How to Repair Corrupt Offline Outlook Data File (OST) in MS Outlook?

One of the most useful facilities with Outlook is the facility to work offline when there is no Exchange Server connectivity. Its Cached Exchange Mode is made possible because of the offline Outlook Data File (OST) in the user system. MS Outlook 2013, the latest version of Outlook, brings some improvements for its Cached Exchange Mode. Also it has more compressed offline Outlook Data Files (OST). Let us see the OST features of Outlook 2013.

How OST file facilitates Cached Exchange Mode in Outlook?

In Cached Exchange Mode, the Outlook users have a local copy of Exchange mailbox in their computer. It is stored in an Offline Outlook Data file (OST). When there is no Exchange connectivity, users work on this local copy of mailbox. It is synchronized with the Exchange mailbox periodically, when there is Exchange connectivity.

Cached Exchange Mode in Outlook 2013

MS Outlook 2013 has two new features in its Cached Exchange Mode:Exchange Fast Access and Sync Slider.

Exchange Fast Access

Exchange Fast Access provides improved synchronization time in Cached Exchange Mode of Outlook. When the user first opens up the Outlook 2013, he immediately will see the recent email messages and an up-to-date calendar. This feature is enabled by default with Cached Exchange Mode. However, Exchange administrators can enable/disable this feature through Group Policy objects.

Sync Slider

Sync Slide allows Outlook 2013 users to limitthe emails that are synchronized locally in Outlook Data File (OST).By default Outlook 2013 cache email messages of last 12 months. Users can view the remaining messages by clicking Click here to view more on Microsoft Exchange link at the end of the email list. Also, users can change this default value (of 12 months) from Offline Settings of Outlook 2013.

OST Compression in Outlook 2013

The Outlook Data File in Outlook 2013 is 40% smaller than that in its previous versions. The compressed version is created as soon as the Outlook 2013 is installed. It saves storage space in the user computer.

Where can you find OST file of Outlook 2013?

The OST file of Outlook 2013 is located at:

Windows 8/ 7/ Vista:drive:\Users\ \AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

Windows XP:drive:\Documents and Settings\ \Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

OST Corruption

If you are getting error messages like ‘Cannot open your default email folders. The file xxxx.ost is not an offline folder file’ while trying to access the OST file, it is corrupt. OST files can become corrupt due to many hardware as well as software reasons like hardware issues, networking faults, power failure, Outlook exit errors, synchronization issues, and virus attacks. Microsoft provides some simple inbuilt features with all versions of Outlook to deal with OST corruption issues. Outlook users can rely on professional tools like RecoveryFIX for OST to PST also.

How to repair corrupt OST files in Outlook 2013

OST is just a copy of the Outlook Data File on the Exchange server. If it is corrupt, you can recreate it. Here is how you can re-create OST files Outlook 2013.

  • Exit the MS Outlook application completely.
  • Go to the Control Panel and double-click Mail. Note: You can easily find Mail using the Search box of the Windows.
  • Select a different profile if required (to do this, clickShow Profiles, select the profile name, and click Properties). Note: the title bar of the Mail Setup box shows the current profile name.
  • Click E-mail Accounts in the Mail Setup dialogue box.
  • Click the Data Files tab, select the Exchange account and click Open File Location.
  • When the file explorer window that opens to the location of the data file for the Exchange account appears, close the Account Settings and Mail Setup dialog boxes.
  • Right-click the Exchange data file and click Delete.
  • Restart the Outlook to see a newly created Outlook OST file (it is created automatically after the deletion of the existing profile).

How to recover inaccessible OST files in 2013 prior versions of MS Outlook?

MS Outlook has some inbuilt features for repairing the corrupt OST files. These features and the methods employed may vary according to the version of the Outlook. But if you are using RecoveryFIX for OST to PST, you can fix OST issues of MS Outlook versions - 97, 98, 2000, 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2013, and Outlook Express versions version 5.0 and above. OST to PST Conversion tool scans the corrupt OST file, retrieves its items and saves them as PST, EML or MSG format. Thus you can access them using MS Outlook or Outlook Express. Using Exchange OST Recovery tool is one of the most reliable and easiest ways of repairing corrupt OST files.

Important Features of RecoveryFIX for OST to PST

  • Recover emails, attachments, appointments, contacts, journals and notes from corrupt OST files
  • Works in two modes – Standard and Advance
  • Performs OST to PST conversion even in the absence of original Outlook profile
  • Saves the recovered items in PST, MSG, or EML format
  • Allows to filter email items by date range
  • Owns a user-friendly interface
  • Is available as trial version

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