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Where is the Outlook Data File .OST Stored?

Look across the article to know more about the default locations and multiple methods of changing the location for good.

Emails have been a significant source of communication for a while. With platforms like Outlook taking the space with effective services in email management, professional needs and necessities are essentially covered through them. Such is the case with different folder files that are developed across the mail that is managed. OST files, or Offline Storage Files, are the offline folder files offered by Microsoft Outlook.

The existence of OST files has potentially helped users keep their work intact during offline sessions and synchronize their changes with the Exchange server. While understanding the significance of OST files across Microsoft Outlook, it is important to go through other significant technicalities. One such question involves the point of where is the Outlook Data File .OST stored?

To answer that, we would be going across the article to discuss multiple methods on how to manage an OST file, followed by a potential discussion on its storage locations.

Default Locations of OST Files

OST files are proactively managed across the Outlook account. While understanding why they are important in your professional life, it is essential to figure out the location of Outlook OST file. To answer that, we shall look across the following table to note the default locations recognized across Outlook and Windows versions.

MS Outlook Version

Windows OS Version

Default OST File Location

Outlook 2000

Outlook 2003

Outlook 2007

Windows XP

C:\Documents and Settings\User\Name\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft Outlook

Outlook 2007

Windows Vista

Windows 7

Windows 8

Windows 10

C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

Outlook 2010

Windows XP

My Documents\Outlook Files

Outlook 2010

Windows Vista

Windows 7

Windows 8

Windows 10

Documents\ Outlook File\

Outlook 2013

Outlook 2016

Outlook 2019

Windows Vista

Windows 7

Windows 8

Windows 10


After going through the table, you will be aware of the standard Outlook OST file location. This will help you execute the multiple methods discussed below for managing OST files, in particular.

4 Unique Methods to Change Location of Outlook OST Files

As you make yourselves aware of the Outlook OST file location, this part will help you go through the list of methods that can be used to change the location of Outlook OST file.

Method 1: Utilizing the Outlook Email Client

Your Outlook account provides you the option of maintaining and obtaining the OST file. The same account can be used to change the location of a particular file. To cover this method, you need to be aware of the default location of the OST files, which essentially depends on the Windows OS version. Once covered, follow the steps below to change the Outlook OST file location:

Step 1: Access the “Account Settings” dialog box and navigate to the “Data Files” tab. In the next set of options, select the “Exchange Server Account” and proceed to “Settings.”

open the exchange settings

Step 2: A new window of the “Microsoft Exchange” tab appears on the screen. Proceed to the “Advanced” section and uncheck the “Use Cached Exchange Mode” option. Once done, click on “OK” to conclude.

Step 3: As a prompt appears on the screen, click “OK” to execute. Proceed into the “Advanced” tab again. Select the “Outlook Data File Settings” button and find the “Disable Offline Use” option. On finding it, click “Yes.”

tap on ok button

Step 4: Conversely, if you don't find the option of "Disable Offline Use," you need to move to another approach. Choose the "Outlook Data File Settings" button and find the option of "I want to move the odd file." Click on the "Browse" tab and move towards the OST file that was moved across a new location. As you open the OST file, Outlook will create a new OST file for you.

browse location for ost files

Step 5: Proceed into the "Advanced" section of the Microsoft Exchange window and check the option of "Use Cached Exchange Mode," and click "OK" to execute. Close the settings on the successful change in location of the OST file.

Method 2: Creating New Profile and Moving the OST File

For this method, you will be creating a new Outlook profile and set a new location for the OST file. Go through the provided steps to potentially change the Outlook OST file location successfully:

Step 1: You need to initially find your old OST file and paste it across a new location on your computer. Open “Control Panel” and proceed to “Mail.”

access mail settings

Step 2: After opening the Mail Setup dialog box, click on the “Show Profiles…” button. Find the “Add” option across the dialog box and continue with the process.

tap on add button

Step 3: Add a new profile name, click “OK” to open the window for entering the credentials of your new email account. Add the details for the new profile and click “Next.”

complete details of account

Step 4: As the account configuration concludes, you need to checkbox the option of "Change account settings" and click "Next." You would proceed to a new window of "Server Settings." Click on the “More Settings” button located across the interface.

check change account settings option

Step 5: Lead to the "Advanced" tab section and click on the "Outlook Data File Settings" button. Browse the location that you have moved your OST file to in the first place and import it across the platform successfully. Click "Finish" to conclude the process of shifting your OST file onto the new location.

open outlook data file settings

Step 6: Re-open the "Mail" again across the Control Panel. Select the newly made profile and checkbox the "Always use this profile" option, and apply the changes.

choose new created profile

Method 3: Applying Symbolic Links For Repointing Location

This method is essentially quite simple in changing the location of Outlook OST file. For this, the MKLINK command will be used to set up a symbolic link. However, to create one, you need to look across the steps described below:

Step 1: Initially, you need to change the OST file location from the existing one to a new location on your computer.

Step 2: With the administrator credentials, you need to open the Command Prompt across your computer.

launch cmd as admin

Step 3: Use the structure [mklink "C:\old path" "D:\new path"]. On clicking the Enter key after writing down the command, a symbolic link is created. A shortcut will be created at the default location of the folder. On deleting this shortcut, the link is broken, and the OST file you've transferred returns to its original place.

type the command and press enter

Method 4: The Implementation of the ForcePSTPath Registry Entry

Outlook data files can be re-located with the help of a Windows Registry Key. This key, often called the ForcePSTPath Registry, changes the location of the OST file for the Outlook versions of 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, and 2003. Follow the steps as described below to figure out the process in detail:

Step 1: Open the "Run" window by holding the “Windows and R” buttons together. Type "Regedit" and tap "Enter" to open a Registry Editor window.

open registry editor

Step 2: You will need to enter the key according to the version of the Outlook you have. The potential list of keys for different versions is provided as follows:

Outlook 2016/2019: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook

Outlook 2013: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook

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

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

Step 3: Find an empty area in the Registry Editor window to right-click to open the menu. Select "New" followed by the option of "Expandable String Value" to create a new Value. You need to add ForceOSTPath to the value and set the new location for the file in the "Value Data:" box. Click "OK" to execute.

select expandable string value option

Step 4: Close the Registry Editor and restart your Microsoft Outlook. On creating a new Exchange account, a new OST file will be created on the newly changed default location.

Bonus Part: How to Export PST and OLM Files on Outlook?

Outlook keeps a set of other folder files apart from OST files. These files, known as PST or Personal Storage Table is an online data file that keeps a record of the messages and activities performed across the Outlook mail.

While you figure out the methods to change Outlook OST file location, this part will take you into the method of exporting OST as a PST or OLM file. OLM files exist across the Outlook for Mac, which has a similar implementation as a PST file.

Export OST as a PST File

Step 1: Log in to the Outlook account that contains the potential data for exporting. Proceed to the "Files" section and click on the "Open & Export" option. On opening a new list on your front, select the "Import & Export" option and proceed.

access import export option

Step 2: As you access the next window, click on "Export to a file" and proceed by tapping "Next."

choose export to a file option

Step 3: You need to select the file type on the next screen. Select “Outlook Data File (.pst)” and proceed.

select pst file option

Step 4: Select all appropriate folders to be exported across the file. Once selected, click "Next" and set up the location for saving the PST file. If you wish to manage the duplicate file, check the box option and click "Finish" to conclude.

choose the folders to export

Export OST as an OLM File

Step 1: Open Outlook for Mac on your device and proceed to the "Files" tab on the top menu. Select the "Export" option from the drop-down menu.

select the export option

Step 2: On the next window, you need to select all the items you wish to export across the OLM file. Select and click "Continue."

choose folders to export

Step 3: Set up a location for the OLM file across the Mac and click “Save” to execute the process.

save the olm file

Closing Words

There are many ways to change Office 2013 Outlook .OST location along with the other versions. While you figure out where is the Outlook Data file .OST, you can also significantly manage their location, as provided in the article. Go through the guide to know more about these methods and their execution. You will surely learn much about these processes.