All about .OST files

Offline store (.OST) files are a convenient feature for Microsoft Outlook users and a valuable disaster recovery option for Exchange Server administrators. Augment your .OST know-how with this compilation of tips, tools and expert advice on managing, troubleshooting and securing .OST files.

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RELATED INFORMATION:
»Exchange Server Backup and
  Recovery Learning Guide
»Offline Store Reference Center
Offline store (. OST) files are a convenient feature for Microsoft Outlook users and a valuable disaster recovery option for Exchange Server administrators. Augment your .OST know-how with this compilation of tips, tools and expert advice on managing, troubleshooting and securing .OST files.

TIPS ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Recovering Exchange Server from .OST files
Discover how one admin recovered his Exchange Server data -- despite a failed hard drive and corrupt backup -- using .OST files.

Cleaning up Microsoft Outlook after a dial-tone database restore
Performing a dial-tone database restore can be a convenient way to get users up and running quickly in a disaster, but its use requires post-recovery cleanup to .OST files in Microsoft Outlook.

Beware of .OST problems when rebuilding Exchange Server stores
Sometimes Exchange admins have no other choice but to rebuild Exchange Server stores from scratch. But doing so can create unexpected consequences if Microsoft Outlook clients are using .OST files.

Microsoft Outlook caching considerations
Explore the issues you need to consider when implementing cached mode (.OST files) on your Microsoft Outlook clients.

How to enforce Microsoft Outlook cached mode via group policy
Users can easily disable cached mode (.OST files), since Microsoft Outlook does not require any special permissions to do so. However, you can enforce cached mode at the group policy level.

Microsoft Outlook folder deletion and synchronization problems
Users who run Exchange Server in offline mode can sometimes experience a problem where Microsoft Outlook folders cannot be deleted. Find out why and get the solution.

TOOLS -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Troubleshoot Microsoft Outlook .OAB files with the OABInteg tool
If you have problems generating or synchronizing offline address books when using Microsoft Outlook in cached mode, you can use the free command-line utility, OABInteg, to troubleshoot.
Download OABInteg

NEO Pro: Free Microsoft Outlook message store organizer
NEO Pro is a free tool for Microsoft Outlook that takes the hassle out of message store searches by providing virtual views of email based on customizable search criteria.
Download NEO Pro

EXPERT ADVICE ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Purging a corrupted offline address book
Learn about two options for removing a corrupted offline address book (OAB) that is causing bad recipient lists.

Restricting .OST file size limits
It is possible for Exchange Server administrators to impose storage limits for .OST files. Here are the steps.

Can I restore the .OST file for a deleted mailbox?
SearchExchange.com expert David Sengupta provides a solution for recovering deleted mailbox items.

DISCUSSION THREADS-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
How does cached mode differ from .OST files?
Exchange administrators discuss the pros and cons of cached mode versus offline storage for laptops with Microsoft Outlook 2003.

Converting orphaned .OST files to .PSTs
IT pros recommend utilities like "OST2PST" and "Recovery for Exchange" for recovering Exchange Server offline storage files or converting .OST files to .PST files.

This was first published in September 2006

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