How to create, compact, compare or delete offline folders in Outlook

How do I create an offline (.OST) folder? What do I do if I need to compact an offline folder? How do I repair an .OST file offline?

These are common questions we receive from Outlook® users. If these questions ring true for you, than you’re in luck.  We tackle each of the questions below and provide some helpful resources you can use to address these common challenges.

How to create an offline (.OST) folder

Offline folders are replicas of folders that can be found in your inbox on the computer that is running Microsoft® Exchange.  This makes it possible to take a folder from a server location and work on files within that folder when you’re not connected to the network. When you re-connect to the network, you can then update the folders to ensure the files within both folders are identical.

So, how do you go about creating an offline (.OST) folder?

To create an offline folder, follow the steps below:

  1. In Outlook 2007: Open the Tools menu                                                                                                                                      In Outlook 2010/2013: Open the File tab on the Ribbon, click on Info, and choose Account Settings
  1. Click on Account Settings,  then double-click on Microsoft Exchange
  2. Click on More Settings
  3. Click on the Advanced tab and then click on Offline Folder File Settings (in Outlook 2013: Outlook Data File Settings)
  4. In the File box, type the path to the file that you want to use as the (.ost) file and click on OK. The default name is Outlook.ost. If this file already exists, you will be prompted to create a new name.

If you see the message below, click OK:

  1. Click on OKNext, and then click on Finish.

Please note: Outlook must be connected to the Exchange server for the initial creation and synchronization of the Offline Folder file.

 How to compact an offline (.OST) folder

Check out the video below for simple instructions on how to compact an offline folder:

How to repair an offline (.OST) folder

To help ease the process of repairing an offline (.OST) folder, we’ve created a PowerShell script that will walk you through the repair process. Here’s how to use it:

  1.        Download the .ps1 PowerShell script
  2.        Right click the script and Run with PowerShell
  3.        Follow the on screen prompts to delete .OST files

If this is your first time running downloaded PowerShell scripts, you will need to adjust your execution policy to run the script. Here’s what you need to do:

  1.        Open up Windows PowerShell as an Administrator. (Right click Run as Administrator)
  2.        Type in: Set-ExecutionPolicy-ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted
  3.        Close the PowerShell window

Please take a look at the short tutorial video below for further assistance:

Visit our Knowledge Base to learn more about how to create, compact and repair offline folders. If you still have questions, give us a call at 800-379-7729.

About Ryan Chau

Ryan Chau oversees the technical support team at Intermedia. He has nearly ten years of support experience.