Difference Between OST and PST File Format – Know Here

Christopher Plummer | March 22nd, 2023 | Outlook

If you are a user who wants to know the difference between OST and PST File formats, follow this article strictly. In this blog, we are going to tell you about the difference in OST vs PST format.

OST and PST are just the email formats that are used by Outlook to store the email messages.

Outlook is an email client program developed by Microsoft that allows users to send and receive emails on their computers. It is specially designed as an independent personal mail client for scheduling, grouping, and managing emails and tasks.

Let us talk about OST vs PST in detail;

OST and PST are just the file formats to store email messages. OST file is used as Outlook Data file to store emails on offline storage; but currently, PST is mostly preferred. PST File is created by the user itself to export Outlook Data such as emails, contacts, calendars, notes, etc. Whereas OST File is created by Outlook and makes it possible for the users to work even offline. It can also be used in the Exchange server. OST File also enables users to edit or delete as well as reply to emails in offline mode.

What do OST and PST stand for?

An offline Outlook data file (.ost file) stores an offline copy of the Outlook data item on the server. Users can work with an OST file even if they don’t have access to the server. Users can edit data, save emails as drafts, add and delete contacts, and so on.

Personal Storage Table (PST) in Microsoft Outlook stores copies of messages, contacts, calendars, and other items on the user’s system from the Outlook account. The PST file format is a universally accepted file format. A default PST file is automatically created when a user creates an account in Outlook. A PST file can also be password-protected to prevent unauthorized access.

When a user works without access to a server, M.S. Outlook creates a carbon copy of the mailbox and saves it locally on the user’s system.

Difference Between OST and PST File Format

  • OST stands for Offline Storage Folder, which is created by M.S. Outlook and Server to store offline copies of data, whereas PST stands for Personal Storage Table, which is not created by Outlook or Exchange Server. It is used by users to store emails, contacts, and calendar entries, among other things. PST files are ideal for backup because they can be stored anywhere and transferred easily from one system to another.
  • You can work in an OST file even if you don’t have a connection to the Exchange Server (when Offline), and once you do, it synchronizes with the mailboxes on the Exchange Server, whereas PST doesn’t.
  • OST files are only compatible with Microsoft Exchange Server, whereas PST files can be used with a variety of services.
  • The built-in utility Scanpst.exe is used to solve minor problems and repair PST, while Scanost.exe is used to repair OST.
  • The MAPIEntryID GUID key is used to encrypt the Offline Folder or OST file by default. So that, it can only be accessed using the original MAPI profile. However, PST is not encrypted by default. To access mailbox items, anyone can copy or move a PST file to another PC or Outlook profile.
  • When the system isn’t connected to the internet or there is a network connectivity issue, you can also use and access the OST file as Outlook allows offline access to mailbox data.
  • PST files are frequently used for backup and migration because they are simple to open, access, and import into any Outlook account. Multiple PSTs can be opened and accessed at the same time without any problems.

Now we have covered the basic difference between OST and PST file formats. We hope that you fully understood and analyzed the differences between them. PST file is most preferred by users due to the following advantages:

Benefits of PST File Over OST

  • PST files can be transferred to a local computer, whereas OST files must be synchronized separately using a server.
  • PST files can be uploaded to other email services, but OST files can’t be moved unless they’re converted first.
  • Although PST files can be automatically backed up and restored, OST files still require server synchronization.

Pro Tip: Convert OST to PST Automatically!!

If you are in need to try a different file format to favor PST files over the OST files. Use Advik OST to PST Converter to export emails from Outlook data file in PST File Format. This tool allows you to selectively choose required OST Files or Outlook mailboxes as per their need and choice. PST files are very easy to access in comparison to OST Files and by using this tool, you can convert OST emails to PST file format in just 4 easy steps. It can even convert large, corrupt, inaccessible Outlook Data Files to the desired file formats such as PST, MBOX, EML, MSG, PDF, CSV, etc.

Final Words

In this blog, we have explained the difference between OST and PST file. I hope that you have got an accurate knowledge of OST and PST File Formats. Both formats have their own importance in using Outlook and for transferring Outlook Data files, the PST file format is mostly preferred.