Moving .ost file

ofw62

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
POP3
Just curious to know . . .
I have been reading a lot of stuff about moving .ost files and all the steps one has to go thru.
As I am storing my .pst files within a password protected encrypted container (need to open it before launching any Office application) I was wondering how the paths would read in 'my' registry.

Vainly tried to find them under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook.
I did a search for the pst files and found them under both:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook\Search
and
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook\Search\Catalog

Everything is working fine, but I just wonder.. is this the usual places?
(considering the encrypted container scenario that is)

=ref:
Moving an Outlook Offline Data File (*.ost)
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Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
that path is for search only - it has information used by the instant search engine.

By default, ost files are stored in %localappdata%\microsoft\outlook. This path is only accessible to admins and to the windows user account. ost files are used only by Exchange and (as of Outlook 2013) IMAP accounts. They can only be opened by the account that created it.
 

ofw62

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
POP3
Hi Diane,
Thanks for the feedback. Well, I am the only user on this standalone pc, with Outlook 2013 Home and small Business installed. Yes, I know by default the outlook files are stored on C:\
When I do a fresh install, Outlook places an outlook.pst file on C:\
I go into account settings then (pop3) and so far am able to select the correct pst file stored on a different partition (read: within the encrypted container). After relaunching Outlook, the .pst file is used and everything is okay.
Like explained on Moving Outlook to a new Windows computer
(step 5). Not possible when using IMAP. With just 1 computer, POP3 probably is the best way to go, at least the most convenient way.. :)

Right now, aside of my default account, there are 4 other POP3-accounts as well, 2 gmail accounts (me+my wife), 2 hardly used accounts (with my ISP as domain) and one Outlook.com account - default.

Reason why I stumbled over this was that I remotely heard about 'migration' something. Exchange, 365, Office 2016, I don't know. I wonder though, if I were to buy a single, retail Office 2016 version, I suppose I can then proceed in the same way as with 2013, all this whilst using good old pop3. Or do I have to use the 'ForcePSTPath' then?
Likely am only gonna hit this .ost IMAP mess/problems when purchasing 365.

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Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
IMAP data files can be moved - before adding the account, set the registry key for ForcePSTPath (yes, it works with IMAP in 2013/2016 even though the data file is ost) then add the account. This will put the imap data file in the location specified in forcepstpath.

if you are using 1 computer and don't use email on your phone and don't need remote access to the email, there isn't a lot of reason to use imap. if you read email on your phone or need remote access to it, then imap is better.

Reason why I stumbled over this was that I remotely heard about 'migration' something. Exchange, 365, Office 2016, I don't know. I wonder though, if I were to buy a single, retail Office 2016 version, I suppose I can then proceed in the same way as with 2013, all this whilst using good old pop3. Or do I have to use the 'ForcePSTPath' then?
Likely am only gonna hit this .ost IMAP mess/problems when purchasing 365.
was it migration of outlook.com to new servers (hosted on Office 365 servers) ? That is ongoing.

Office 2016, whether subscription or the retail version is pretty much identical to office 2013. IMAP won't be an issue with either.

if you are going to upgrade, my recommendation is the subscription version ($69 for one computer, $100 for 5 per year but often on sale or discounted) - new features will be added to it while the retail (semi) perpetual version is stuck at RTM. I call it semi-perpetual because its limited to one computer and possibly one replacement, unlike older versions where you could generally install it on several over the years, even after they added activation (if you waited at least 6 months between activations).
 

ofw62

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
POP3
Many thanks Diane.
I have been thinking over 365 many times, really. Tried to get as much info as possible. Actually the one and only thing that is holding me back/make me hesitate is the uncertainty/confusion on my part with regards to the use of my existing .pst files. I do have quite some .pst files (various accounts) as well a few archive pst files.

My tablet uses IMAP, desktop Office 2013 uses POP3.
That works fine. I don't need all my desktop .pst folders and stuff to synchronize with my tablet, which I believe will happen when I were to use IMAP within Outlook 2013 as well...(?)
My Outlook 2013 .pst file is close to 5GB with RSS feeds, subfolders and stuff. I ocassionally use my tablet for a few mails.
The current setup works fine.

In Outlook 2013 I manually set up each account (pop/smtp server, advanced settings, setting ports, TLS/SSL, etc)
Probably the retail version of Outlook 2016 can be set up the same way (POP3).

I am not sure how Outlook (Office 365 Home) is being set up, I haven't found a step by step guideline. After spending hours and diverted to other 365 products or to 2016, I gave up.
Note: I found a nice short video on youtube titled: " Office 365 Outlook " (Jim Fox)
that shows Outlook 2013 web access. Maybe you wish to look at it.
Suppose that version is using IMAP.

BTW, ForcePSTPath
it says: "Use the ForcePSTPath regedit to change the default *.pst or Outlook 2013/2016 IMAP and EAS *.ost path. This key works for for POP3, IMAP... etc"
Q1: is it not for IMAP only then?

Q2: POP3, manual setup, users can select the .pst file themselves
(see "Moving Outlook to a new Windows computer", step 5, in my earlier mail).
Even though there is registry patch, users still may not be able to select a .pst file for each account they created..?

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Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
My tablet uses IMAP, desktop Office 2013 uses POP3.
That works fine. I don't need all my desktop .pst folders and stuff to synchronize with my tablet, which I believe will happen when I were to use IMAP within Outlook 2013 as well...(?)
My Outlook 2013 .pst file is close to 5GB with RSS feeds, subfolders and stuff. I ocassionally use my tablet for a few mails.
The current setup works fine.
If you use IMAP, correct, read, sent, and deleted messages would sync between the two computers.

In Outlook 2013 I manually set up each account (pop/smtp server, advanced settings, setting ports, TLS/SSL, etc)
Probably the retail version of Outlook 2016 can be set up the same way (POP3).

I am not sure how Outlook (Office 365 Home) is being set up, I haven't found a step by step guideline. After spending hours and diverted to other 365 products or to 2016, I gave up.
By default Outlook 2013 and 2016 auto account setup will generally use imap if its supported by the server. You need to set it up manually if you want to use pop3.

Keep in mind that there is NO difference in Office 2013, Office 2016, or 'office 365' versions of desktop Outlook. It's just a different name for the same software. There are feature improvements from 2013 to 2016 (and between home and business) and the EULA is different between retail, home, and business but this will not affect the accounts. (This applies to Outlook 2010 and 2007 too - they are mostly identical to the newer versions, save for eye-candy and some new and improved features. The underlying code is the same.)

Office 2013/2016 Subscription = Office 365 software = Office 2013/2016 Retail. The big difference: Subscriptions get feature updates, Retail does not. In comparing Home and Business/Enterprise suites, some business features, like Power BI and Policies are missing from the Home version.

Note: I found a nice short video on youtube titled: " Office 365 Outlook " (Jim Fox)
that shows Outlook 2013 web access. Maybe you wish to look at it.
Suppose that version is using IMAP.
"web access" is browser based access to Exchange mailboxes. It's now called Outlook on the web (because we can never have enough programs called Outlook. :)) I would assume it's Exchange services, not IMAP, connection if he's referring to it as web access.


BTW, ForcePSTPath
it says: "Use the ForcePSTPath regedit to change the default *.pst or Outlook 2013/2016 IMAP and EAS *.ost path. This key works for for POP3, IMAP... etc"
Q1: is it not for IMAP only then?
No, it's not limited to IMAP. It's for any account that is not "Microsoft Exchange " (which is not the same a Exchange ActiveSync). Both IMAP and Outlook connector (used to connect to Outlook.com/hotmail) used pst files at one time. Even after the file format changed, they did not change the underlying code that referenced this key.


Q2: POP3, manual setup, users can select the .pst file themselves
(see "Moving Outlook to a new Windows computer", step 5, in my earlier mail).
Even though there is registry patch, users still may not be able to select a .pst file for each account they created..?
You should always be able to select a pst file with pop3 accounts - you need to do it from the manual setup screen, which can be after auto setup created the account.
 

ofw62

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
POP3
Thank you so much for your patience and your elaborate reply Diane! It is truly appreciated...
I see that the domain name used in the video I referred to above is different and meant solely for use of 365,
whereas 'web access' shows a domain named 'dub119.mail.live.com' and it looks like the below.
The folder structure is simple, inbox, junk, drafts, sent, deleted. That's it.

Totally different...:)

I will consider Office 365.

SnagIt-04082016 075300.png


Best regards
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Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
your account hasn't been moved over to the new servers yet. It *should* be moved soon - last year they set a hard deadline of August 31 but I'm not sure if they will meet it.

Honestly, if you have Office 2013 and don't use a business Exchange account, upgrading to 2016 probably won't bring much benefit. At whatever point you decide to upgrade the software, i recommend the subscription version over the retail as you'll get all new features as long as you keep the subscription. When they release an new version (often referred to as 'Office vNext'), subscribers get it. You'll also get 1TB of OneDrive storage space and a few other little perks that may be useful, or not.

The button in your screenshots is for Skype - clicking it should pop out a panel and sign you into skype. (If you use skype, the Office 365 Home subscription included 60 minutes a month in skype calls.)
 

Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
BTW, after it is moved to the new server, it will look like this (you can change the theme)

This is with the skype panel opened:
new-server.png
 

ofw62

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
POP3
Diane, I just was thinking of the following, BUT then again, I don't know if it works... as an expert you can tell.

Say, Office 365 - I create a new account - there will be a new Outlook Data File created and dumped somewhere on my C: drive.
Now I don't care about that one.
Instead I go into Account Settings, select the account, then click on the [Change Folder] button,
then on the [New Outlook Data File] and browse to my existing .pst file used by my previous POP3 account and select that one.

Have no idea whether it will work and/or what side effects it may have, maybe it is just a funny 'nice-try-wont-work'-idea.
Obviously I don't want to 'just give it a try' without any comments from your end.

What do you think?

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SnagIt-05082016 143805.png
 

Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
You'll only have the option to change POP3 accounts, not imap. You could use rules to move imap mail to a folder in a pst but if you are moving all mail, adding it as pop3 would be easier.

change-folder.png
 

ofw62

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
POP3
Bad luck Diana. Maybe you should replace the above screenshot and hide your email in the bottomline, for privacy reasons.
(am not sure if that is your 'real' email address though)
 

ofw62

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
POP3
On conclusion, when purchasing Office 365 and using IMAP, probably the only way (in my case) might be
1. first and foremost apply the ForcePSTpath registry patch
2. install Office 365
3. create IMAP account
4. import existing data from previous .pst file
(On portlets.nwciowa.edu there is a PDF file about how to "Import your old Outlook Data File (.pst) to your
Office 365 email" assume that will work)
5. other mail accounts to stay POP as they will not be viewed on my tablet, so that does not make much sense.
Assuming POP and IMAP can be mixed.
 
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