Outlook client stores all user information in PST (Personal Storage Table) or OST (Offline Folder File) format. However, both PST and OST files have a limited storage capacity. If the data stored in it exceeds the maximum capacity it causes various errors and problems, eventually leading to file corruption. If such a thing happens user are compelled to recover OST and PST files from the Exchange Server with the help of some specialized software. It is therefore important to compact personal folders in Outlook.
Both PST and OST files in Outlook have a maximum storage capacity of 2GB and if the file size crosses this threshold it at times, begins to display various errors and slows down Outlook client, this will eventually lead to corruption of the files. If the files happen to get corrupted due to over sizing, then you will require the help of the integrated Inbox Repair Tool provided by Microsoft or external third party software to recover OST and PST files.
Moreover, if you want to conserve hard disk space in your computer you can delete unwanted items from both the PST and OST files in Outlook. This action will also help in keeping the file size below the 2GB limit and prevent data loss due to corruption. After deleting the unwanted items from the files you can further compact the remaining data to make them smaller in size. Keep in mind that whenever you delete unwanted items from each folder, the system automatically moves them to the ‘Deleted Items’ folder. You should ensure that you permanently delete the files from the ‘Deleted Items’ folder so that Outlook can compact the remaining file.
In order to compact a PST or OST file there are a few conditions that you should consider:
- The file size should be larger than 16KB
- The file should have at least 16KB of free space
You can either start file compaction in Outlook both automatically and manually. Automatic compaction can only take place if your computer is in the idle mode and only running the Outlook application. Moreover, your computer should not engage in any CPU intensive task like downloading files from the internet or other sources.
You can manually start the PST compaction process by following the steps mentioned below:
- Open Outlook and on the ‘File’ menu click on ‘Data File Management’
- Select the personal folders you would like to compress and click on ‘Settings’
- After this step look for the ‘General’ tab and click ‘Compact Now’ button
- Click ‘OK’ and then close the application
If you are using Microsoft Outlook 2010 then follow the steps mentioned below:
- Click on ‘File’ tab and then click on ‘Info’ tab
- Click ‘Accounts Settings’ tab twice followed by ‘Data Files’ tab
- Select the personal folders and click ‘Settings’
- On the ‘General’ tab click ‘Compact Now’ and then ‘OK’ and close application
You can start OST compaction process in Outlook 2007 by following a few simple steps:
- Delete all unimportant files in the ‘Deleted Items’ folder
- Click ‘Account Settings’ available on the ‘Tools’ menu
- Select ‘Microsoft Exchange Server,’ then click ‘Change’
- Click on ‘More Settings’ followed by ‘Offline Folder File Settings’ which appears on the ‘Advanced’ tab and click ‘Compact Now’
If you are using Outlook 2003 and earlier version, follow the steps given below:
- Click ‘Email Accounts’ in the ‘Tools’ menu
- Click on ‘View or change existing e-mail account,’ then click ‘Next’
- Click on ‘Microsoft Exchange Server’ followed by ‘Change’
- After this step click on ‘More Settings’ and click ‘Offline Folder File Settings’ appearing in ‘Advanced’ tab
- Click ‘Compact Now’ and when the whole operation finishes click ‘OK’ twice and then ‘Next’ and ‘Finish’
Moreover, if you want to effortlessly free disk space without deletion of any important data or recover OST and PST file in case of corruption you can always take the help of third party software like “DataNumen Exchange Recovery” which is known to be the best in the industry.