Employees at workplaces usually are not too careful about the size of the OST files they use when they are working offline. This results in OST files becoming fairly large in size. Not only does this affect the performance of Outlook but there is a real danger that the OST file becomes damaged. We will outline the main steps that can be taken to deal with large OST files.
As an employee, your organization would have allocated you an email account on a Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook would have been your most natural choice as an email client and as a collaborative tool. Further, you love the offline folders feature of Outlook that allows you to work in peace without having to worry about the network being slow, about not being able to connect with the server or about sudden loss of connection. You can work on your local copy of the data stored in offline folder files or OST files and then simply synchronize the data with the server folder on a regular basis. It is also easy to recover OST data in case of any problem since all the data is still stored in the Exchange server mailbox.
However, as you keep using Outlook and storing all the items, you might notice a gradual slowing down of the application. In fact, it may get to a point where even simple tasks such as moving messages, opening new messages, anything that involves accessing the OST file starts to take a very long time to complete. At times, you might feel that Outlook has completely stopped responding and only after a while does it begin to respond again. This might lead you to believe that there is corruption in the OST file and your first instinct would be to recover OST data, as much as possible.
If you observe the symptoms very carefully, you might notice that they happen more frequently during synchronization or during delivery of mail. This should indicate to you that the OST file is taking some time in synchronizing and that it could be because of the number of items it is trying to synchronize. In other words, the large size of the OST file could be the main reason behind these problems. It is true that many users have noticed these problems becoming very acute when the OST file approaches a size limit of say 4 GB or so. Another point to keep in mind is that while performance problems might begin as a result of the large size of the OST file, if this size is not made more manageable, it may eventually get damaged or corrupt. In such a case, you might have to run a repair tool to recover OST data from the file.
When you start facing performance problems with Outlook, particularly during synchronization, try and understand what the size of the OST file is. If it is between 2 GB and 4 GB, you are better off reducing the number of items in the file and then compacting it to make it more manageable.
If the OST file has already become so large that you suspect some corruption in the file, do not panic. Download and install a copy of DataNumen Exchange Recovery from DataNumen on your local hard drive. With one of the best recovery rates in the industry this tool will ensure that the maximum data is restored from your damaged OST file.