Is Microsoft Outlook not able to find the OST file?

Summary: Problems in locating OST files are not uncommon in Outlook. One day you can be working with a perfectly running Outlook instance; a slight modification to the default settings and you could be looking at a message as cryptic as “Outlook cannot find OST file” or “The OST File in Windows Outlook Is Missing”. The best remedy this is not to mess with default Outlook settings. But if you need to make changes and also get rid of errors, converting your Outlook OST to PST format with a reliable tool like Stellar Converter for OST can come in handy.

Microsoft Outlook saves user mailbox data in local data files on the system where it is installed. If configured with a POP mailing server, the data file is known as a Personal Storage Table (PST) file; if configured with Exchange, the data file is known as an Offline Storage Table (OST) file. In addition to this slight difference, there are other larger factors that differentiate OST and PST files. OST files, for instance, are system-dependent while PST files can be moved from one machine to another. This variation makes the usage of PST files more preferable as compared to OSTs among users. Just one of the reasons that prompt users to convert their Outlook OST files to PST format.

While there are several other situations demanding such a conversion, this post discusses a unique and classic example of the problem which the default setting of OST files creates. It brings out why sometimes it becomes almost necessary to convert OST files to PST format to solve an issue at hand. Let us see what the case is and if needed, what is the best way users can convert their Outlook OST files to PST format.

Problem Scenario

We recently came across a problem scenario wherein a user wanted to change the default location of his Outlook OST file for some professional reasons. While doing this with PSTs is relatively straightforward, in the case of OSTs matters tend to get a little tricky.

The user tried changing the OST file location by altering the registry entry for his current Outlook profile, but it didn’t work. Instead, he ended up with a “cannot find OST file” or “The OST File in My Windows Outlook Is Missing” error. What he did was that he created a new Outlook profile and then located Outlook registry entries in Windows registry at:


Here inside the PROFILENAME key, he entered the path of the system directory where he wished that his Outlook OST file be saved. But after making this change when he restarted Outlook, he received the error:

“Not a valid path. Outlook cannot find OST file”

The problem with this approach was that the user failed to acknowledge fact that an OST file is tightly coupled to the Outlook profile with which it is created and therefore it is also tied to the default system location mentioned in the registry. To change the default location you’d need to be a tech-whiz and execute scripts full of PowerShell commands which will alter the very nature of your Outlook installation. But after doing that, you’d have to be prepared for the worst: either your Outlook will stop working all together, or your OST file will become corrupt and you’ll end up with data loss.

A better way to deal with the issue, thus, would be to not mess with the default OST file settings at all, but instead, convert the OST to PST format and then transfer it to whichever location needed. That way you’d preserve your system settings, not waste hours working on futile efforts, and also protect your OST file from inadvertent damage.

Now coming to the main question here – how would you go about converting OST to PST?

Converting OST to PST the easy way

The easiest technique to convert Outlook OST to PST format is through the use of reliable and competent third-party converter tools. We recommend Stellar Converter for OST for the purpose. Backed by powerful scanning and recovery algorithms, this software converts damaged, corrupted, or inaccessible OST files to equivalent PST files which can be directly imported into Outlook. In situations like the one discussed above, where an OST needs to be saved to a location different than its default one, Stellar Converter for OST can be extremely useful.

free download

Additional critical scenarios where this tool can come handy are:

  • When a user needs to access his emails if Exchange fails or is experiencing synchronization problems
  • In case a user’s Exchange account gets deleted from the server, the administrator can convert the offline OST file to PST and import to Live Exchange
  • If the domain and Exchange server change you can directly convert all files and export it on the new server

The software comes packed with a ton of impressive features that make it quite favorable among database administrators and end-users. Additionally, it comes laced with an interactive GUI which makes its operation super easy. If OST problems strike, the best remedy is converting them to PST format using this converter so that mailbox data can be accessed directly through Outlook.

Final Words

Almost always, several manual methods are available to tackle Outlook issues like missing the OST file. But not every manual method is full proof; most involve some degree of data loss. The safest and most risk-free method to beat troubles is using tried and tested commercial products that have a proven success rate.

Please check our MVP review to get more insight about OST to PST converter from stellar.

  1. Nancy E. Cain October 25, 2018
    • Eric Simson October 25, 2018
  2. Benny Sanders April 8, 2018
    • Eric Simson April 9, 2018
  3. Mable Barrett March 21, 2018
  4. Charles Perry March 12, 2018
    • Eric Simson March 13, 2018

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