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Microsoft Outlook is one of the advanced email clients and is used in many organizations. It uses two file formats to save its data, OST and PST. OST stands for Offline Storage Table, which indicates it is the offline copy of the Outlook data present in the server. Users can edit and save the file in drafts. On the other hand, PST stands for Personal Storage Table, which is saved in the local system of the user. It consists of all the mailbox items of MS Outlook. 

Sometimes, users need to convert OST to PST due to various reasons. But they are not aware of the right way to convert the files. So we are here with the new blog to help you in converting Outlook OST to PST with data security. First, find out below why you need to move to the PST format.

Some Reasons Why Users Choose to Move From OST to PST

Let’s discuss some benefits of using PST files over OST. 

  1. Sometimes users face sudden crashes in the Exchange server due to virus attacks, power fluctuation, and more. 
  2. If the Exchange mailbox gets deleted from the server, then you can recover the file by converting it to PST format.
  3. There are high chances of file corruption if the OST file becomes oversized. To avoid any corruption users convert OST to PST. 
  4. If the user switches to another email client, it can’t access the old emails in OST format. To access the files in the new email client, the file must be converted to PST.

After discussing the reasons to import OST to PST, let’s move to the conversion process. 

Top 3 Manual Methods to Convert the OST File

How do I convert an OST to PST for free? We will solve this query with three solutions. Each one is explained in detail so you can opt for your desired one. Firstly, we will the import and export method.

Method 1: Convert by Using Outlook Native Import/Export

In this method, OST data will be exported directly to the PST format. Check out the steps given below:

  1. Open MS Outlook in your system to convert OST to PST.
  2. Go to the File tab and click Import/Export.
  3. Choose Export to a file from the new Window.
  4. Hit the Next button and choose the option Outlook data file (.PST).
  5. Click the Next button.
  6. Select the mailbox folder. You can also mark the option Include subfolders.
  7. Finally, browse and choose the location where you want to save the PST file.

Method 2: Archive Method to Convert OST File

This solution will help you to archive the Outlook OST to PST. The steps are given below:

  1. Open Outlook in your system.
  2. Go to the File tab and click Archive.
  3. Select the file/folder to archive.
  4. Browse the location to store the PST file.
  5. At last, hit the Finish button.

Method 3: Convert OST to PST using the Drag and Drop Method

This is the last way to convert the OST file manually. In this method, you just need to drag the folders to the PST file. 

  1. Launch MS Outlook in your system.
  2. Create a new PST file in your Outlook Profile.
  3. Select and drag the mailbox folder which you want to convert to PST format.

Note: Email items like inbox, contacts, etc can’t drag to the PST file.

So, these are the three manual ways to Outlook migrate OST to PST. Although it is free to use, there are some limitations to using these manual methods. It is very important to know the drawbacks before moving to any step. So, let’s discuss this in detail.

Limitations of Converting OST to PST Manually

  • There is a high risk of data loss or data alteration.
  • The manual method is not fast.
  • You can’t convert the corrupted OST file.
  • This method is not suitable for non-professional users.
  • It doesn’t maintain the hierarchy of the files.
  • Limitation in the OST file size.
  • It may include some complex steps.
  • There is no guarantee of data safety

However, the above are some of the limitations to converting the OST file manually. So, this method is suitable for users who can’t afford the risk of important data loss. To avoid these issues, you can opt for an automatic method to convert OST to PST. Professionals suggest using OST to PST Converter for data integrity. This method allows to Outlook migrate OST to PST just in a few clicks. It doesn’t require any technical know-how to convert the files. Users can convert multiple files in bulk and it doesn’t alter the folders hierarchy. It is the safest way to transfer mailbox items including emails, contacts, calendars, tasks, notes, journals, etc. 


We have discussed both ways to import OST to PST. The manual one has many limitations, even the data is not safe. It requires a lot of technical knowledge and is not suitable for novice users. While the automatic method is best and safe for the data. It converts multiple files in bulk with all mailbox items. So, we can say that the automatic way is far better than the manual one. Hope you find the article helpful to convert OST to PST.

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