While working with a mailbox on Exchange server does make it very convenient to switch between the offline and online modes, there are times when the account from the server gets removed by mistake or by the administrator as a security precaution. This article will illustrate how converting OST files into PST files might be the only way of retrieving data.
Very often at corporate workplaces, employees are given an email account on a Microsoft Exchange server. This no doubt facilitates communication and collaboration at the workplace but also allows the user to work on emails by making an offline copy in Offline Storage files or OST files. At times, administrators take the extreme step of removing the account when they consider a security threat. Also, when employees are leaving the current place of employment, they may want to take the mail messages, contact lists and calendar with them when they move. They are under the impression that by taking a copy of the OST files with them they have all the information they need and end up deleting the account associated with these files. This ends up orphaning the OST files that can only be opened using the Exchange email account that has been used to create it. The only way left for many of these employees to retrieve their data is to convert OST to PST and then access the data using Outlook.
There are only two ways in which the contents of an OST file can be accessed – one, the user should have access to the computer and the email account on the Exchange server used to create the OST files; two, there has to be a restore point in the computer that will allow restoration of contents. If the user does not have access to the machine that was used to create the offline storage files, OST files or if there is no longer a restore point, the user will have to take the help of third-party tools such as Advanced Exchange Recovery to convert OST to PST.
A user could also use the Archive feature to move or copy mailbox items, to a PST file – if there are many mail items or if one would like to move almost everything in a mailbox, this is the best method to use. Unfortunately, this method does not allow one to archive the contacts list. It is easy to archive various other items. One only needs to set the AutoArchive option from the Tools menu. The archive can be reused by going to the File menu and then selecting Archive.
Simply exporting the items is another alternative although typically Export is not recommended as the best way of converting OST to PST. On the other hand, it is certainly a very easy way of quickly moving all the content from the OST files into a PST file. Even calendar items and contact lists can be moved through an Export.
Third-party tools such as Advanced Exchange Recovery mentioned above have a definite advantage over all the above methods since it can scan and restore data from not just orphaned OST files but also heavily heavily corrupted files. Thus, keeping Advanced Exchange Recovery handy will not only protect the data in case these files get corrupted but will enable users to move their data without fear of losing them in orphaned OST files.