Windows 10 May 2019 Update

Difference between .ost and .pst file in outlook 2016/2013/2010/2007

MS Outlook one of the most popular applications of Microsoft office suite designed to work as an email client but due to its plethora of features like creating tasks, calendars, journals, note taking and even web browsing, it can also be used with Microsoft Exchange server and even with Share Point server or even can be used to share multiple files or documents by multiple users in an organization. Being an email client MS Outlook stores all kinds of data like emails, attachments, calendars, journals, tasks and so on OST & PST file formats. Here this post we discuss what is the major difference between OST and PST file format used by Microsoft Outlook.

What Is PST File format in MS Outlook?

PST file, also known as Personal Storage Table that permanently stores emails and data on the local hard drive. It never gets deleted by Outlook and can be copied to other installations of Outlook when upgrading or simply moving to a new machine.

What Is OST File format in MS Outlook?

OST (Offline Storage Table) is your offline folder in MS Outlook. These files make possible for Outlook to be used even in offline mode and to sync automatically when connected to the internet. It is used in Exchange environment by using MS Exchange server. This feature enable users to read, compose, delete and even reply to emails that too in offline mode.

Outlook pst and ost file location

Outlook Data Files (.pst) created by using Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2016 are typically saved on your computer in the Documents\Outlook Files folder. If you upgraded to Outlook on a computer that already had data files that were created in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 or earlier, these files are saved in a different location in a hidden folder at drive:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook.
To open the folder where your Outlook Data Files (.pst and .ost) are saved is to do the following:

  1. In Outlook, click the File tab.
  2. In right pane, click Account Settings, and then click Account Settings.
  3. On the Data Files tab, click an entry, and then click Open Folder Location.

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The offline Outlook Data File (.ost) is also saved at drive:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook. Most data remains on the server; however, any items that are saved locally should be backed up. For example, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, and any folders marked Local only.

.ost and .pst files difference

The basic difference between OST and PST is that An OST file allows to synchronize your account data into the server and allows to work offline. While PST file is a database file, which stores Outlook account data locally. means OST files enable users the option to read, view, reply and compose emails even in offline mode whereas PST files don’t have this facility.

An OST file created when MS Outlook is configured with Exchange Server or in IMAP account type in latest versions of Outlook. A PST file is created with IMAP and POP accounts in earlier editions and only with a POP account in Outlook 2013 and latest versions.

Both OST files and the personal storage table (.pst) files used by Microsoft Outlook for managing POP3, IMAP and web-based mail accounts But unlike PST files, OST files are tied to the mail account configuration and cannot be opened or backed up individually.

OST files only support Microsoft Exchange server whereas PST files can be used with Exchange setup but not recommended. Apart from the Exchange server, it is also compatible with other servers.

OST vs PST file size: Microsoft Outlook can be varied according to Outlook version, as in older version such as Outlook 2002, the File size limit around 2 GB with ANSI Encoding but the Microsoft increases the File size limitation from Outlook 2003 version around 20 GB and later for Outlook 2010 & later, this file storage capacity around 50 GB.

Microsoft provides ScanPST.exe and ScanOST.exe to repair PST and OST file corruption issues respectively. ScanOST.exe is no more available after Microsoft Office 2010. ScanPST.exe (Inbox Repair Tool) available with Outlook 2013, 2016, 2019 can fix both PST and OST files in it.

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