OST file

As we all know that Microsoft Outlook is a widely used email client among the Windows users. The Microsoft Outlook uses a typical form of databases called storage tables to store its data. There are two types of storage tables available PST and OST. The PST stands for Personnel Storage Table and OST indicates Offline Storage Table.

Working of OST file:

Here we are about to deal about Offline Storage Table (OST). The main purpose of the Offline Storage Table is to serve email related stuffs for user even they are in offline mode. It fetches the needed data like inbox mails, calendar, contacts and other attributes when the system is online and then stores them in the local Microsoft Exchange server which is the user PC itself. It is designed in a way that it can be manually configured by the user and not as default settings. All the data is fetched from the web server and stored in .OST file. This OST file act as a cached exchange mode for the outlook to provide data in the absence of internet.

The offline data provided by the OST to outlook are the duplicates of the mail contents found in your mail in online mode. The only variance the OST file uses only the most needed content by the user for example you can’t find an advertisement in Microsoft Outlook. At the same time if you make any changes in your email profile, the settings be saved in local first. Later when the system is online all the settings will be transported.

How OST differs from PST?

Though they work in a same concern, their jobs are different. To be more specific the PST files make use of IMAP and POP3 protocols. Incase if the PST file is corrupted the user can easily eject the file and attach its backup copy to the Microsoft Outlook program.

But the OST files works only when the user has a Microsoft Exchange account or the user uses Cached Exchange mode. This is why the OST settings are not configured in default. The OST doesn’t need any backups because the data is fetched from the exchange server and that data in the server can be recreated at any time when the system is online.

Advantages of OST file:

  • The main advantage of OST files lies in the offline data storage
  • No need for unnecessary OST file backups
  • Incase if the OST file gets corrupt then user can just perform OST to PST conversion and recover all the attributes inside it

Disadvantages of OST file:

  • By default the OST files are not configured at the time of Microsoft Outlook installation
  • Since the PST file by itself look after both the online and offline mode data the OST becomes useless
  • Since there is no OST backup used, if the user is caught in an OST corruption, the system is offline. Now the user has to wait until the system goes online

Some useful tips:

Suppose if you are using an Offline Storage Table and it’s corrupted. Here make use of the inbox repair tool. This tool can covert the OST file into PST and extract the attributes available in the OST file. But be careful while using inbox repair tool because it is not a read only tool and during the conversion process, it will make changes in the source file itself. It sometimes may take the user to a irrecoverable situation.

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