Advantages of compacting large OST files

As you have continued to use Microsoft Outlook for managing mails, tasks, contacts, etc., you would have moved them to various folders and also deleted unwanted items as and when you decided you no longer need them. At some point, you may be warned that your OST file is getting too large and that you need to create some space on your hard disk so that you do not face OST corruption problems. You review all the items that you have stored and delete a few more unnecessary items. To your surprise you find that this does not seem to have resolved the problem and that the OST file is in real danger of getting damaged. Of course, if you are working with an Exchange email account, you could try an Exchange recovery method to restore all the data but you would be spending a lot of time and effort in doing so. It is best that you understand what is causing your OST file to grow so large and take steps to reduce its size.

Not many Microsoft Outlook users are aware that when they delete an item, it is not permanently deleted from the hard disk but simply moved to a Deleted Items folder. This folder is just like any other folder in Outlook and stores the items till the user specifically request that the items be permanently deleted. One of the advantages of this feature is that the user has some time to retrieve an item that has been accidentally deleted. However, if no effort is made to get rid of the items stored in this folder, it continues to unnecessarily occupy space – space that can be used to store more important items. Further, as the OST file continues to grow in size, there are greater chances of the file getting damaged and of the user having to implement a lengthy Exchange recovery process.

Rather than wait till the OST file reaches a critical size, one should regularly delete the items that are no longer needed, permanently from the Deleted Items folder, in order to recover some space on the hard disk and then compact the OST file to make it smaller. Fortunately, Outlook has an automatic compaction feature that allows it to carry out the compaction process in the background even as you are working. It is therefore highly advisable that if you are constantly using Outlook as your main mail application, you should –

  • Review all the items stored in different folders and delete those that are no longer needed from time to time.
  • Periodically delete items from the Deleted Items folder permanently.
  • Carry out an automatic compaction process.

This will ensure that your OST file is always at an optimum size and that Outlook works smoothly.

If you have not yet implemented these steps and find that the OST file has become damaged due its large size, you could still carry out an Exchange recovery and restore most of the data but only by using a third-party tool such as DataNumen Exchange Recovery from DataNumen. With its point-and-click feature, this tool makes it easy to recover data from highly corrupted OST files.

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