Is there an error that recently popped up preventing the OST file from updating in Outlook?

There could be many factors for the error to occur, and the solution to those varies accordingly: therefore, in this post, I will give you all the measures, which are free, manual, or paid, to help you eradicate the issue of Outlook OST file not updating.

Without wasting any time, let’s jump to the subject of concern.

What is an OST? How does it work?

An OST file is a short form for an Offline Storage Table file. This file is a live duplicate of the data in the IMAP/Exchange server (configured with a specific Outlook profile).
Furthermore, an OST file is usable even without an internet connection, and the changes made in offline mode synchronize with the IMAP/Exchange server whenever a user goes online.

Therefore, this functionality of an OST file is a common culprit for the OST file not updating in Outlook. Generally, an issue might appear in the OST file or the connectivity of the Outlook profile, resulting in an orphaned, corrupt, or broken OST file.

So, how to resolve Outlook OST not updating issues?

We can fix the “OST not updating in Outlook” problem by using multiple measures like:

  • Repair the OST file using scanpst.exe
  • Checking for specific settings and correcting them, if required.
  • Create a new OST file
  • Convert the OST file to PST format (if nothing else works).

Let’s move on to the next segment.

Reasons for the Outlook OST Not Updating Error

Any file can incur an error. Such errors can stem from the corruption of the file, some malware or virus, or sudden crashes.

Similarly, an OST file can come across many situations leading to the incursion of the OST file not updating in Outlook error.

Such instances are below:

The foremost factor is an issue with the OST file: the OST file could be corrupted or broken.
Problems with the connectivity between the Outlook profile and the IMAP/Exchange server
Issues arising from the Exchange/IMAP server can cause the “Outlook OST not updating” error.

  • Faulty settings of the Outlook profile and related elements
  • An orphaned OST file due to a severed link between the OST file and the Outlook profile is a common reason behind the error.
  • A virus or malware often causes the error.
  • A system crash or a software crash can inundate the “OST file not updating in Outlook” error.

Although these factors constitute the emergence of the “Outlook OST not updating” error, the error could be the result of factors not mentioned here.

Methods to Fix OST File Not Updated Error

Following are the methods to fix the problem of the OST file not updating in Outlook. I recommend you to take latest backup of OST file.

Method 1: Inspect the Send/Receive Setting

Outlook synchronizes an offline OST file automatically whenever the Outlook profile reconnects with the IMAP/Exchange server.
If the setting for automatic sync is off, we need to reestablish the auto-sync mechanism.

Accordingly, you should follow these steps:

  • First, go to Send/Receive
  • Second, choose the Send/Receive Groups option
  • After that, in the drop-down, click the Outlook profile
  • Then the Outlook profile synchronizes with the IMAP/Exchange server.

Once you have done this procedure, the OST file should work properly, and the problem of Outlook OST not updating should have been resolved.

Nevertheless, try the other methods if the above approach doesn’t perform.

Method 2: Repair The File to Fix The Error

As mentioned earlier, sometimes the OST file not updating in Outlook error emerges due to a problem with the OST file.

Therefore, we need to repair the OST file, and we can do this in the following steps:

  • Close Outlook and locate the scanpst.exe
  • Follow this path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office(A numerical value according to the version)
  • After that, launch scanpst.exe
  • Then browse and locate the OST file
  • Following that, click on Start and begin the scan
  • Then click on Repair.

Important Note: Though scanpst.exe can repair an OST file, it cannot repair damages beyond its scope.

In simple words, scanpst.exe is unreliable for most corrupted OST files, and you might need to deploy another approach.

Method 3: Recreate The OST File

One more way to patch the error of Outlook OST not updating is to create a new OST file. OST file auto-syncs every time the Outlook profile links with the IMAP/Exchange server.

It implies that if we delete or rename the OST file, the next time the Outlook profile reconnects with the IMAP/Exchange server, a new OST file is created.

Important Note: Please exercise caution and convert the OST file into the other format(PST), as doing so will create a backup of the OST file.

To achieve that, go through the following steps:

  • In Outlook, right-click on the profile
  • Then click on Open File Location
  • Now either delete the OST file or rename it.
  • Reopen Outlook, and this shall create a new OST file.

The new OST file should be free of any errors, and the issue of the OST file not updating in Outlook is hopefully slain.

Limitation of the Manual Methods

Although the manual methods provide some support in resolving the error of an OST file not updating in Outlook, it fails to encompass all the responsible factors.

Thus, the major limitation of the manual method is that they depend on the accessibility to the Outlook profile and IMAP account. They do not provide a solution when the OST file is orphaned.

For this reason, you need to use additional software to convert the OST file into PST to access the data locked in the OST file.


In conclusion, the error “Outlook OST not updating” emerges due to incorrect settings, auto-sync not working, corrupt OST file, etc. We can fix this issue using manual methods, but they do not function in all scenarios.

Consequently, you might have to use a third-party tool to lighten the weight and resolve the error completely.

By Jeff Bongino

After finishing my bachelor's degree ( in computer science, I entered the technological world. I have invested 8+ years to understand technological gap and their solution. I love to share my finding here.