If you were previously using Outlook Exchange Server but now you’re no more a part of it, OST to PST conversion turns into your primary need. Now, as you’re not connected to the Exchange Server, you need to import mailbox content from OST to PST. Unlike Microsoft Outlook 2013 & 2016, other Outlook versions don’t support OST format. To access mailbox data in Outlook, you can either import data manually or convert OST to PST through an OST to PST Converter tool. In this post, we’ll learn the difference between OST and PST and how to convert OST to PST file format. But before that, let’s first know about Microsoft Outlook, an email client application for Windows users.
It’s a standout amongst the most prominent email client applications among computer users. You can use it as a stand-alone application, as well as you can configure it with Microsoft Exchange Server. Outlook is primarily used for emailing purpose. Additionally, it provides features like calendar, task manager, contact manager, note taking, a journal and web browsing. If you’re an individual, you can use Outlook as a stand-alone application. In organizations where an extensive number of users use Outlook, it can be configured with MS Exchange Server.
All your mailbox data, such as emails, contacts, calendar, tasks, notes, journals, etc. are saved into an Outlook data file. There are two types of Outlook data files: PST aka Personal Storage Table and OST aka Offline Storage Table.
Difference between OST and PST
Do you know the difference between PST and OST? It may happen that you don’t find any difference just because both PST and OST files have fundamentally the same structure. But the fact says there’s a major difference between OST and PST. OST is an offline folder file while PST is not. PST is a personal storage table that stores Outlook mailbox content on a local system. While OST is an offline storage table used by Outlook Exchange Server that stores email messages and other mailbox data. An OST file can be used in offline mode, unlike PST file. For example, you can use OST file regardless of the possibility that you’re not connected to Exchange Server, or there’s no Internet connection available. But if you want to open PST file or access its mailbox content, the Internet connection is mandatory.
At times an Outlook client needs to convert OST to PST format. You can’t open an OST file in MS Outlook on the off chance that it’s not configured with Exchange Server. What will you would in the event that you like to view or read the OST files? This could be a little challenging for you. In such circumstance, you have two alternatives:
- You can view OST files by using OST File Viewer software, or
- You can convert OST to PST or to any other format
Most common situations for OST to PST conversion
Let’s discuss the most common scenarios where OST to PST conversion becomes necessary.
Scenario #1 – Crash in Exchange Server
Microsoft Exchange Server is not immune to mishappenings which may sometimes cause serious issues. Crash in Exchange Server is often seen. If the Exchange Server crashes down, you can’t access your account until you repair it. It may take several hours to days in repairing the Exchange Server. If you urgently need to access your OST mailbox during this operation, you can convert OST to PST format.
Scenario #2 – Exchange Server Goes for Maintenance
Microsoft Exchange Server needs maintenance in a regular manner. If the Exchange Server goes for regular maintenance, you can’t access your account. The whole process of maintenance takes more than enough time. If you want to use OST mailbox during the maintenance, you must convert perform OST to PST conversion.
Scenario #3 – Migration From One Place to Another
If you want to migrate mailbox data from one place to another, you may require OST to PST conversion. There’s a strange limitation on OST file. You must have the same computer system that originally created the OST files. It’s not always easy to take all the computers along with you during migration. But you can migrate OST files easily from one place to another. In such situation, you need OST to PST conversion.
Scenario #4 – Switching from One Organization to Another
Your Outlook profile was connected to Exchange Server where you were previously working. Now you’ve switched to a new organization. All your mailbox data are stored in OST files, but you can’t access them as your profile was removed from the Exchange Server. To access the old mailbox stored in OST files, you must convert them into PST format.
Scenario #5 – Corruption in OST Mailbox
The most common reason behind OST to PST conversion is corruption in OST mailbox. Due to corruption, you can’t open OST file and access your mailbox. An OST file becomes corrupt due to various reasons which include Trojans infections, virus attacks, software related issues, unexpected hardware failures, abnormal termination, application shutdown, damage induced by the database, server breakdown, lack of storage space, accidental deletion of the user account, etc. In such situation, you can you can recover mailbox data from corrupt OST files by converting them to PST format.
How to convert OST to PST?
There are some manual strategies or methods which can help you move your mailbox data from OST to PST files. Though the methods are exceptionally safe and effective, still you must take backup of your original OST files before you can try any of them. Keep in mind, these strategies don’t require any 3rd party OST to PST Converter tool. Before you can start, create a new Outlook data file into which you can import the mailbox content from OST file. While using archive feature, there’s no requirement to create new PST file.
Trick #1 – Archive
In Microsoft Outlook, you can use Archive feature to move or copy the mailbox items to a PST file. If you want to convert OST to PST format, you can use this feature to have all the mailbox data of an OST file into a PST file. This feature helps you move or copy almost each and every mailbox items, except contacts. You can’t archive Contacts of an OST file.
Follow the steps given below:
Step 1: First of all, launch Microsoft Outlook client on your system.
Now open the OST file from which you want to move items to new PST file.
Step 2: On the main menu, click File tab > Info.
Select Cleanup Tools in the options.
Step 3: Click Archive… in the list scrolled down.
Step 4: The Archive dialog box will appear there.
The “Archive this folder and all subfolders” box is checked by default. If it is not, then check it.
Now select any folder from the list that you want to move. For example Inbox.
Step 5: On the same window, you can see an option Archive items older than there.
Select a date from the calendar.
Step 6: Now click Browse to define a location to save new PST file.
Also, give a new name to this new PST file. Click OK.
Step 7: In the edit box, you can see new PST file along with its location.
Click OK to start the actual process.
It’ll take a couple of minutes to complete the process successfully. As a result, the new PST file contains the mailbox folder archived from OST file.
Trick #2 – Export to a new PST file
The Export feature of MS Outlook is not that much effective unlike Archive feature to convert OST file to PST format. However, it’s a quick and easy way to move all the mailbox data from OST to PST file. This feature not only allows you to convert OST file to PST format but also in CSV and Excel formats.
Follow the steps given below:
Step 1: First, launch Microsoft Outlook client on your system.
You can see a list of PST files in the navigation pane. Also, it includes the new PST file you created earlier.
Step 2: On the main menu, click the File tab > Open > Import.
Step 3: On Import and Export Wizard, select Export to a file in the options.
Click Next to continue the process.
Step 4: On Export to a file window, select Outlook Data File (.pst) in the options.
Click Next to continue the process.
Step 5: On Export Outlook Data File window, expand the OST file listed there.
Select the mailbox folder you want to export to new PST file. Click Next to continue the process.
Step 6: Now click Browse to select the PST file you’ve created earlier.
Step 7: You can see the selected PST file along with its location in the edit box. You can use other options as well available there.
Finally, click Finish to start the actual process.
It’ll take a couple of minutes to complete the process successfully. As a result, the new PST file contains the mailbox folder exported from OST file.
Trick #3 – Move the items to a new PST file
This feature is one of the easiest and effective ways to move mailbox data from an OST file to PST file. You need to create a new PST file in your Outlook profile, and then drag all the mailbox folders of OST file which you want to have in your new PST file. Remember, you can’t drag the default folders like Inbox, Calendar, Contacts, etc. into a PST file. If you try this, you’ll receive a message saying you can’t move default folders. You can only copy the default folders from OST to PST file.
Before using any of these manual tricks, make sure:
- You’re using the same computer system in which you’ve created the OST files. This is the main requirement.
- Also, make sure the connection to MS Exchange Server is available.
- And most importantly, the OST files must be valid, i.e. not corrupt. If the OST files are corrupt, you can’t open them. Therefore, none of the tricks can really work for you. You must repair OST file before you can convert OST to PST file format. Click here to know SCANOST.EXE (Integrity Check tool) to Repair OST File
Professional OST to PST Converter
In such a critical situation, you must try smart OST to PST Converter tool. It works as a recovery cum converter tool. If the OST files are corrupt, you can use this software to extract mailbox content from them and save them into new PST files. Other than PST format, you save OST files’ data into MSG, DBX, EML, MBOX and Archive format. The archive option includes EML, VCF, ICS and text format. By using its free demo version, you can save first 25 email items from each mailbox folder of selected OST file into new PST file.