Convert an Exchange or IMAP .OST into a .PST

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    Often, users leaving their organization want to take their Outlook mailbox data, specifically the Contacts. For this, they copy the Outlook data file, i.e., OST, without realizing that it can’t be opened or accessed in another Outlook profile or computer. An OST file must be converted into PST format for accessing the mail items.

    However, users don’t have many options in such cases. For example, organizations often use group policies to block PST export or backup and prevent employees from keeping the mailbox data after leaving the company.

    Sometimes, the need to convert an Exchange or IMAP account OST file into PST also arises when the email account is removed or disabled from the server-side or the database containing the user mailbox on the server is dismounted or gets damaged.

    This can leave the OST file in an orphaned or inaccessible state and may prevent users from accessing their email accounts. However, you can use a reliable OST to PST converter tool to parse the inaccessible OST file, extract all mail items, and save them in an Outlook importable PST file.

    In this article, you will learn different ways to convert an Exchange or IMAP OST file into PST format with complete integrity and without losing a single mail item.

    Methods to Convert Exchange or IMAP OST into PST Format

    Below we have discussed the methods to convert or backup Exchange or IMAP OST to PST format.

    Export Mail Items to PST

    If your organization isn’t using group policy to block PST export, you may use the Outlook Import Export wizard to convert your Exchange or IMAP OST file into PST format. However, your account should be active and accessible from the Outlook client.

    The steps are as follows:

    • Open Outlook and navigate to File > Open & Export > Import/Export.

    • Select Export to a file and click Next.

    • Choose Outlook Data File (.pst) and click Next.

    • Select the mail folders or items you want to export to PST. You can also select Include Subfolders to ensure all mail items are exported to PST format within the selected folder. Click Next.

    • Click Browse to choose the location and keep the default option selected. Click Finish.

    • You may enter a password to protect the PST file or click OK without any password. This will convert and export the mail items from your Exchange or IMAP OST file to PST format.

    Archive Mailbox Items

    If you don’t have permission to export the mail items from Exchange or IMAP email account or OST file, you can use the Archive option in Outlook to move mail items from OST to a local PST file.

    The steps are as follows:

    • In Outlook 2007, click File > Archive.

    • In Outlook 2010, go to File > Cleanup Tools > Archive.

    • In Outlook 2013, navigate to File > Info > Cleanup Tools > Archive.

    Archive

    • In Outlook 2016, go to File > Info > Tools > Clean up old items.

    Clean up old items

    • Select the Archive this folder and all subfolders option and then choose the folders containing mail items you want to archive.

    • Choose the date in Archive items older than.

    • Click Browse to choose a location where you want to save the archived mail items as PST files and click OK.

    • You can repeat the steps to archive your mailbox items from Exchange or IMAP OST to one or more PST files.

    Again, this works only when your account is active and accessible from the Outlook email client.

    Move Mail Items to a PST File Manually

    In Outlook, you can create an empty PST file and add mail folders. Then drag & drop the mail items from your Exchange or IMAP mail folders to the mail folders in the PST file. The steps are as follows:

    • Open Outlook and click File > Info > Account Settings > Account Settings.

    • Click on the Data Files tab and click Add.

    • Choose a location where you want to save the PST file and type the PST file name. Click OK.

    • After saving the PST, close the dialog boxes. You will see the new PST in the Outlook left pane.

    • Right-click on it and choose New Folder to create a new mail folder.

    • Now drag and drop mail items from your Exchange folders to the new folder you created under the PST file.

    • You may also use CTRL+C and CTRL+V to copy and paste the folders and mail items from OST to PST file in Outlook.

    This way, you can convert an Exchange or IMAP OST file into PST format.

    Use an OST to PST Converter Software

    You can’t access or login into your account via Outlook or the web when your Exchange or IMAP email account is not active or your profile is removed. As a result, the OST enters the orphaned stage and becomes inaccessible. In such a case, an OST to PST converter software, such as Stellar Converter for OST, comes in handy.

    You can convert such OST files into PST format with 100% integrity and precision. The software maintains the file, folder, and mailbox hierarchy after conversion. Thus, every mail item and folder remain intact.

    You may also use the software to convert and export all mail items to your existing or new Outlook profile in a few clicks. You can also export the OST directly to an Office 365 or Exchange Server mailbox in a few clicks using the software.

    To Wrap Up

    If you have an OST file that belongs to a deleted or inactive profile or from your previous organization, you must use an OST to PST converter software. However, if you can access your Exchange or IMAP account in Outlook, you can use various options to convert Exchange or IMAP OST into PST file format manually. The methods are discussed above in detail to help you convert any IMAP or Exchange Offline Storage Table or OST file into PST format.

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