Offline storage table (OST files) allows Outlook user to work conveniently even in the offline mode, because of the capability to synchronize and restore the offline updates on to the server without troubling the users. Besides the offline working convenience, OST file serves as a crucial data backup for user mailbox when the user has accidently deleted the mailbox items. However, the problem arises when corruption enters the OST files from the influence of hard disk crashes or the virus attacks.
Corruption is a frequent problem while working with OST files, which sometimes become unavoidable in adverse situations like synchronization errors, runtime conflicts of Outlook with other programs, unreliable internet connection, abrupt system shutdown etc.
Although, Microsoft has provided an inbuilt OST Integrity Check utility (scanost.exe) to diagnose and verify the integrity issues of synchronized data. Unfortunately, if you are using Outlook 2010 or later versions, then this OST integrity Checker Tool (scanost.exe) is unavailable on them.
If you are using Outlook 2007, then you can easily find it on the default location of your machine: drive:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12
Note: In order to access OST Integrity Checker tool, you need to first exit from Outlook application. It is not accessible while using Outlook program.
What CAN and what not can be done using Scanost.exe Utility
The role of Scanost.exe utility is to scan and compare each folder & item of the OST files and mailbox items available on the Exchange Server. So, if the utility finds any discrepancies in the results of synchronization between the client and server, then it attempts to reconcile them effectively.
However, at times you might have to manually fix the issues that are rejected by the tool performed during the scan log. You can find the scan log in your Deleted Items folder of Outlook.
To make effective use of this OST Integrity Check utility, you must have to connect with the server in order to scan all the integrated folders and items of the mailbox. Also, you need to temporarily change the Outlook startup settings, if you have previously enabled Outlook set up to start offline automatically. This step will allow scanost.exe utility to efficiently access and scan the mailbox data on the running Exchange Server.
Drawbacks Associated with OST Integrity check tool
Though, OST Integrity Check utility can assist in diagnosing and repairing the error of the file, but you cannot ignore the fact that it has sluggish recovery process, which often provides unsuccessful results to fix the severely-corrupted problems and errors of OST files. The recovery time is proportionally dependent upon the size of the OST file, therefore the efficiency gets poorer with the increase in the file size. The utility is effective only for repairing minor synchronization issues.
Underneath is the list of limitations associated with OST Integrity Check tool:
- Suitable only for minor corruption issues but still no guarantee for data recovery
- Unsuccessful recovery of data when OST file size gets corrupt due to exceeding size of the pre-default storage quota.
- Unable to work when Exchange Server is down or unavailable. It is also ineffective in a case where the host machine is not connected with the server.
- Unsuccessful to repair corruption issues in header part of the data file
- Cannot recover and restore lost/deleted emails and data items
- No integrity assurance upon the recovery process.
- Unable to recover data from password-protected OST files.
- Scans corrupted files, but sometimes diagnose no errors in the results.
However, there is an alternative to OST Integrity Check tool for recovering OST files without worrying about the corruption or severity associated with the file. Try using a reliable third-party recovery software to recover lost or inaccessible Outlook emails without wasting any time and efforts. RecoveryFix for OST to PST software offers a safe solution to repair and restore OST file items (even the deleted ones) in a single cycle. It offers the desired simplicity, accuracy and speed to repair OST data files and convert them to PST, MSG or EML format without a sign of trouble.