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Customer with VERY large .ost file - Can this be deleted or reduced?

Posted on 2011-02-12
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hello et al,

I am on site working a system with several issues (Bad sectors on the HDD, slow performance with Outlook, to name a few).  One of the issues I notice is that this customer has a 6.2GB .ost file.  Based on my research, this large .ost file could be contributing to the slow Outlook performance and I would to remove, delete or reduce it, but wanted to check with the Pro's first to make sure I am on the right path.

I checked with the customer and he does not use the 'Work Offline' feature and really does not need the "Cached Exchange Mode" in an Exchange Server 2003 environment; he does not have or use a laptop to 'remote' into the Exchange Server - All of his work is done in the office.  One exception, he does use the web base process to read his emails, but that appears to be done via the Exchange Server.

So, my question....
?What is the best way to deal with this?
?Can this .ost file be deleted?
?If not, how can it be reduced (Found a lot of why this should be done, but no actually steps on 'how to do' this)?
?Suggestions for best practices when using or managing the 'Work Offline' feature?

Thank you for what you all do....

Rojosho
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Question by:rojosho
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LVL 8

Accepted Solution

by:
dmeeren earned 250 total points
ID: 34879616
I would chop down his pst to 1 GB maximum and yes Outlook gets slow with this. Ofcourse replace his hdd while he is still alive. OST files can be deleted, but then when the customer connects to the exchange server this HUGE ost file will be build up again and will result in even slower operation.
You can reduce the OST be moving the emails to another location. And this will be probably a PST file, not the best option becease the emails will be only avaible on his laptop (Locally). I am expirimenting with MessageSave, a program that save's the emails in seperate files with tags in the file so you can sort on data author and subject. But that is something you need to consider with the client.
I think you are talking about the emails from outlook. The work offline feature uses the OST file, so that is ok. But if you place the emails outside the OST file, these emails will not be avaible offline. Maybe you can save the emails with MessageSave locally on his system (Offline working) and create a synchronisation file with the netwerk (vpn or whatever) to backup his file's.
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LVL 6

Assisted Solution

by:expone
expone earned 250 total points
ID: 34913292
Here is how you can reduce .OST file size:

(1) You need to either 'delete' client's emails, or you can 'move' unwanted emails into another file, like .PST file on his local disk. That will reduce the client's mailbox size on the Exchange server.

(2) Then you need to either 'delete' or 'rename' your client's .OST file, after which you can start his email client Outlook application. This will rebuild your client's .OST file, but it will be smaller because you have reduced the clien't mailbox size in the first step.

Note: you can also keep a copy of your client's .PST file on the server for backup or archive purposes, as that file should not change (unless yoiur client continues to move new emails into it).

Make sure that his Outlook is using .PST file from the local disk, otherwise it will be very slow if .PST file gets used from the network drive (it should be there only as a backup).
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LVL 7

Author Comment

by:rojosho
ID: 35090032
Hello Fellow TroubleShooters,

I must apologize for being MIA for so long  :(  Wow, time flies when you are chin deep with allegators.

First, thank you to both Dmeeren and Expone for their input - very good information and I am scheduled to go on site to follow up with this problem.

Some addtional information which may help us make the final decision.

 - The customer does not use normally use the 'Offline' feature of Outlook.
I suspsect that these .OST files were created by accident when the cusomter was scrambling around trying to recover from an Exchange Server or Outlook outage.  

All of my investigation (The the comments from Dmeeren and Expone) seem to point to the fact that these .OST files can be deleted.  If the a user accidently goes into 'Offline Mode', all that will happen is a performace drop as a new .OST file is created - Does that about sum things up?

If I can get this confirmed, then I will go out and delete these files and move on.

Again, THANK YOU for your inputs and information,

Rojosho
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LVL 7

Author Closing Comment

by:rojosho
ID: 35136773
Excellent job gentlemen.

Rojosho
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