Are you tired of searching online for “how to convert OST to PST in Outlook 2016” but did not get the right solution? There is no need to worry as you have come to the right place. In this article, we will learn how to convert OST to PST using a couple of easy manual solutions. After reading this article, you will be able to convert OST to PST manually. We will also discuss a professional automated solution to import OST file into Outlook.
We all know that Microsoft Outlook is one of the most popular email client applications in the world. It has become the primary source of internal and external communication in offices. Many organizations use Microsoft Outlook with Exchange Server to centrally store, manage, and distribute company emails. Microsoft Exchange Server also enables staff to store and share contact details, schedules, tasks, and other information.
What is OST File?
If you are using Microsoft Outlook with Exchange Server, you must be familiar with Cached Exchange Mode. By enabling this mode, Microsoft Outlook stores all your Exchange mailbox data on your local computer in an offline storage table, commonly known as the OST file. This file is just like a PST file, another Outlook data file. Why people create an OST file is because it lets them work in offline mode. If you have an OST file, you can have access to your Outlook data even if you are offline, i.e. not connected to the Internet. And when the connection is restored, the changes you have made get automatically synchronized to the mail server.
If an Exchange Server crashes down or any disaster takes place due to any reason, the OST file remains unaffected because it resides on the local computer. Even if the Exchange mailbox gets deleted, your mailbox data is still available in the OST file. In such situations, Exchange admins and end-users can restore their lost mailbox data from the OST file.
Why OST to PST?
Before explaining how to convert OST to PST in Outlook 2016, I would like you to get familiar with the most common situations where you need to import OST file to Outlook.
- Microsoft Exchange Server is prone to several issues, and the Exchange Server crash is one of them. There are various reasons for Exchange Server crash down, such as virus attack, power failure, software malfunction, etc. Whenever an Exchange Server crashes down, you will not be able to connect with Exchange Server to access your mailbox data. Although you have the offline folder file (OST), you cannot synchronize the changes as Exchange Server is not available. In such a situation, you can convert OST to PST format to keep using your Exchange mailbox data without requiring Exchange Server.
- Microsoft Exchange Server needs regular maintenance. During the maintenance or downtime, you cannot use Exchange Server to access your mailbox. You cannot even synchronize the OST file with Exchange Server. In such a situation, if you urgently need to access your Exchange mailboxes, you can convert OST to PST format to access your data.
- If any user mailbox has been accidentally deleted from the Exchange Server, the mailbox data can be recovered by converting OST to PST format.
- Sometimes you may need to migrate the Exchange data to other platforms like Office 365 or Live Exchange. In such a situation, you can convert OST to PST format as the PST file can be migrated to other email platforms.
- There is always a high chance of corruption in OST files due to any reason. So it is better to keep its backup in a PST file. By converting OST to PST format, you can copy all your mailbox data from OST to PST.
How to Convert OST to PST Manually?
The above reasons clearly define why it becomes necessary to convert OST to PST. Now let us move onto the manual solutions to convert OST to PST. You can also use a professional OST to PST Converter tool here. But I would recommend you to try the manual solutions first before using any paid solution. The reason being is that manual solutions are free, i.e. they do not require any 3rd party software. All you need to use is Microsoft Outlook. It has a couple of built-in features that you can use here, such as Import/Export and Archive. By using these features, you can copy the mailbox data from OST to PST. But before using any of these features, make sure:
- You are using the same computer on which the OST file was originally created.
- Copying mailbox data from OST to PST using the manual solutions, the Exchange Server connection is mainly required.
- The OST file from which you want to copy the mailbox data to PST file should always be in a valid state, i.e. not corrupted.
Now let us start copying the mailbox data from OST to PST using the Import/Export feature of Microsoft Outlook.
Method #1 – Use Import/Export Feature
Using the Import/Export feature, you can export all your mailbox data from OST to PST file. To do that, first, log in to Microsoft Outlook with your Exchange Server account for which the OST file was created on your local computer. Then follow the steps shown below:
Step 1: On Microsoft Outlook, click the File tab. Click Open & Export > Import/Export.
Step 2: The Import and Export Wizard will appear. Select Export to a file and click Next to continue the process.
Step 3: On the Export to a File window, select Outlook Data File (.pst) and click Next to continue the process.
Step 4: On the Export Outlook Data File window, select the OST file from which you want to export the mailbox data to a PST file. You can either select the entire OST file or select a single mailbox folder. There is also an option to include subfolders. Click Next to continue the process.
Step 5: Now click Browse to define a location where you want to save the new PST file. There are three options to manage duplicate items, you can choose any:
- Replace duplicates with items exported.
- Allow duplicate items to be created.
- Do not export duplicate items.
Finally, click Finish to start the export process.
Within a few minutes, the export process will be completed and the mailbox data will be successfully exported to the new PST file.
Method #2 – Use Archive Feature
Another Outlook feature that you can use here is the Archive. Using this feature, you can save the Outlook emails from OST to PST. The archive feature also helps you keep the size of the mailbox handy by saving all the data in the archive folder. To do that, first, log in to Microsoft Outlook with your Exchange Server account for which the OST file was created on your local computer. Then follow the steps shown below:
Step 1: On Microsoft Outlook, click the File tab > Options.
Step 2: On the Outlook Options window, click Advanced in the left pane and then click AutoArchive Settings under the AutoArchive section.
Step 3: The AutoArchive dialog box will appear. Here select the number of days in which you want to run AutoArchive. Also, define a location where you want to save the archived file. Finally, click OK to start the archiving process.
Within a few minutes, the archiving process will be completed and the mailbox data will be successfully saved from OST to PST.
These two manual solutions can help you copy the mailbox data from OST to PST. But if you cannot use the manual solutions due to the limitations stated above, you should consider using a professional automated solution. Unlike manual solutions, a professional OST to PST Converter tool has no such limitation. Even it takes very less time to convert OST to PST, unlike the manual solutions.
Professional Solution – OST to PST Converter Tool
There are many software vendors in the market that provide OST to PST Converter tool. And most of them offer a free demo version. I would recommend you to use the OST to PST Converter tool provided by SysInfoTools Software. It makes OST to PST conversion quick and effortless. Even a non-technical user can use this software with ease.
Key features of this OST to PST Converter tool:
- Complete conversion of your OST file items which include emails, contacts, journals, tasks, appointments, and much more.
- It supports batch conversion, i.e. you can select multiple OST files and convert them in one go.
- If your OST files are corrupted, even then you can use this software to convert them into PST format.
- Other than PST format, you can convert OST file into MSG, DBX, EML, MBOX, and Archive formats.
- It supports all encryption types within OST files and maintains the data accuracy during OST to PST conversion.
- You can exclude particular emails by using the Date filter option.
- The interactive GUI of this software requires no prior technical expertise.
- This software is highly compatible with all Windows-based operating systems including the latest Win 10.
Before you can purchase the software, you must download the free demo version. The free demo version of this software allows you to convert the first 25 email items of each mailbox folder into a new PST file. To overcome this limitation, you need to purchase the licensed version of this software.
How to Convert OST to PST in Outlook 2016?
Step 1: On the home screen of OST to PST Converter tool, click the Open icon in the top-left corner. On the Select Corrupted OST file dialog box, do the following –
- Click the Browse button and select the OST file you want to convert into PST format.
- Select the scanning mode. If the OST file is normal, i.e. not corrupted, select Standard Mode. If the OST file is corrupted, select either Advanced Mode or Deep Mode.
- You can also check the box “Handle Alignment errors in OST files”.
Once you are done, click OK to continue the process.
Step 2: Within a couple of minutes, the scanning process will be completed. Click OK and expand the OST file in the tree-structure shown in the left pane.
Step 3: You can check the preview of your mailbox data by double-clicking the individual items. Now select the mailbox folders or the entire OST file and click the Save icon on the taskbar.
Step 4: On the Select Output Type dialog box, do the following –
- Click the Browse button and select a location where you want to save the output file.
- Select the output file type. Since you want to convert OST to PST, choose Save as PST.
- You can also allow the software to attach the new PST file to your Outlook profile.
- Select a date range for saving the mailbox data from OST to PST.
Once you are done, click OK to start the conversion process.
Step 5: The OST to PST conversion is being conducted on your computer. It may take some time so do not cancel the process.
Step 6: Once the process is successfully completed, click OK and close the software application.
You can now check the PST file you have just created using this software.
In this article, we have discussed the common situations in which OST to PST conversion becomes a necessary task. Also, we have learned how to convert OST to PST in Outlook 2016 using two manual solutions. And if you are looking for an automated solution, you can consider using the professional OST to PST Converter tool recommended in this article.