How to recover a mailbox from nothing other than an OST file?
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How to recover a mailbox from nothing other than an OST file?

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Once in a while, Exchange users encounter situations that demand manual recovery of mailbox utilizing Outlook. Fortunately, manual mailbox recovery can be performed using OST files, as they carry replicas of Exchange folders offline, therefore user can obtain required Exchange data from them easily.

In this guide we will show you how to easily recover a mailbox using OST file in two different scenarios.

Scenario 1: When the original Microsoft Exchange profile was not modified

In this case, you can start the Microsoft Exchange client offline with the old OST file. This way you can recover the data by moving the messages from the OST to a PST file.

Here are the steps to recover:

  1. Open Exchange Email application (Outlook) in offline mode
  2. Click on File menu > Open & Export > Import/Export
  3. Import & Export wizard will appear, click on Export to a file > Outlook data file (.pst)
  4. Choose the OST folders which contain the required Exchange information and click Next button
  5. Browse the location where you want to save the recovered data, and then click the finish button.

The messages are exported to the newly created PST. After this, you can copy and import the messages from the PST back to the server-based mailbox.

Scenario 2: If the original Microsoft Exchange profile was deleted, modified or lost

In this case, any accidental deletion of Exchange Server mailbox or any modification to the Exchange profile will orphan the Outlook OST file. This orphaned OST file is useless as it cannot be synced to extract information.

The only possible way is to recreate synchronization between Microsoft Exchange Server and outlook OST through the unique MAPI address.

  1. Connect Outlook with the original MAPI
  2. Connect the MAPI address to original Microsoft Exchange Server.

If you are dealing with old OST files or Exchange corruption, having the original MAPI address is highly unlikely. Similarly, if the OST file itself is in a bad or corrupt state, then it’s almost useless.



Recovering a mailbox from an OST file can be an easy process to do natively if the situation is a straight forward one. However, if you’re looking at a more complex environment or are having difficulty with the Exchange server or OST files themselves then it may make more sense to deploy Kernel for OST Recovery. The solution makes it easy to restore OST files to either a live Exchange server, a new PST file or to a pre-existing PST file as needed.

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