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Repair Corrupt OST Files and Convert to Outlook PST Files

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Sandeep Kumar
Exchange, Windows, Outlook, SQL server Solutions Analyst and Consultant.

As a matter of fact, Outlook OST files are of much importance in relation to Exchange mailbox. OST files are independent as they are simply copy of data of a user’s mailbox on Exchange Server. Though, if the server’s status is changed or it is damaged, the OST files will not be affected. Due to these files any user can work uninterruptedly during the server downtime in offline mode. Later, when the server is online all the data gets synchronized automatically with the mailbox server.


After understanding the importance of an OST file, are you at a situation where OST file got corrupt and searching for an accurate and efficient solution? The best solution is OST to PST converter software that aims to provide solid results and proves to be helpful. Before moving towards detailed solutions, let’s discuss the errors and reasons behind them.


The regular users of Outlook might come across OST file corruption or accidental file deletion issues. This indeed is not a common problem, but if it takes place then it can be worse for the entire business. Due to the inaccessibility of OST files while launching MS Outlook, the user is indicated with several pop-up errors, indicating corruption.


The following errors occur when OST files gets damaged, corrupted or inaccessible:


  • Could not find YYYY.ost (business file) in Outlook storage
  • The YYYY.ost is not available in mailbox
  • Errors detected in YYYY.ost, therefore, to fix and repair the file try using Scanost.exe
  • File is not accessible is also an error
  • The OST folder is displayed
  • MS Outlook encounters a problem and exit suddenly


Before suggesting the fixes for the mentioned errors, let’s take a quick look at the primary reasons that may cause these error:


  • Outlook is suddenly terminated while synchronization with Exchange server
  • Sudden system shutdown during Exchange server synchronization
  • Corrupt file system
  • OST is attacked by virus


Repair techniques for OST file


There are many reasons for an OST file to get corrupted and the major errors may occur due to hardware, software and synchronization failures. Here are some repair techniques that can be applied to OST file.


  1. Replace with a backup copy: One of the best suggested techniques is restoring from a backed up copy. Unfortunately, this technique follows some limitations, say for instance, if the backup is not a recent one then all the data saved after the backup will be missing.
  2. Use inbuilt Inbox repair utility: ScanPST.exe and ScanOST.exe are two inbuilt utilities that are offered by Microsoft to help repair minor issues related to Outlook OST and PST files.
    There are some drawbacks with this technique. Firstly, severe corruption issues are not fixed by ScanOST.exe. Secondly, this utility is limited to Outlook version 2007. Hence, not available for above versions.
  3. Clean offline data and recreate: By removing the offline data of OST file, it will help you in eradicating the cause of corruption (up to a level).
    Therefore, clear the OST with the below mentioned steps:
    a. Find the OST file on your system.
    b. Select “Properties” by right clicking on the folder.
    c. Choose “Clear Offline Items”.
    d. Click “OK”. And, Outlook will be launched.
    e. From the Outlook 2010 ribbon click the Send/Receive tab and click “Update Folder”.
    Later, delete the OST file after completing the above steps and a new OST will be created and data will get downloaded to it within the Exchange mailbox. Overall this method is not a guaranteed one, but is very effective with minor data loss only in conditions where the OST gets corrupted before the merging of Exchange mailbox.
  4. Use OST to PST converter: This is the most reliable technique offered if none of the above techniques work. Data recovery tool is the most intelligent solution for all corruption issues related to OST file. The most efficient recommended tool by experts is Kernel for OST to PST converter – It is a third party tool that helps users in extracting  data from a OST file into PST format.


Final words


The files you backed on the fly always helps when you face any type of data crashes. Although, it is not a hundred percent solution to solve issues of crashes or corruption of OST files. In such cases, if the manual and free methods fails to work, try using  OST to PST Converter software which will effectively convert your corrupt and large size OST file into MS Outlook PST file format.

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Expert Comment

by:Brian B
Why not just delete the OST file and let Outlook create it? It is only a cache file and not required for Outlook to operate. It will be rebuilt the next time Outlook is run.

Your step 2 is not relevant. ScanPST does not work on an OST file and ScanOST is no longer available: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/983036/the-scanost-exe-tool-is-not-available-starting-with-outlook-2010
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