Computer Tip: Working with MS Outlook – part 3

How to change Default Data File (.OST) location in Office.

This tip assumes that you are using an Exchange Server. Non-Exchange users will not use a .OST file. To set the default location of the Outlook data file (.OST – not .PST) 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 most versions of Office as well but the path to the office key will be slightly different.

1) Open Regedit. Accept the elevation prompt. Go to  Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\xx.0\Outlook   [xx is the version of Office. Office 2010 is 14.]

2) Right-Click Outlook and 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.

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 (not the .OST files) to the new location if you like.

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.

Note: Microsoft doesn’t support moving a .OST file from one location to another. This tip re-creates it in the new location.

6) Go to the Control Panel. Select Mail (32-bit) or Mail.

7) Click Add and then type in the name you would like to give the profile, then click OK . This will start the Auto Account Setup wizard. Follow the standard 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) 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.

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.

As usual, these are just tips. Use at your own risk. Test before using.

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About ebraiter
computer guy

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