations depending on the version of Outlook and the operating system. You can use the steps we’ve outlined to find the location of your .ost file and change it if necessary. All three methods are easy to follow and don’t require any technical expertise. You can choose any of these methods at your convenience.

Moreover, in case you are looking to shift to PST data files, go for our recommended tool. The software is reliable and helps in recovering the maximum possible data from corrupt or damaged OST files. It repairs all the errors present in the file and makes it accessible again. You can try the trial version of the software to check its features & performance before making a final decision.

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