OST vs PST Files: What is the Difference and Best Way to Handle Them

This post takes a closer look at OST and PST files, highlights their salient features, and the best ways to handle them.

OST vs PST Files: What is the Difference and Best Way to Handle Them

MS Outlook comes with two types of data files, namely OST and PST. It is important to understand how these files work for you to operate this e-mail client software efficiently.

What are OST mailbox data files?

When you register your mailbox with Exchange Server, Outlook creates an offline Storage Table (OST) file on your personal computer. This file enables you to access your mail data without an internet connection.  You can perform tasks on your mailbox such as creating emails and scheduling tasks without an internet connection. Your data is synced with the server once your internet connection is restored.

If you have multiple accounts connected to Outlook, each account will have a corresponding OST file. This keeps your email data secure and organized.

What are PST mailbox data files?

Whenever you create an MS Outlook account, the system creates a corresponding Personal Storage Table (PST) file, which supports the creation of mail data on your account. The file is domicile on your computer and stores all your Outlook email data. It is possible to use password encryption to secure your data from unauthorized persons.

How OST files differ from PST files

If you are using an OST file setup, you can edit and create mailbox data without an internet connection. This is not possible with a PST file setup. This makes OST files the ideal fit for networks with unstable or poor internet connections. Also, OST mailbox data files can only connect to an Exchange Server but PST files allow you to connect with other servers.

Best practices for handling OST and PST files

OST and PST files are susceptible to corruption, and if this happens, you can lose critical data for your business. It is therefore wise to take precaution and avoid practices that could put your files at risk. For instance, it is good practice to exclude PST and OST files from antivirus scanning. This is because some virus signatures can have similarities to certain file formats. In such cases, your antivirus can attack good files and corrupt them.

Do not temper with your OST files in any way. This way, you avoid data loss. For instance, do not rename or delete these files. Once the server connection is established, a new OST file will be created and will not contain the deleted data.

It is advisable to back up your PST file data frequently and protect yourself against data corruption. Also, do not allow your files to become too large because the larger they become, the more susceptible to data corruption they are. Since PST files can be split or merged as per user requirements, use this feature to ensure that your data is archived in an orderly and secure manner that reduces the chances of data corruption.

Final Thoughts

In the event, your files get damaged, make copies of the original data before you start the recovery process. Use tested and tried methods to repair or recover your files, or convert OST to PST file, such as DataNumen Exchange Recovery. This software uses advanced technology to recover data from corrupt OST files on servers and allows you to convert the recovered files to .pst format. You can split PST files into smaller ones to suit your storage requirements.

DataNumen Exchange Recovery

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