Detailed Procedure to Import Old OST File into Outlook

Microsoft Outlook is a popular email client widely used in personal and professional settings. It offers a range of powerful features and tools to manage your email, contacts, calendars, and tasks. In addition, it supports different file formats to ensure seamless communication and data sharing. One of Outlook’s most common file formats is OST, which stands for Offline Storage Table.

OST files are data files used by Outlook to store a copy of your mailbox data on your local computer. It allows you to access your emails, contacts, and other mailbox items, even offline. However, if you want to transfer Outlook data to new computer, you may need to import your OST files into Outlook.

Importing OST files into Outlook can be daunting, especially if you need to familiarize yourself with the process. It’s important to follow the correct steps to ensure that your data is imported correctly and that no data is lost during the process. In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps to import OST files into Outlook and offer some tips and best practices to help make the process as smooth as possible. Whether you’re an experienced Outlook user or a beginner, this guide will provide the information you need to import your OST files into Outlook successfully.

Primary Reasons to Import Old OST File into Outlook

In various scenarios, importing an OST file into Microsoft Outlook becomes necessary. This process involves transferring a copy of mailbox data stored in an OST file onto the Outlook client to enable offline access to emails, contacts, and other mailbox items. Some of the common scenarios that require importing an OST file into Outlook include the following:

  • Access mailbox data offline: One of the primary reasons to import OST files into Outlook is to access mailbox data offline. OST files contain a copy of your mailbox data stored on your local computer, allowing you to access your emails, contacts, and other mailbox items even when you’re not connected to the internet. This can be particularly useful if travelling or in an area with limited internet connectivity.
  • Migrate to a new computer: When switching to a new computer, importing OST files into Outlook can save you time and effort. Instead of manually transferring your mailbox data, you can import your OST files into Outlook and continue working seamlessly on your new computer.
  • Recover deleted mailbox items: If you accidentally delete an important email or contact, you can recover it from your OST file. By importing your OST files into Outlook, you can search for and recover deleted mailbox items that are no longer available.
  • Backup mailbox data: Importing OST files into Outlook is also a great way to backup your mailbox data. By creating a backup of your OST files, you can ensure that your mailbox data is safe and secure in case of any unexpected data loss or system failures.

These are some most common reasons to import OST into Outlook. However, it is important to know the location of your OST files before importing them into Outlook. Therefore, to determine the storage location of your OST files in Outlook, kindly follow these steps:

  • Open Outlook, then choose the File tab.
  • Select Account Settings from the drop-down menu, then click on Account Settings.
  • Proceed to Data files and choose the account associated with your OST file, then select Open file location.
  • A new window will appear, displaying the default location of your OST file. 

Manual Ways to Import Old OST File into Outlook

Before moving to the importing part, you must know that you can import Exchange OST files using manual methods, but you can’t do the same with Orphaned OST files. Now, let’s talk about the manual ways you can import OST files.

  • Launch Outlook and click on the File tab, then select Options from the left-hand pane.
  • Choose the Advanced option and click on Auto Archive Settings.
  • Configure the auto-archive settings according to your needs, including the day count for running auto-archive and the count for clearing old emails.
  • Click OK, and Outlook will automatically archive your OST emails.
  • To ensure the Archive utility works appropriately, navigate to your designated location for saving the PST files.

Using this manual technique to Load OST file into Outlook is possible, but it is important to ensure that the OST file is connected to an Exchange Server beforehand. While this method is relatively straightforward, it does have some limitations that make it a less popular choice among users.

Drawbacks of the Manual Method to Import OST into Outlook

Here are some limitations to consider when using manual methods to import OST files into Outlook:

  • The Archive method does not allow for the complete export of OST files.
  • Importing multiple OST files into Outlook PST using these methods is impossible, and there is a risk of data loss during the process.
  • The manual import process can be slow and time-consuming, especially for users with large OST files.
  • Orphaned OST files cannot be imported into Outlook using these methods.

Advanced Solution to Import Old OST File into Outlook

Due to the many limitations and inability to repair corrupt OST files, there may be more reliable solutions for importing OST files than manual methods. Instead, we recommend using a trusted OST to PST converter tool. This tool is a reliable, secure, and efficient way to convert inaccessible or orphaned files, recover OST items such as emails, attachments, calendars, contacts, tasks, and more, and Save the files to your Outlook PST or Office 365/Exchange Server account.


We hope this blog has provided valuable information about OST files, including their storage location and methods for importing them into Outlook. While manual methods can help import OST files connected to an Exchange Server, an automated OST to PST converter tool, as discussed earlier, is a recommended solution for other cases. This tool offers a fast and efficient way to import OST files into Outlook, and we encourage you to try its free trial version to understand its capabilities better.

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