Summary: Though it is usually not required, but at times need arises to change the default location of OST file due to various reasons. In this post, we’ve mentioned some methods on how to change the location of the Outlook OST file. These methods are explained with step-wise instructions that can help you change the OST file location easily.
Offline Storage Table or OST is an Outlook data file that is created locally when you set up Microsoft Outlook account. The OST file stores data such as email messages, tasks, contacts, calendar, etc. and allows users to work offline in the Exchange environment. The OST file is saved at a default location on local storage. It is usually not required to change the Outlook data file location. However, at times, you need to change the default location of the Outlook OST file due to various reasons such as lack of storage space where the file is saved, an Outlook account is deleted, or any other.
Note: You can’t change the location of OST file from one machine to another to access its contents. You can, however, recreate the OST on the new machine. If that’s not possible, you can use Stellar Converter for OST to convert OST to PST on same system, and then open the PST in Outlook on new system in few simple steps. Download the free software below.
If, for any reason, you want to change the default location of Outlook data file, read this post to know the methods and workarounds for changing the OST file location.
Methods to Change the Location of Outlook OST File
Following are some manual methods that you can use to change Outlook OST file location:
Method 1: Set ForcePSTPath Registry Entry
You can use ForcePSTPath, which is a Windows Registry Key, to change the Outlook data file location. By using the Registry Key, you can change the location of OST file of all Outlook versions, be it Outlook 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, or 2003.
Note:All Outlook versions use a different location to store the OST files.
The steps to change the OST file location are as follows:
Figure 1: Run dialog box
1. Press both Windows and R key simultaneously. When the Run dialog box appears, type Regedit and click OK or press Enter.
2. The Registry Editor is launched. In it, use the appropriate keys, depending on the version of Outlook you’re using.
3. In the right-hand-side pane of Registry Editor, right-click on an empty area. Then, select New > Expandable String Value.
Figure 2: Selection of Expandable String Value in the Registry Editor
4. A new Value is created. In the Edit String dialog box, assign ForceOSTPath name to the Value and enter the new default location, under the Value Data option, to save the OST. Then, click on OK.
Figure 3: Edit String to enter value name and value data
5. Close Registry Editor and restart MS Outlook.
Note: When a new Exchange email account is set up, a new OST file will be created automatically at the default location that you’ve chosen for OST file.
Method 2: Use Outlook Email Client
You can also use your Outlook account to change the default location of Outlook data file (OST) to a new location. However, you need to know the default location of the OST file, which depends on the Windows OS version installed on your system.
Note: This method works for Outlook 2013, 2010, 2007, and 2003 version.
In Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista, the default location of the OST file is C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
In Windows XP, the default OST file location is:
C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
To change the OST file location, follow the given steps:
Open the Account Settings dialog box and select the Data Files.
Select Exchange Server account and click on
Figure 4: Selecting Settings tab in the Data Files section
In Microsoft Exchange account, go to the Advanced section, uncheck the Use Cached Exchange Mode checkbox and then click
Figure 5: Actions in the Advanced section of Microsoft Exchange account
When it prompts, click on the OKtab and then select
In the Advanced tab, choose Outlook Data File Settings> Disable Offline Use > Yes.
Note: If the Disable Offline Use option is unavailable, return to Step 3 and uncheck the Use Cached Exchange Mode checkbox.
Choose Outlook Data File Settings and then select ‘I want to move the old file’ option. Here, select the Browse tab, then the offline Outlook Data (OST) file that was moved to a new folder at any location, and then click Open and press
In the Advanced section of Microsoft Exchange account, place a checkmark on the Use Cached Exchange Mode checkbox, click on the OK When it prompts to restart Outlook email client, click on the OK tab.
Close the Account Settings and the Mail Setup dialog boxes.
In the Mail dialog box, click on
Note: When a new OST file is created, the old OST file is not deleted automatically. You have to delete the file manually.
Method 3: Use Symbolic Links to Repoint OST Location
You can use Symbolic Links to repoint the OST file from the default location to another location. For this, you need to set up a symbolic link by using MKLINK command.
To create symbolic link, follow the given steps:
Move the OST file from the default original location to a new location
Open the Command Prompt window by using administrator credentials
Execute the mklink command: mklink “C:\old-path” “D:\New path”. See the below example:
mklink %localappdata%\Microsoft\Outlook\<file name> "D:\Outlook Data Files\<file name>"
As soon as you hit the Enter key after correctly entering the command, the symbolic link is created.
Note: When you move a file by using a symbolic link, a shortcut is created at the default location of the folder. If the shortcut is deleted, it breaks the link and the file gets back to the original location.
Changing default location of OST file is not always recommended. You may face issues after relocating the OST file or the process may go wrong due to some error. In such a case, the OST file may become inaccessible or orphaned. You can’t access an orphaned OST with your Outlook. Such OST file needs to be converted to PST to access its data. The best way to convert an OST to PST is by using an advanced tool such as Stellar Converter for OST. The software can easily convert orphaned or inaccessible OST to PST file, which you can import into the Outlook and access all its mail items.
Software Recommendations by Top Editors:
Above all, the software can be used if the OST file is damaged or corrupt. It is compatible with Microsoft Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, and lower versions.
Eric Simson is an Email Platform Consultant and is associated with Stellar Data Recovery from last 6 years. He writes about the latest technology tips and provides custom solutions related to MS Outlook, MS Exchange Server, Office 365, and many other Email Clients & Servers.