How to recover old hotmail messages from an .ost file

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Until early 2007 I was using Outlook 2003 to access my Hotmail because I was traveling extensively. I had a major crash with Outlook 2003 and ended up losing all of my email prior to 2007. I ditched Outlook 2003 and started over with Windows Live Mail which I have used ever since.

I recently discovered two large .ost files with the names of my two Hotmail accounts which are dated around the same time I had the crash and I believe that they may contain a lot of my old mail which had been deleted.

So the question is this: how can I open these files and recover the messages?

I now have Outlook 2007 installed on my computer, not 2003, but I have never used it to access my Hotmail accounts.

Here is what I thought I might try but I want to have some degree of certainty that it will work before I try it:

1. Open the Outlook Connector in Outlook 2007 and add both of my Hotmail accounts.

2. Let Outlook create new .ost files for both accounts.

3. Once these files are created, tell Outlook to work offline then close Outlook

4. Replace the newly created .ost files with the old ones.

5. Disconnect from the internet (added measure to make sure Outlook doesn't try to sync with Hotmail)

6. Open Outlook again and see if it will read the old .ost files

Does anyone know if this will work?

If it does work, can I then export these messages to a .pst file?

Thanks in advance
1. You can't open ost files with outlook - only the profile that created them can open them. OST recovery software may be able to recover the mail.

2. Did you delete the mail from the hotmail server after the crash? The ost is just a copy of the mail on the hotmail server and unless you later deleted it, its still on the server. Only Tasks, notes, and Journal items are not synced up.

Recovery software is listed here: recover ost
Thanks for replying.

I forget exactly what happened, but somehow outlook synced with hotmail and deleted everything on the server. Don't want to do that again!

So you don't think my plan would work?

I'll look into the recovery options you suggested. All the ones I have looked at thus far have been prohibitively expensive. Keeping my fingers crossed.
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