Providing an initial OST file for an Outlook Cached Exchange Mode deployment

Outlook Cached Exchange Mode allows users to smoothly work online and offline. Users automatically retain access to their mail, calendar, address book, and other Outlook information by using a local cache file, the Offline Folder (OST) file. It is best to allow Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 to create the initial cache files (including the OST file), but it can be a slow process if users have large mailboxes and slow network connections. The best way to avoid the delay is to bring the user's computer to a location that has a fast Internet connection and enable Cached Exchange Mode at that time. If that is not possible, you can create an initial OST file and send it to the remote user (for example, by copying the file to a CD).

This article provides step-by-step procedures for creating an initial OST file, and then configuring Outlook on the user's computer to use the file when Cached Exchange Mode is enabled. It is important that you follow the procedures for creating and using the initial OST file exactly.

 Note   For information about configuring and deploying Cached Exchange Mode, see Setting Up Outlook 2003 Cached Exchange Mode Accounts.

Use the following procedure to create—as the administrator on a local computer—an up-to-date initial OST file for a specific Outlook 2003 user.

To create a initial OST file

  1. Log on as administrator at a workstation with Outlook 2003 installed. The administrator account must have permission to open the mailbox of the user for whom you plan to create the initial OST file.
  2. Delete all Outlook profiles. In Control Panel, click the Mail icon , and then click Show Profiles to view the list of configured profiles for Outlook. Also, delete any files in the default folder location for Outlook OST files. By default, Outlook OST files are located in the following folder: \Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook.
  3. Create a new Outlook profile (for the user you are creating the initial OST file for). Make sure that Cached Exchange Mode is enabled when creating the profile.
  4. After the new profile is created, start Outlook and wait for the mailbox to be completely synchronized between the client and the Exchange server. The status bar displays the synchronization status and reads All Folders Are Up to Date when the synchronization is complete.
  5. Exit Outlook. Then copy the OST file from the following folder to a location where the file can be accessed by the client computer: \Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook.

Now that you've created the initial file, copy it to the user's computer and configure the user's Outlook profile.

To use the initial OST file on the remote user's computer

  1. Log on to the user's computer as the user (not as administrator).

 Note   If you have more than one computer on which you want to install the same user’s OST file, you must create separate OST files for each computer. This is because each OST file is a unique replica of the mailbox and maintains a synchronization state that is unique to that file.

  1. Copy the files that you created in the previous procedure to the proper Outlook folder on the user's computer. For example, if the user's profile uses the default location for Outlook files, copy the files to the following folder: \Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook.
  2. Create an Outlook profile for the user. For step-by-step instructions on creating a new profile, see Add an Outlook e-mail profile. Make sure that Use Cached Exchange Mode is enabled for the profile.
  3. Next, verify that the Outlook OST files are in the correct location.
    • In Control Panel, click Mail, and then click E-mail Accounts.
    • Click View or change existing e-mail accounts.
    • Click Change, and then click More Settings.
    • On the Advanced tab, click Offline Folder File Settings.
    • Verify that the name and path of the OST file shown in File: match the name and path of the OST file you copied from the computer on which you were logged on as administrator.
  4. Log on to Outlook, using the user's profile. Be sure to log on when a network connection is available. When Outlook starts with the new OST file, a connection to the Exchange server is required to validate that the user is authorized to use the OST file.

The remote user's computer is now configured to use Outlook 2003 with Cached Exchange Mode, starting with the initial OST file you provided as the basis for a synchronized mailbox.

Applies to:
Deployment Center 2003