Convert OST file to PST.

My wife's all in one PC had a power surge, would not come back on. I had the HD removed and was able to retrieve the word docs as well as pictures and such.  The file for Microsoft outlook email is in a OST format and Cox cable cannot import it off the HD without it being converted to a PST file first ( which they do not do ). Was wondering if any of you had this issue and what you did to convert the file. I researched a software product called Kernel OST to PST conversion, i would have to download it to do it.  Any ideas?

Thank you in advance

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Hello BENKRU

#1 - As you've discovered, an OST file can only be opened/read by the original Outlook profile/email account used to create the file. Every time an IMAP or Exchange account gets configured, a new OST file is created

#2 - For a COX account, this would be for an IMAP account. So the question to confirm is - what exactly is it are you trying to recover. Reason for that question is that when an IMAP account is configured, the OST file is created and Outlook will sync with the server for all email folders.

What is not sync'd with the server are the contact/calendar folders - that's the primary reason you would need to use an OST2PST conversion tool

#3 - There are countless OST2PST conversion tools. Whichever you decide to use, be sure to download/test it before making any purchase to ensure that it can read the file as expected.

Going forward, there is a way to mitigate this problem from occurring again. These following instructions won't help your current situation but will ensure that you won't have to go through it again and assume that you already have your contact/calendar data is in a PST file

#1 - Instead of importing the contact/calendar data into IMAP folders that have the words "This Computer Only" in the folder description, simply add the PST file to the Outlook profile. From within Outlook, go to File --> Open & Export --> Open Outlook Data file --> browse to the PST file and select it

#2 - Set this newly added PST file as the "default data file" for the Outlook profile, this is where the default contact/calendar folders are stored.
Go to File --> Account Settings -->Data File tab --> select the newly added PST file --> click on <Set as default>

From this point forward, your contact/calendar data will be stored in a PST file. Outlook never deletes a PST file on its own and a PST file can always be opened/read by Outlook.
Karl Timmermans (Outlook MVP 2012-2018)
http://www.contactgenie.info

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First of all, there is no free way to do this.  As you've discovered, there are a number of third parties with conversion software, but all of them are commercial products and require purchase for full functionality.  An .OST file would indicate that the Cox email account was an IMAP type and, as such, all the emails and their folder structure are still available on the Cox email server. Re-creating the account in Outlook as an IMAP type will rebuild the .OST file's folder structure and email content - one of the nice things about IMAP is it stores all that stull on the server.  What would be lost would be Contacts, Calendar items, Tasks and the like.  IMAP does not sync these.  The original .OST file is toast without the original Outlook Profile and email account that created it, so the only way to get anything out of it, at this point, is with the commercial software mentioned above.
Hal Hostetler, CPBE
Broadcast Engineer/IT Pro
MVP-Outlook - WA7BGX
www.rolandschorr.com

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Hal, thank you for the quick response. I apologize upfront for not being that computer savvy in explaining it 100% .  We did add my wife's email onto my laptop and she was able to gain access to  her folders and emails.  The main thing we could not get were the contacts list she has which is very large. one question I have is, when I buy the software online and download it. do I download it on her old HD that is attached externally to my laptop via the Thermaltake Black X duet docking station or do I download it to my laptop? Of course the files I need to convert are on the external HD.  Thank you again for your help in answering my questions, very much appreciated..... 

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Download it to and install it on your laptop.  I'd also suggest you make a copy of the .OST file and move it to your laptop as well so you don't damage the original, should some freak act of God occur.  To prevent this sort of thing from happening in the future, please see:

Don’t risk losing your Contacts and Calendar when using IMAP in Outlook 2013, 2016, 2019, or Office 365

Hal Hostetler, CPBE
Broadcast Engineer/IT Pro
MVP-Outlook - WA7BGX
www.rolandschorr.com

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Last updated July 16, 2021 Views 6,284 Applies to: