How to automate the process of moving user's Outlook ost file to the new location.

brichardi 311 Reputation points

Hello everyone,

We are using Citrix in our environment, and the network drive that host our Outlook ost drive is full.

We configure GPO to point user's ost file to a new location but it didn't work (we confirmed that the GPO did apply but user's ost path still stay the same).

We also try the registry setting (ForceOSTPath), and again it didn't work with existing users.

If we manually create a new profile for users then the GPO and the registry method work.

How do we automate the process of moving users Outlook ost to the new location?

Manually create new profile for 500 users is not a solution for us right now.

Any help is appreciated.


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Outlook Management
Outlook Management
Outlook: A family of Microsoft email and calendar products.Management: The act or process of organizing, handling, directing or controlling something.
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Accepted answer
  1. Gopal Agarwal 401 Reputation points
    1. Open the Group Policy Management Console (gpmc.msc).
    2. Create a new GPO or edit an existing one.
    3. Navigate to User Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Microsoft Office Outlook > Account Settings > Exchange.
    4. Enable the "Exchange Cached Mode" policy.
    5. In the policy properties, select the "Modify" button in the "Path for OST file" section.
    6. Enter the desired path for the OST file in the "Value" field, then click "OK".
    7. Link the GPO to the desired organizational unit (OU).
    8. Update Group Policy on the target computers by running "gpupdate /force".

    Note: This process assumes that you have the necessary permissions to create and edit GPOs in your environment. Also, make sure to test the GPO in a controlled environment before implementing it in production.

4 additional answers

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  1. Stephane Fournier 0 Reputation points

    Accepted answer doesn't work with O365. The GPO applies, create the new location if you add a cmd file to create the user's folder but Outlook is still using the old OST repository.Unless you create a new Outlook profil for the user. Not really a way to go with more than 200 users. Does someone knows if MS suggest something work this out?

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  2. Josephine Fernandes 1 Reputation point

    Hello @brichardi

    Thank you for your inquiry. There is a manual method for moving the OST to another computer that involves first converting it to PST. However, this may take some time. In such a case, I would recommend an automated solution I discovered on this Linkedin blog. Both methods are listed below.

    Step 1: Using Outlook's Import/Export wizard

    • From the Outlook's interface, click on File on the top left corner and click on Open and Export
    • Choose the Import/Export option which opens the Import and Export Wizard
    • Select Export to a file and in the next screen select Outlook Data File (.pst)
    • Verify and check mark the Include Subfolders box.
    • Browse for the location of where you would like to Save the file and it will be completed. Method 2. Follow the AutoArchive method of saving emails from Outlook

    The next method is the AutoArchiving which saves a copy of your mailbox items at regular intervals as .pst. Follow these steps to enable the Auto Archiving feature from Outlook.

    • Click on File in the top right corner of MS Outlook > Options and then Advanced in the left menu.
    • Under AutoArchive click on the button AutoArchive Settings.
    • Checkmark the box Run AutoArchive every and specify how often to run the AutoArchive.
    • Fill in the other details such as location to save the PST Archive and click OK.

    These steps are detailed on the Microsoft support pages.

    Method 3. Automatic Solution of moving the OST and users to a new location

    The previous two methods work if your mailboxes are small in number or if you don't run into any problems with Outlook. However, if you have large sized mailboxes with a lot of attachments or mail items, then you need to go with an automatic third-party OST to PST converter solution to ease the entire process. This method will convert the .ost files from Outlook to .pst format. Using this PST file, you can import all the users into your new Outlook profile.

    If you found this answer helpful, please don't forget to upvote it.

    Thank You

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  3. Gopal Agarwal 401 Reputation points

    You can also use Symbolic Link. It can be created using the mklink command to move the OST file to another location.

    The steps are as follows:

    • Close Microsoft Outlook and then copy the OST file from its default location (%localappdata%\Microsoft\Outlook) to the new location where you want to store it.
    • Now open Command Prompt as administrator.
    • Execute following mklink command: mklink “C:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\abc@xyz .com.ost” “E:\MyOSTDataFile\abc@xyz .com.ost”

    This creates a symbolic link to move the OST file. A shortcut is created at the default OST file location (C:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\abc@xyz .com.ost) that redirects the Outlook to the new location (E:\MyOSTDataFile\abc@xyz .com.ost).

    To revert or change symlink, delete the shortcut (symbolic link).

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  4. Clara Bellows 1 Reputation point

    Hi, I just read your topic; you need to move your Outlook OST file to a new location. Then I recommend that you read this blog it is help full to change your file location.


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