Outlook Offline Folders and Offline Mode
Q: How to create, compact, repair or delete Offline Folders
A: This document has these sections;
How to create an Offline Folder (.OST) file
How to compact an Offline Folder (.OST) file
How to repair and Offline Folder (.OST) file
How to delete a Offline Folder (.OST) file
How to create an Offline Folder (.OST) file:
For Outlook 2000
- On the Tools menu, click Services.
- Select Microsoft Exchange Server and then click Properties.
- On the Advanced tab make sure Enable Offline Access is selected and click Offline Folder File Settings.
- Type the path to the file that you want to use as the offline folder file. If you receive the message "<.ost filename> could not be found. Would you like to create it?" click OK.
For Outlook 2002/2003
- On the Tools menu, click E-mail Accounts, click View or change existing mail accounts, and then click Next.
- In the Outlook processes email for these accounts in the following order box, click Microsoft Exchange Server, and then
- Click Change.
- Click More Settings.
- Click the Advanced tab, and then click Offline Folder File Settings.
- In the File box, type the path to the file that you want to use as the .ost file and then click OK. The default name is Outlook.ost. If this file already exists, you will receive a prompt for a new name.
- If you receive the message below, click OK:
<path> <filename>.ost could not be found. Would you like to create it?
where <path> represents the path to the ost file and <filename> represents the name of the ost file.
- Click OK, Next, and then click Finish.
Please note: Outlook must be connected to the Exchange Server computer for the initial creation and synchronization of the Offline Folder file.
How to compact an Offline Folder (.OST) file:
- On the Tools menu, click "E-mail accounts", click "View or change existing e-mail accounts", and then click "Next".
- In the "Outlook processes e-mail for these accounts in the following order" list, select "Microsoft Exchange Server", and then click "Change".
- Click "More Settings".
- Click the "Advanced" tab, and then click Offline Folder File Settings.
- Click Compact Now.
To delete an item from both the online and offline folders, select the item, and then press DELETE.
If you are using a Microsoft Exchange Server e-mail account in Cached Exchange Mode, only the selected folder will be cleared from the local .ost file. The items on the server will be downloaded again to the .ost file on the next synchronization if the folder is selected under Folder Options in Send/Receive Settings for the Exchange e-mail account.
When you use Cached Exchange Mode, public folders favorites are not synchronized by default. If you choose to synchronize public folders, the size of your Offline Folder file (.ost) may increase significantly.
How to repair Offline Folder (.OST) file:
If you get error messages when synchronizing your Offline Folder file (.ost) in Microsoft Office Outlook with your mailbox on a Microsoft Exchange Server, use the OST Integrity Check tool (Scanost.exe) to check your file. You must connect to your Exchange server so the tool can scan your mailbox folders and items. If you previously set up Outlook to automatically start offline, the OST Integrity Check tool won't be able to access your Exchange server. Therefore, before you run the tool, you need to temporarily change your startup settings.
Steps to repair the OST file:
- Quit Outlook if it is running.
- Double-click Scanost.exe, located at drive:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\LocaleID folder - where LocaleID is the locale identifier (LCID) for the installation of Microsoft Office. The LCID for English - United States is 1033.
- If you set up Outlook to prompt for a profile, the tool will also prompt you for one. In the Profile Name list, click the profile that contains the .ost you want to check.
- If you are prompted to Connect or Work Offline, click Connect.
- Select the options you want.
- To have the tool automatically resolve discrepancies it finds during the scan, select the Repair Errors check box. If this check box is cleared, the tool will log the problems but not make the necessary corrections.
- Click Begin Scan.
- Note To view the scan log, start Outlook, and then open the Deleted Items folder. The tool does not scan the Deleted Items folder. Any problems will be noted in a message with the Subject "OST Integrity Check."
How to delete Offline Folder (.OST) file:
Sometimes an OST file becomes corrupted beyond repair or repair is not desirable. In this case, it can be deleted. After it had been deleted, you may need to recreate it as a new file as described above before Outlook will work properly.
- Quit Outlook if it is running.
- From the Start menu, go to Run.
- In the Run window, enter this command in the "Open:" field and click OK:
- "%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\"
- You may want to cut-and-paste that information for accuracy and ease.
- In the Explorer window, locate the OST file to deleted. Select it and press delete on your keyboard or use the Delete icon on the toolbar.