How To Change Default Data File (.OST) Location in Office 2013


To set the default location of an outlook data file you have to make a registry change.  Once you make the change, anytime you create a new data file, Outlook will put the data file in that new location. 

These instructions will work in prior versions of office as well but the path to the office key will be slightly different.

Change Default Data File Location in Outlook

1) StartRegedit – Double-Click Regedit – Accept the Elevation Prompt – Drill Down / Navigate To: Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook

image

2) Right-Click Outlook Select New then String Value

3) Type “ForceOSTPath” without the quotes for the variable name and press Enter then Double-Click ForceOSTPath to Edit the string

4) Type the location you want your data files to use.  In my case it was D:\_Profile\Mail

5) Click OK {You can close Registry Editor now}   You will need to close Outlook in order for Outlook to use this new setting.  Now when you create a new OST data file Outlook will put it in the new location. Close Outlook and move any .PST files to the new location if you like.  

Move your OST to the new location…

Unfortunately to use the new location for your existing accounts, you will need to create a new profile.  When a profile is created, it saves the default location :(  To utilize the new location for the OST’s you need to let outlook recreate them.

6) StartControl Panel – View By small Icons/Mail  (on Windows 8 you can also get there by just clicking Start – Type Mail – Click Settings – Click Mail)

image

This screenshot is Windows 8 but Windows 7 will be very similar  Now we will create a new profile and let the OST be rebuilt.

7) Click Add, Type in the Name you would like to give the profile (in my case I used “Dan Stolts”) then click OK

image

This will start the Auto account Setup wizard

8) Setup your first email account (Exchange or ActiveSync) by filling out your name, email address and password.

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The account setup should be fully automated.

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Notice if you like you can change the account settings or add another account from the wizard.  just click Finish to complete this account setup.

9) We need to set the new profile to be the default.   Do this by clicking the dropdown for “Always use this profile” and select the one we just created.

10) Cleanup – you can now delete the old profile if you like.  Deleting the profile will not remove the data files.  You will have to go back and do that manually.  By default the old data files were at %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook (in my case that was: C:\Users\dstolts\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook)

If you want to see the change you can drill down to the outlook data file settings from the mail control panel app ProfilePropertiesData filesSettingsOutlook Data File Settings

image

You can also get the information from the Account settings screen.  ProfilePropertiesEmail AccountsE-Mail Tab- Click the account and the location of the data file will be listed.

image

You can now go ahead and create additional accounts if needed.

If you want to copy the old OST file you can copy it to the new location as long as it is not in use.  If it is in use, try closing any apps that might have it open.  If that fails try restarting your computer and not running outlook until after you create the new profile.  I have not personally tried this so let me know if you have success. This may save you some time downloading a large mailbox.

Tip: If you find the OST is still put in the %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook folder it is likely because there is already an .OST file of the same name in the destination folder. Try moving it somewhere else.  You can try copying it back once the account is successfully setup.

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Comments (58)

  1. Anonymous says:

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  2. Anonymous says:

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    Thanks

  3. opt_surface says:

    Refer to http://www.ostfile.com/ost-file-location.html to locate ost file default location and change of it.

  4. henrypotter04 says:

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  5. johnywalkerjw830 says:

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  6. babasso says:

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  7. Emiley Gilchrist says:

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  8. HarrisMartin says:

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  10. johnywalkerjw830 says:

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  11. Anonymous says:

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  12. Anonymous says:

    thank you for such detailed helpful doc, i was able to free my c drive with some gigabytes after moving the ost successfully to other drive.

    thank you again sharing the doc

    Sherif

  13. Bob Hyatt says:

    Hey guys, you are very bad. Not even able to copy other people articles.

    Your part 1 is not working, because the string name is wrong.

    Of course you didn't try to verify what you wrote

    Blah

  14. Some says:

    Tip: If you find the OST is still put in the %USERPROFILE%Local SettingsApplication DataMicrosoftOutlook folder it is likely because there is already an .OST file of the same name in the destination folder. Try moving it somewhere else.  You can try copying it back once the account is successfully setup.

    Which `destination folder`?

  15. Jayachander M says:

    I am not able to use my old OST file even after trying ForceOSTPath.  Only the Path is getting changed but not able to use the OST file.  

  16. OST File to PST File Converter says:

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  17. OST to Outlook Converter says:

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  18. joe.badalamenti24 says:

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  19. alberyherry says:

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  20. Selinajodi says:

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  21. Guide - OST to PST says:

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  22. madison says:

    Hi Outlook client you want to restore OST files then use OST to PST converter software to easily change default OST data file location. Get more info visit: http://www.osttooutlook.repairost.net/

  23. ToHelpOthers says:

    I am using Outlook 2013. This article is good but is missing some detail creating a ForceOSTPath registry key did not work for me, instead I created a ForcePSTPath variable and wala it worked. For any one else out there who might find this useful.

  24. Zabia Marcus says:

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  25. Jack says:

    Gentlemen, scholars.. please please enough with these inefficient PSTOST converters. You must you a super hybrid PSTOST converter with uber atomic performance technology; Only such a thing can be found there: http://www.dban.org/download

    You are welcome.
    Best Regards,
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  26. kittywonger07 says:

    http://www.ost.openfiletool.com/
    Microsoft Outlook doesn’t support opening or importing items from an offline Outlook Data File (.ost files). But you can use a special third-part tools like a OST Open File Tool. OST Open File Tool read health and corrupted .ost files all versions and export it content into new .pst file of Microsoft Outlook. You can open .pst files in Outlook later.

  27. vijay says:

    There is a slight change in Office 2013 with OST redirection in the registry key. Try below, it should definitely work for you.

    Open registry and go to below path>>

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice15.0OutlookOST]

    Create new string value >> ForceOSTPath
    Double click on it and put desired path under "Value Data"

    Create outlook profile and check the location you have given under "Value Data"

    This worked fine for me.

    Vijay

  28. Andy says:

    Yeah, this article was written very poorly and incorrect. The above comment is what we need to do in our registry and it’ll work fine…forget "ForceOSTPath" cause it just don’t work anymore in MS Outlook…pst files are now created, not longer ‘ost’ files…

  29. Convert OST to PST says:

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  30. Jerry Brown says:

    One of the best program that worked in my case to convert Outlook 2010 OST to PST file:
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    A free trial version is also available !

    Jerry

  31. Convert OST to PST very easily by InFixi OST to PST converter tool by which smoothly Convert OST to PST with all email data like Email metadata – To, Cc, Bcc, Time, Subject and Date etc.

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  32. Are you unable to access your OST file? Then use Enstella OST to PST recovery software through which user can quickly recover Exchange OST file into PST file and re-access OST file into PST file with fully safety. With the help of Enstella OST to PST extractor
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  33. Adrina says:

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  34. Shack Catty says:

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  35. Keith M says:

    I found a way to move existing OST files without rebuilding profiles. I just moved over 600 OSTs for my users without a single profile needing to be rebuilt.

    1. Move the OST to the new location
    2. Break the path to the old location. I used a symbolic link command that pointed to a bogus OST destination. You could delete the directory that the old OST used to live in, but that might cause other issues
    3. Start Outlook. It will complain that it didn’t see the OST and will prompt you to browse to it. At that point, you can repoint Outlook to the OST file that is in the new location.

    If you are a network admin, trying to move OSTs to a new location, here is what I did:
    – Created a list of all OST files that needed to be moved. Converted that list into a .bat file that did two things:
    o Move the ost from its current location, to its new location
    o Create a symbolic link in the old location that points to a non-existing location
    Here is an example of what my .bat file looked like:
    move u:AmandaCAmandaC.ost o:AmandaC
    mklink "u:AmandaCAmandaC.ost" “put_bogus_path_hereAmandaC.ost"
    – Created a GPO that sets Outlook to use Offline Cache and sets the destination folder (apply to all users ahead of time. It won’t do anything on pre-existing Outlook profiles)
    – Created a GPO that runs a script on login. I used WinBatch to create the script, which does the following:
    o Check to see if the file “ost.txt” exists in the user’s home directory. If so, exit (the script already ran for this user)
    o If ost.txt doesn’t exist, open outlook. Wait for the Data File location error to appear and click the browse button. The default browse location will be what you set in the GPO above.

    o Select the OST in the browse list. OK, OK,…
    o Copy ost.txt to the user’s home directory so the script won’t run again for them
    o Outlook will open using the OST file in the new location, using the same profile, with any PSTs that were attached, etc… Nothing is lost!

  36. ost pst says:

    Simply grab this tool to recover data from OST file and convert OST to PST, EML, MSG and HTML formats.

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  37. AshtonHamel says:

    You can try this proficient OST to PST Software which provides an easy way for converting OST files to Outlook PST files format. To know more about visit :
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  38. contains11 says:

    Use Effectively OST to PST conversion tool and convert .OST files to .PST files format.
    This software recovers email attachments as well as email properties (to, from, cc, bcc, and date) . Read more and free download click here :
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  39. johny walkerjw says:

    You can download the third party tool called OST to PST Utility that has safe side to convert corrupt OST File in PST.

    Download the Software from here:- http://www.osttopstutility.org/

  40. Ashish Kr Srivastava says:

    Really amazing article – When you are creating new Outlook data file then required to change location of OST. It will help us out. In such process some sycr issues or manual mistakes, you ost data damage/deleted/lost or any other issues face related OST
    file, you must read this blog and follow all given instruction :
    http://ostconversion.blogspot.com/

    Thanks.

  41. Leo Jacob says:

    If you are really want to convert data from corrupt OST file to PST so just take Enstella OST to PST converter software. This software perfctely convert OST file to PST and also allow users to save them into EML, MSG and HTML formats.

    READ MORE_

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  42. downzimical says:

    Yes, I smoothly convert corrupted or damaged Outlook OST file into PST file data with the help of OST converter software. This software is the very simple and safe way to recover OST file errors and transfer OST data into new four multiple formats such
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    http://geekswithblogs.net/osttopstfilerecovery/archive/2015/04/10/163181.aspx

    http://www.ostrecoverytool.com/

  43. Simon Cortez says:

    Many third party tool are available on the web for fix all issue from OST file, I would like to share with you one of the best and advanced Kernel for OST to PST tool for restore OST file data into PST file format smoothly. To know more about this tool
    go with this link:- http://www.exchange.ostrecovery.org

  44. Gareme says:

    The easiest way to move an OST file is:
    – close outlook 2013
    – move the OST to where you want it
    – find another unrelated OST
    – put a copy of the unrelated OST where your OST came from and give the name of your OST
    – open Mail in control panel and click on the data file, it will report the OST doesn’t match and prompt you to browse, just find the new location and your done.

  45. Gabrio says:

    this article is excellent, great resource if you have a SSD and not much space on the C drive!

  46. Susan H Sullivan says:

    OST to PST is an ultimate tool and easily converts your infected OST files into readable PST file format. It stores all data in previous or original format such as PST, TXT, HTML, RTF, etc. Using this tool you can also recover your email details like to,
    from , cc, bcc, etc. For getting more details visit:-
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  47. Júlio Nobre says:

    Why not just consider replacing file or folder by a NTFS Symbolic Link. Check it at

    https://superuser.com/questions/391267/redirect-folder-on-one-hdd-to-a-folder-on-another-hdd-windows-7/391270
    Cheers 🙂

  48. Paul Wilson says:

    If you are not able to locate your outlook OST file in system then Convert OST software will let you discover your OST file. Software will also help you to recover from critical data loss situation when you get to know about the OST file is corruption
    issue. Read more from here : http://www.intrigua.com/convert-ost/

  49. Pierre de Grenoble (France) says:

    ForceOSTPath does not work as a valide value name for this. The right on is ForcePSTPath. Once created, any new IMAP account will be set up with an OST file located in the folder specified for ForcePSTPath.

  50. sandeep says:

    Great write up and well explained— thanks

  51. Sumanadaasa LK says:

    Fantastic. It works. Points easily can mislead are, create and make it default and the name of the reg key. I changed ForceOSTPath to ForcePSTPath and everything worked there after. (Win 7, Outlook 2013)

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  53. markmvpss says:

    Have a look here http://www.osttopstfree.com/. It is very advanced and affordable third party software that can help you to access or convert Outlook OST file to PST format without facing any hassle.

  54. Solution For Convert OST into PST says:

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  55. Simon Cortez says:

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  56. Nisar Ali says:

    Hiii Jayachander M

    after doing the above step like after creating Force OST path Key and after configuring the email id in outlook you need to open the outlook just open it for time being it will create another OST file

    (mostly the new OST file name will be your email id and your outlook profile name for Example someone@msn.com msn outlook) once the new OST file is created in the path which you have give in Force OST Path just close the outlook. now you need to change the
    file name of your old file as well as new file rename you new ost file as well old ost file like NEW OST file name : someone@msn.com msn so make it as someone@msn.com msn outlook001 and your old OST file name will be someone@msn.com msn outlook after doing
    this
    open the outlook now your outlook will use your old OST..

    Thanks

  57. Mike A says:

    Hi I found this article interesting, though reading through these spam comments is a challenge