Why Outlook Can’t Find OST File? Unravelling the Mystery!

MS Outlook, Microsoft’s widely used email client, relies on several key files to function seamlessly. One such file is the Offline Storage Table (OST) file, which allows users to access their emails and data even when they are offline. However, encountering a situation where Outlook is unable to find the OST file can be frustrating and may hamper productivity. That can also lead to variousĀ OST file errors. In this blog post, we will explore some of the common reasons behind this issue and discuss possible solutions to help you get Outlook up and running smoothly again.

Reasons Why Outlook is Unable to Find OST File

Outlook, being a complex software application, may encounter various issues that can prevent it from finding the OST (Offline Storage Table) file. Here are some common reasons and solutions why Outlook may be unable to locate the OST file:

Accidental OST File Deletion

One of the most common reasons, why Outlook fails to locate the OST file is when it has been accidentally deleted or moved to another location. That can occur due to unintentional actions by the user or; by third-party applications, that have access to your Outlook files. Double-check your Recycle Bin or backup folders to see if the OST file has been mistakenly removed or relocated.

Solution: If you find the deleted OST file, restore it to its original location or, move it back to the default Outlook folder. If it is permanently deleted, you may need to rely on a data recovery tool to retrieve the file.

OST File Corruption

OST files are susceptible to corruption due to various factors such as sudden system shutdowns, malware infections, or hardware failures. When the OST file gets damaged, Outlook may struggle to locate it, resulting in errors and an inability to access your data.

Solution: Outlook provides a built-in repair tool called “Scanpst.exe” or “Inbox Repair Tool” that can fix minor OST file corruption issues. Locate the tool on your system and run it against the problematic OST file. For severe corruption;  the Magus OST recovery tool might be required to retrieve your data.

Outlook Profile Issues

Outlook profiles serve as containers for all the email accounts, settings, and associated files. Sometimes, profile misconfigurations or conflicts can lead to Outlook’s inability to locate the OST file.

Solution: Try recreating your Outlook profile by going to the Control Panel > Mail > Show Profiles. Create a new profile and set it as the default. Then, add your email accounts and import the OST file if it’s still accessible. That can resolve profile-related issues and allow Outlook to locate the OST file.

Misalignment of File Paths

If you have recently changed the location of your OST file manually; or due to a system reconfiguration, Outlook may struggle to find it. Outlook relies on specific file paths; to locate and access the OST file correctly.

Solution: Verify the file path and location of the OST file in Outlook’s settings. If you have moved it to a different directory, ensure that you update the file path accordingly. You can do this by going to File > Account Settings > Account Settings > Data Files and editing the file path for the OST file.

Synchronization and Connectivity Issues

OST files are primarily used for offline access to Outlook data, and synchronization is crucial for keeping them up to date. Problems with synchronization or connectivity, such as a poor internet connection or server issues, can lead to Outlook’s inability to find the OST file. It can also show an Outlook warning triangle.

Solution: Check your internet connection and ensure that it is stable. Restarting Outlook or rebooting your computer may resolve temporary synchronization issues. If the problem persists, contact your email service provider or IT support team to investigate potential server-related problems.

Any type of error message while opening MS Outlook, the yellow triangle mark on the Outlook icon, or Failure of the ScanPST tool to repair the OST file. All these are alarming situations to protect your data from permanent loss. You can do it either; by converting OST to PST or taking all the necessary precautions to prevent such mishaps.


When Outlook fails to locate the OST file; it can disrupt your email workflow and hinder productivity. By understanding the potential causes behind this issue, you can take the necessary steps to troubleshoot and resolve the problem. Whether it’s accidental deletion, file corruption, profile misconfigurations, misaligned file paths, or synchronization issues, there are several solutions available.

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