Tuesday, 9 February 2016

What Is an Offline Storage Table (OST) File?

An OST file, or offline storage table (.ost) file, is an offline Outlook Data File used by Microsoft Exchange Server that enables users to work with their messages and mail data even when access to the mail server isn't available. OST files are used in two scenarios: with Microsoft Exchange Server’s Cached Exchange Mode and with the Outlook Connector for Windows Live Hotmail when accessing Hotmail mail.

There are two types of Outlook Data Files used by Outlook. A Personal Storage Table (.pst) is used for most accounts. If you are using a Microsoft Exchange account, your items are usually delivered to and saved on the mail server. To allow you to work with your messages even when you can’t connect to the mail server, a second type of data file that is named an offline Outlook Data File (.ost) is kept on your computer.

The primary differences between the two types of Outlook data files are as follows:

Personal Storage Table (.pst) files are used for POP3, IMAP, and web-based mail accounts. When you want to create archives or back up your Outlook folders and items on your computer, such as Exchange accounts, you must create and use additional .pst files.

Offline Storage Table (.ost) files are used when you have an Exchange account and want to work offline or use or use the default Cached Exchange Mode. This type of data file is also used for accounts that you set up with the Outlook Connector for Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail). Outlook Data Files (.ost) are always copies of items that are saved on a mail server and don’t have to be backed up like Outlook Data Files (.pst).

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