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How to add IMAP account to Outlook but at the same time link it to an existing OST file? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello.  I currently have Outlook 2013 installed (Win 10, x64), and I have added to it an IMAP email account.  The folder structure for that account is stored in a local OST file, as well as on my server.  For various reasons, I have to uninstall Office from my computer, then reinstall it.  After I re-install Office, I will want to add the same IMAP email account to Outlook.  How can I take care to ensure that Outlook imports all emails, and creates the same folder structure, when I re-add it to Outlook?

    • When I do so, is there a way to point the new IMAP account to the existing OST file?
    • Or, should I make a PST backup now, then somehow import from PST when I re-add the account to Outlook?  Is that even possible when adding an IMAP to Outlook?
    • Or, when I add the IMAP account, will Outlook ensure that it matches the folder structure on my server?  When I add an IMAP account, shouldn't Outlook immediately begin downloading files and folder structure from my server?  If so, then this sounds like a viable solution, and I might be overthinking this task.  If this is the solution, does that mean that my current OST file will be useless after I re-add the account to Outlook?

    Thanks in advance.

    Wednesday, August 23, 2017 9:34 AM

Answers

  • Hi cagross99,

    >> When I add an IMAP account, shouldn't Outlook immediately begin downloading files and folder structure from my server?

    Yes. Offline Outlook Data File (.ost) is a copy of information saved on your mail server. If you encounter problems with an offline Outlook Data File (.ost), the file can be deleted and recreated by downloading a copy of your items again. See the description in this article.

    So theoretically, Outlook will retrieve the online folders and emails just fine for the IMAP account after you reinstalling Office.

    Best regards,
    Yuki Sun


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they helped.

    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.


    • Marked as answer by cagross99 Monday, September 25, 2017 6:28 AM
    Thursday, August 24, 2017 7:22 AM

All replies

  • Hi cagross99,

    >> When I add an IMAP account, shouldn't Outlook immediately begin downloading files and folder structure from my server?

    Yes. Offline Outlook Data File (.ost) is a copy of information saved on your mail server. If you encounter problems with an offline Outlook Data File (.ost), the file can be deleted and recreated by downloading a copy of your items again. See the description in this article.

    So theoretically, Outlook will retrieve the online folders and emails just fine for the IMAP account after you reinstalling Office.

    Best regards,
    Yuki Sun


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they helped.

    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.


    • Marked as answer by cagross99 Monday, September 25, 2017 6:28 AM
    Thursday, August 24, 2017 7:22 AM
  • OK.  I'll re-add the account and hopefully Outlook will re-download all emails and file structure.  Can we keep this open for a week or so until I get a chance to do that?  I will be sure to revisit this and post my results.

    Thursday, August 24, 2017 3:49 PM
  • OK here is what happened.  I first exported my email to a local PST.  It created a rather large PST file on my computer (~500 MB).  I then uninstalled Office, and was able to reinstall Office without issue.  But I then checked my email server, and all of my emails were gone.  The only explanation is that uninstalling Outlook for some reason deleted all emails from my server.

    Regardless, I have my PST backup.  But the issue is that importing it into Outlook is not working.  When I import (via File-->Options-->Advanced-->Export-->Import from another program or file), all of my folders appear in Outlook, but they are all empty--no emails are imported.

    Thoughts on this?  This is quite unfortunate.

    Thursday, August 24, 2017 6:32 PM
  • Hi cagross99,

    >>  But I then checked my email server, and all of my emails were gone.  The only explanation is that uninstalling Outlook for some reason deleted all emails from my server.

    Generally, for IMAP account using .ost, the emails won't be deleted from sever after reinstalling Outlook.
    By "checked my email sever", do you mean you have logged into web to check the mails?

    Please check if you have configured this account via POP on other devices. 

    Besides, please try changing the view to IMAP messages via View > Change View:

    Best regards,
    Yuki Sun


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they helped.

    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.


    Friday, August 25, 2017 2:27 AM
  • >> By "checked my email sever", do you mean you have logged into web to check the mails?

    Yes.

    >> Please check if you have configured this account via POP on other devices. 

    I have not added this email account to any other devices or applications.

    >> Besides, please try changing the view to IMAP messages via View > Change View:

    I tried this, but it did not change anything.  If the emails are not on the server, will this do anything?

    On my computer is still the previous OST file.  Am I able to use that at all to recover my emails?

    Thanks.

    Friday, August 25, 2017 7:48 AM
  • Hi cagross99,

    Sorry for the delay.

    >> On my computer is still the previous OST file.  Am I able to use that at all to recover my emails?

    As far as I know, by design Outlook doesn’t support manually opening or importing items from an offline Outlook Data File (.ost).

    In this situation, I'm afraid a third-party convertor tool would be the only choice. 

    Best regards,
    Yuki Sun


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they helped.

    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.


    Monday, September 4, 2017 9:48 AM
  • OK understood.  To update you, in Outlook, I was actually able to re-import the folders/email from my PST backup.  But a subsequent issue arose:  none of those folders or emails will sync to my web server--i.e. none of the folders and emails I imported into Outlook will appear in webmail.  I created a new topic in this forum (see here).  I guess we can close this thread--but to be honest, I'm a little reluctant to mark any of these replies as 'the answer.'  But I'll go along with whatever you decide.

    Thanks.

    Monday, September 4, 2017 10:12 AM
  • Hi cagross99,

    Thanks for your feedback and great to see that the folders/email have been re-imported. Regarding the sync problem, have you checked if these folders are labeled as “the computer only”? 

    If you prefer focusing on the new created you mentioned above, it would be appreciated that you can mark any one of the helpful replies as answer to close this thread. Many thanks for your understanding. 

    Best regards,
    Yuki Sun


    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they helped.

    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.


    Tuesday, September 5, 2017 1:59 AM