How to re-create and recover damaged OST files in Outlook 2013/2016?

Aftab Alam
Aftab Alam | Updated On - 04 Jul 2022 |

Read time 8 minutes

OST files are the offline replica of user mailboxes on the Exchange server. An OST file resides on the user system. So, it is vulnerable to many issues. The OST files can get damaged due to various reasons like virus attack, power failure, header corruption, etc. After such issues, OST files may not be accessible, thus resulting in data loss. However, don’t worry, as there are ways to re-create and recover the damaged OST files in Outlook. In this blog post, we will discuss the steps involved in the process and the use of an advanced third-party tool for such complex situations.

File Repair Options in Different Versions of Outlook

The OST file repair options are different in different versions of MS Outlook. In MS Outlook 2010 and 2013, although the Repair option was available, it was specifically designed for repairing the Outlook installation files and registry entries. However, in versions like Outlook 2016 and 2019, there are easier ways to repair and recreate OST files.

Try expert recommended free methods to convert OST to PST file

  • Step 1: Export mailbox as a PST file
  • Step 2: Use ‘Archiving’ to save OST emails to PST

Instant Solution

Try an automated tool Kernel for OST to PST Converter to recover damaged OST files in Outlook 2013/2016 and convert OST File to PST, EML, MSG, Office 365, and Exchange.
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Recreate the Offline Data File (OST)

Recreating the file is an easy way to deal with almost all forms of OST file issues.When you delete or rename your OST file, Outlook will automatically recreate it. It is suggested to take a backup of the OST file before proceeding. Here is how you can do this.

  1. Delete the Outlook OST Files

    OST file is an offline version of the Exchange user mailbox. If it gets deleted somehow, the user can get its fresh copy by downloading it from the server again. The process of recreating the OST file is given below:

    1. Close the Outlook application.
    2. Open Mail from Control Panel.
      Recreated the OST file in Outlook 2016
    3. It will open a dialogue box named Mail Setup – Outlook. You need to click on Email Accounts.Recreated the OST file in Outlook 2016
    4. The newly opened dialogue box Account Settings will have all the Outlook accounts. Click on Data Files, choose the OST file, and then click Open File Location (to go to the location where a particular OST file is residing).Open File Location
    5. Right-click on the OST file and click the Delete option to delete the file.Delete OST File
      Note: Before deleting the file, close the Account Settings and Mail Setup windows; otherwise, the system will give an error message.
    6. Start the Outlook application again. It will automatically create a new OST file for the account (downloading all the data from the Exchange server).
  2. Change the Extension of the File
    By editing the file extension of an OST file, you can safely recreate the OST file. Here’s how:

    • Close the Outlook window. Enable the ‘File Name Extensions‘ option from the View menu in File Explorer.Enable File Name Extensions
    • To rename the OST file, right-click on it and tap on Rename.
    • OST files must end with .bak.
    • Launch Outlook now. Microsoft Outlook rebuilds the OST file and starts synchronizing messages from the server’s mailbox.

Repairing the OST file

The above method to recreate the OST file will work only when the Outlook account and Exchange server are in perfect sync. If the Exchange server is down or there are network issues, the method may lead to permanent data loss. You should have the original Outlook profile and Exchange Server availability for the above methods to work. But if you are using a professional OST recovery tool, you can recover OST files in any situation.So, it is highly recommended that a competent third-party recovery tool must be used to handle the corrupt OST files. Kernel for OST to PST Converter is one of the most trusted and widely used data recovery tools that can retrieve data from any corrupted OST file and save it to a PST file.

Below is the process of restoring an OST file and converting it to the PST file using the tool.This process works with the OST files of all the versions of Exchange/Outlook.

  1. After you have installed the software, start it; the ‘Source File Selection’ window will open instantly. Here, you need to click the Browse button to add the OST file.add the OST file
  2. After selecting the OST file, click the Next button.Next to select OST file
  3. The Information window will tell you about the recovery process and various output formats available for saving the recovered data. Click Finish.Finish recovery process
  4. The tool scans the OST file and restores the data. Let the process finish.scans the OST file
  5. The OST to PST Converter tool has recovered all the data, and you can check all the folders in the exact hierarchy as they were in your Outlook mailbox. Check the items and see their preview also. Later, click the Save button.save the data
  6. Choose PST File (MS Outlook) as the output format.choose PST file format
  7. Choose the various options for saving the file. Also, you can split the PST file after reaching a definite size and attach a prefix to the store name. Then click the Next button.choose various option to save
  8. Click the Browse button to select the location for saving the PST file.select the location
  9. After saving the PST file, the tool will give you a message with the location of the PST file.find message with the location of the PST file

Final Say

MS Outlook saves the OST file in the user’s computer, and the data file is susceptible to the threats like software corruption, hardware malfunction, accidental deletion, etc. If you follow the valuable methods presented in the article, then you may recreate the OST file and re-access your account. The best-suited solution will be using Kernel for OST to PST Converter, as it will recover the severely corrupt and deleted items from all the folders. After recovering all the folders in their correct hierarchical order, you can convert data into available formats. Also, this OST to PST Converter works with all Exchange/Outlook versions.

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Software Review by Noel Pulis, Microsoft MCSE

Rating by Allen Song, Microsoft
Rating by Allen Song
Read more : https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/exchange/en-US/ca3873cd-6c0c-4911-91f0-da6111892e7a/exchange-2003-outlook-issue