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How to move Offline Outlook Data File (OST) Data

Eric Simson  | Updated on September 18, 2020 | Outlook Data File   | 9 Comments   | 5 min read

Summary: This blog briefs you on ‘how to move Offline Outlook Data File (OST) data’. It describes solutions to move the OST File data to another drive or location. Read on to learn more.

OST file is a cached copy of mailbox data stored on an Exchange server or an IMAP mail server. It is saved at a default location on a computer. You may not usually require to move the Exchange account or IMAP account offline cache (.ost). But you may come across situations that pushes you to move Outlook Data File to another drive or location, such as:

  • When you are running out of disk space due to large-sized OST files.
  • When you need to move the file to some other computer

Also Read: How to Transfer Outlook Data to a New Computer?

But, keep in mind, the procedure to move an OST file is different (and trickier) than moving a PST File.

TIP:If you have an oversized OST file and want to back up the file before transferring its data to some other location, you must first convert the mailbox data to a PST file. Use Stellar Converter for OST software to quickly convert large OST file in PST format, maintaining the data integrity. It can also help convert inaccessible or orphaned OST file to PST. The software supports conversion of OST file of Outlook version 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010 and lower versions.

transfer ost file

How to Move Offline Outlook Data File?

Move the ost

You can move OST file in Outlook in the following two ways:

  • Use ForceOSTPath Registry Key
  • Export OST File Data to PST

Solution 1: Use ForceOSTPath Registry Key

Use this solution if you want to move Offline data file (OST) data in a different folder. Essentially, modifying the ForceOSTPath Windows key registry can help you change the default location of any newly created .ost file, when configuring an Exchange/IMAP account to Outlook.

Note: In case you’re using an IMAP account in Outlook 2010 or earlier version, then you will need to use ForcePSTPath key registry as those versions uses a PST file for caching IMAP data.

Steps to modify ForceOSTPath registry key are as follows: 

Caution: Serious problems may occur if the registry is modified incorrectly. So, make sure to follow the steps correctly and back up the registry so that it can be restored if something goes wrong.

  1. Open the Run window by clicking ‘Windows’ + ‘R’ keys, and type regedit.

    Figure 1 – Type Regedit in Run Window

  1. The Registry Editor window is displayed. Navigate the following path:

For Outlook 2016
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook

For Outlook 2013
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook.

For Outlook 2010
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook

For Outlook 2007
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook

For Outlook 2003
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook

  1. Right-click Outlook, click New, and then click Expandable String Value.
    Figure 2 – Select Expandable String Value
  1. Rename ‘New Value #1’ to ForceOSTPath and hit Enter to create it.

    Figure 3 – Create ForceOSTPath Key

  1. Right-click ForceOSTPath, and choose Modify.
  2. From the Edit String dialog box that appears, specify ForceOSTPath as the ‘Value name’, and enter the new default location where you want to save the OST file under ‘Value data’.

    Figure 4 – Enter OST File Location

  1. Click OK.
  2. Exit Registry Editor and restart your Microsoft Outlook

Once a new Exchange account is set up, a new Offline data file (.ost) will automatically get created and saved at the selected default location (Refer Figure 4).

Solution 2: Export OST File Data to PST

An Offline Outlook Data File (OST) can only be opened by the account that has created it and on the same machine that was used to create that account. So, if you want to move the file to another system, you will first need to convert OST file data to PST.

Assuming that you can access your Outlook account and also the OST file, try exporting OST data to PST by using Outlook’s built-in ‘Import and Export Wizard’. The detailed steps are listed below:

  • Open Microsoft Outlook.
  • Go to the File menu, choose Open & Export, and then click Import/Export.
  • From Import and Export Wizard window, select Export to a File and click Next.
  • When the Export to a File dialog box opens, select Outlook Data File (.pst).
  • Now select the mail account or specific mail items (such as Inbox, Calendar, etc.) that you want to export to PST.
  • Next, browse the location where you wish to save the OST file backup and choose any of the options provided. Click Finish.
  • You may be prompted to enter a password for PST file (this is an optional step).

Note: The ‘Import and Export Wizard’ won’t work if the OST file is inaccessible or if the Outlook account is inactive. However, you can easily convert inaccessible OST file to PST by using Stellar Converter for OST software. The software also work when the Outlook account is not working.

Read this: How to Convert OST to PST free using Stellar Converter for OST software?

Software Recommendations by Top Editors:

Bottom Line

Sometimes, you may need to move Offline Outlook data file (OST) data to another drive or location. While modifying ForceOSTPath registry key can help move the .ost file to another drive, migrating the file to another system requires exporting OST file to PST with Outlook ‘Import & Export Wizard’. However, these manual methods have certain limitations:

  • Modifying registry key is a complex and risky process. Incorrectly implementing a single step to set up ForceOSTPath key for changing Outlook.ost file location can have serious implications.
  • Exporting specific mail items from OST file to PST by using Outlook built-in ‘Import and Export Wizard’ can take considerable time.
  • Won’t work if the OST file is inaccessible or when Outlook account is not working.
  • Data integrity may be at risk.

Try using Stellar Converter for OST software for converting all or specific OST file items to PST in a few clicks without losing mailbox data. It can also be used to convert orphaned or inaccessible OST file into PST.

Check out what MVP says about OST to PST Tool from Stellar.

Comments(9)
  1. Dane C. LaBarr August 4, 2019
    • Eric Simson August 5, 2019
  2. Mael Daniel September 27, 2018
  3. Phil Park February 28, 2018
    • Eric Simson March 1, 2018
  4. Gabriel July 25, 2017
    • Eric Simson July 26, 2017
  5. Milton June 20, 2017
    • Eric Simson June 23, 2017

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