Stepwise Guide to Move IMAP OST File to Outlook 2016 Effortlessly

Beginning from Outlook 2013, Microsoft has changed the ways to handle IMAP accounts. It now creates only a single OST file to save all emails, contacts, calendars and other mailbox items. It has abolished the rule to create a PST file by default to store messages with attachments. This has made it difficult to move IMAP OST file to Outlook 2016 mailbox. In this post, possible ways have been described on how to import an old offline data file to Outlook 2016 account. It also describes an automated tool to make the task much easier.

How to Move IMAP .ost to Outlook 2016?

In earlier versions of Outlook 2010 and below, two data files were created with .ost and .pst extensions. This system was abolished from Outlook version 2013 and 2016. Now, only a single OST file is created for each IMAP account. This has made it difficult to move IMAP OST File to Outlook 2016. Earlier, one could simply save the old .ost file in Outlook mail folder and emails will show in Outlook application. Now, if Outlook 2013 does not find the appropriate folders then, the data will be saved under a "This computer only" folder.

Methods to Move IMAP OST File Outlook 2016

From Outlook 2013, every email that comes is now directly saved to the IMAP server. The OST file copies the server data and saves it locally is a single file. This file can not be copied elsewhere or changed otherwise all mailbox data will disappear from Mail application. To import an old OST to Outlook 2016, following methods can be devised.

Solution#1 : Manual Solution

By default, IMAP accounts in Outlook 2013 and 2016 do not create a .pst file. Instead, a single .ost file is created. To import data from an old OST to Outlook 2016 mailbox, it needs to be converted to PST. Then, this .pst file can be uploaded to Outlook 2016 account. Repeat the steps below to convert Offline storage table(.ost) to a .pst file.

First, export all old IMAP OST data to a new .pst file.

Next, copy this .pst file to the other computer with Outlook 2016.

Then, upload the PST to Outlook 2016 by following the below steps:

Step 1 : In Outlook 2016, go to File » Open and Export » Import/Export.

Step 2 : From the Import and Export Wizard, select Import from another program or file and click Next.

Step 3 : Next, choose Outlook Data File (.pst) and click Next.

Step 4 : Then, Browse to the folder location where the .pst file is saved and click OK.

Step 5 : Next, click Finish.

Limitation of Manual Approach

Lengthy Process : It can be very long and tiring approach considering large mailbox sizes or multiple mailboxes under the same domain.

Time-consuming : It can take a lot of time and man power to create an IMAP OST to Outlook PST file.

Irrelevant : A licensed Outlook 2010 or earlier version is required to create a .pst file from the old .ost file. This is quite irrelevant and can be easily avoided using automated solutions.

Sometimes unexpected power failure also leads to OST file corruption. Generally, this happens when a person was working with file when sudden failure took place. Mostly this power failure occurs when electricity supply gets lost.

Solution#2 : Using a Third-Party Software

There are workarounds available for everything including converting OST file to Outlook PST format. This is called an OST Conversion Software. It is a third-party tool designed to move Outlook offline data from one computer to another. It can easily convert .ost file from any of the Outlook version 2007 and above and create a new .pst file. There is no need to have an earlier version of Outlook licensed. Just start moving IMAP OST file to Outlook 2016 mailbox.

How migration tool benefit IMAP users?

  • Directly migrate OST mailbox to PST and Office 365 mailbox.
  • Recover any recently lost of missing data from the old .ost file.
  • Upload the exported .pst file to Outlook 2016 account.
  • Option to convert data without Outlook installation.

Final Words

This is the new age of technology. With cloud services, Microsoft is upgrading all the ways to import and export data in newer versions of Outlook. It has created many features for the convenience of its users. But this has also made it difficult to move IMAP OST File to Outlook 2016 mailbox. One indirect way has been described in this post to manually move IMAP ost file and then upload it. Another automatic solution has also been discussed in this post.