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


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


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


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.


The account setup should be fully automated.


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 Profile - Properties - Data files - Settings - Outlook Data File Settings


You can also get the information from the Account settings screen.  Profile - Properties - Email Accounts- E-Mail Tab- Click the account and the location of the data file will be listed.


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:

    Salient OST to PST converter software is a superb method to recover damage exchange OST file data and then convert recovered exchange OST file into PST, EML, MSG and HTML format. It perfect solution to open exchange OST file into new PST format. Get more info from here…..

  2. Anonymous says:

    With the help of this application you can perform this task easily. Use Free Version.


  3. opt_surface says:

    Refer to to locate ost file default location and change of it.

  4. henrypotter04 says:

    Marvelous OST convert to PST software that repair corrupted/ unreachable OST file and proficiently open OST file into MS Outlook (.PST) formats along with every emails Meta data to, cc, bcc, subject, date and time etc to PST.

    Read more:

  5. Take a look to another article to Know about InFixi OST to PST Software that works on all windows OS Win2000, Win7 x32, and Win7 x 64, Win98, Win Server, Win Vista, Win facet x64, and Win XP.

  6. babasso says:

    Kernel for OST to PST Tool is also powerful tool for recover or convert OST files in PST files. Read more :

  7. Emiley Gilchrist says:

    You should use OST to PST Converter tool because this tool bluffly exchange OST file into PST file.

    For more info visit this site –

  8. HarrisMartin says:

    You can try third part OST to PST tool to convert OST file format to PST file, you can move your al MS Outlook data file to PST file format. To know more you can check here all related query about MS Outlook file and folder visit here: For converting OST to PST:

  9. You can use this skilled OST to PST Converter Software to Convert your whole emails data and it content folders in PST File without any error. You can downland the software from here:-

  10. Hay Guys! You must read the given article given blow by which you will know that how you can convert your corrupt OST to PST with all data.

  11. Get the Import OST to PST software that gives permission to repair and import all OST File data to PST along with all emails and it data.

  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


  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


  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:

    If you are facing the problem with your OST file and need to convert your OST file into PST format, so here is a solution from this software you can directly recover corrupt OST file and migrate OST to PST data in exact format. Take this program for recovering OST file and converting OST into PST data with whole OST folders. It supports on whole Outlook OST versions: 5.0 to 2013.

  17. OST to Outlook Converter says:

    A big tip for those who are facing difficulty to convert OST to PST (Outlook 2013 or older, they can use our OST conversion tool that have more power and more effective features. Visit –

  18. joe.badalamenti24 says:

    You may work with outlook conversion by using ost to pst converter

    OST to PST Converter Toolbox must aid you

    Visit next writing

  19. alberyherry says:

    If you want to recover OST file into PST in correct manner then try advance technology based OST recovery software. I recommend you this tool on the behalf of my personal experience; through this utility you can safely restore all OST database into PST, EML, MSG and HTML format

    Download it from here-

  20. Selinajodi says:

    SysTools for OST to PST Converter is one of the best email recovery solution to easily restore OST file and restore emails from them. Software download from:

  21. Guide - OST to PST says:

    Guide – For converting OST to PST mailbox items use our OST to PST converter software that not only convert OST to Outlook files but also recover OST file while OST has corrupted.

    Get Guide for –

  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:

  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:

    OST to PST converter program nicely recover Outlook OST file data and convert OST to PST instantly. Quick OST file recovery software is the best tool to recover OST file to PST file. You can smartly repair OST file data and open OST to PST Outlook format within seconds. Without any harm you can swiftly export OST file to PST file.

  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:

    You are welcome.
    Best Regards,

  26. kittywonger07 says:
    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>>


    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.


  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:

    In past most of the data recovery companies have sold OST to PST software and unistal have also one of those but in comparison to other companies unistal increases his quality day by day. So i will suggest you to go for Unistal’s OST to PST. It helps to
    get back all your inaccessible OST files into PST files format. For more details go for

  30. Jerry Brown says:

    One of the best program that worked in my case to convert Outlook 2010 OST to PST file:

    A free trial version is also available !


  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.

    For More Info:-

  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
    tool user can easily extract emails from OST file and Transfer OST to PST, EML, MSG and HTML formats


  33. Adrina says:

    Enstella OST to PST extractor tool is smart extractor software which perfectly extract emails from OST file with all emails metadata-to, bcc, cc, date, time and subject etc as well as Export OST to PST, EML, MSG and HTML formats.


  34. Shack Catty says:

    Download OST PST conversion software from here: which helps you to recover corrupt Outlook OST file and convert OST data into PST format successfully. With the help of this awesome software you can nicely removes all bugs from Outlook OST file and export OST data into PST, EML,
    MSG and HTML format instantly.

    Read More Details Here,

  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.

  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 :

  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 :

  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:-

  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 :


  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.


  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
    like: OST to PST, OST to EML, OST to MSG and OST to HTML.

  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:-

  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:-

  47. Júlio Nobre says:

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

  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 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:

    Hello Gentlemen, we are providing an advance OST to PST converter tool, its possible to find and convert your OST file data without exchange environment in Outlook format. You can view all data in PST file format without any alteration of original content.
    You can try to use a super Gael OST to PST converter with user atomic performance technology to Convert OST to PST file with few easy steps; Only such a thing can be found there: – See more at:

  55. Simon Cortez says:

    You can easily convert OST file data into PST format using Kernel for OST to PST tool, this tool can fix all corrupt data from MS Outlook mailbox items and allows you to save the recover data in PST, EML, DBX, MSG, HTML, MHTML, PDF file format. To know
    more about this tool visit here:-

    Download free demo version from here:-

  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 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 : msn so make it as msn outlook001 and your old OST file name will be msn outlook after doing
    open the outlook now your outlook will use your old OST..


  57. Mike A says:

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

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