You can't change the location of the offline Outlook Data File (.ost) in Microsoft Outlook

Original KB number:   2752583

Symptoms

When you try to change the location of the offline Outlook Data File (.ost) in Microsoft Outlook 2013 or later versions, the Browse button on the Outlook Data File Settings page is disabled.

Cause

This issue occurs because of the deprecation of the classic offline mode in Outlook 2013 or later versions. This mode is a legacy data access method for online mode connections to Microsoft Exchange Server.

Workaround Method 1 - Create a new Outlook Profile and then change the location of the .ost file

  1. Copy the existing .ost file to the new location that you want to use. If you want to create a new .ost file instead, you can skip this step.

  2. Open Control Panel. To do this, use one of the following procedures, as appropriate for your version of Windows.

    • Windows 10 and Windows 8: Press Windows Key, and then type Control Panel and then press OK.
    • Windows 7: Select Start and then select Control Panel.
  3. In Control Panel, type mail to search for the Mail item, and then open it. If there are two Mail items, choose the one that is labeled with your version of Outlook, such as Outlook 2013 or Outlook 15 for Outlook 2013, or Outlook 2016 or Outlook 16 for Outlook 2016 (The screenshot for this step is listed below).

    Screenshot of the result after searching for the Mail item in Control Panel.

  4. Select Show Profiles.

  5. Select Add (The screenshot for this step is listed below).

    Screenshot of the Mail window which shows the add button.

  6. In the Profile Name box, type the name that you want to use for the new email profile, and then select OK (The screenshot for this step is listed below).

    Screenshot of the New Profile window where you can type a profile name.

  7. Select Next after Outlook finds your account information (The screenshot for this step is listed below).

    Screenshot of the Add Account window where you can select Next after Outlook finds your account information.

  8. After Outlook finishes the setup for your account, select the Change account settings option, and then select Next (The screenshot for this step is listed below).

    Screenshot of the Add Account window in which Outlook finishes the setup for your account.

  9. In the Server Settings section, select More Settings (The screenshot for this step is listed below).

    Screenshot of the Add Account window with the More Settings button under the Server Settings section.

  10. On the Advanced tab, select Outlook Data File Settings (The screenshot for this step is listed below).

    Screenshot of Microsoft Exchange window with Outlook Data File Settings button on the Advanced tab.

  11. Select Browse, browse to the .ost file that you copied in step 1, and then select Open. If you want to create a new .ost file, browse to the location where you want to save the new .ost file, type the file name that you want to use, and then select Open. Outlook will create the new .ost file (The screenshot for this step is listed below).

    Screenshot of the Outlook Data File Settings window with the Browse button.

    Screenshot of the New Outlook data file window which shows the new .ost file.

  12. Select Finish to finish the setup for your email account.

  13. Open Control Panel, and then open the Mail.

  14. Select Always use this profile, select the new profile that you created, and then select OK (The screenshot for this step is listed below).

    Screenshot of the Mail window with New Profile selected under Always use this profile.

Workaround Method 2 - Set the ForceOSTPath registry entry to change the location of the .ost file

Note

The value of the ForceOSTPath registry entry only works for a new Outlook profile.

Important

This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, see How to back up and restore the registry in Windows.

To set the ForceOSTPath registry entry in order to change the location of the .ost file, follow these steps:

  1. Select Start, select Run, type regedit in the Open box, and then select OK.

  2. Locate and then select the registry subkey: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\xx.0\Outlook

    Note

    The xx.0 placeholder represents your version of Office (16.0 = Office 2016, Office 365, Office 2019, or Office LTSC 2021, 15.0 = Office 2013).

  3. Right-click Outlook, select New, and then select Expandable String Value.

  4. Type ForceOSTPath, and then press Enter.

  5. Right-click ForceOSTPath, and then select Modify.

  6. In the Value data box, type the full path of where you want to store the .ost file (such as D:\MyOST), and then select OK.

  7. On the File menu, select Exit to exit Registry Editor.