Outlook Data File Cannot Be Accessed? Here’s How to Repair it!

When I was using Microsoft Outlook not too long ago, I saw a message that said there was a problem with the accessibility of its OST file. OST (Offline Storage Table) files are of the utmost significance since they enable us to access Outlook data even when we do not have an active internet connection. However, Outlook may have issues if the OST file is damaged or unable to be accessed by Outlook.  In this article, I’ll tell you what to do if you can’t access your Outlook data file.

Common Accessibility Errors with Outlook

Before diagnosing this issue, we must look at some of the more typical accessibility problems observed in Outlook.

  • The OST file cannot be found in any location or on any device.
  • Outlook is unable to show the collection of folders and files.
  • The OST file is already being used by one of the supported applications.
  • The user cannot view the OST file because it has been locked.
  • Another user is now accessing the OST file, which means that an instance of the File is either still running or is being accessed.
  • Exit any other applications that are currently utilizing the OST file.
  • Unable to find either the file path or the storage location for the OST file.
  • The default OST file cannot be seen because another program is now using it.
  • Due to an error that occurred with Outlook, it cannot load the requested OST file.

Why Outlook Cannot Access an OST File?

As we discussed earlier, several issues might contribute to the Outlook data file not being an accessible problem. Consequently, if you are unable to access an OST file in Outlook, you should make an effort to analyze the situation, as it may be caused by one of the following issues:

  • Inaccessibility: The OST file you want to view may not be present in its original place, rendering it inaccessible (i.e., the File could be moved or deleted).
  • File Corruption: You can see this error if the OST file you are attempting to open has been corrupted by another program, a virus, or both.
  • Unauthorized Access: If you are not the Administrator of the OST file or do not have the appropriate authority to access the OST file, then this can lead to the problem with the File’s inaccessibility.
  • Synchronization Issues: The issue may have arisen due to syncing errors between Outlook, Exchange, or your email server.
  • Corrupt Add-ins: This problem might occasionally be caused by unwanted or corrupt plugins (Outlook add-ins).
  • Other Reasons: In addition, the difficulty might be caused by a sluggish network connection, a firewall provided by a third party, issues with the server, incompatible data, etc.

How to Solve the “MS Outlook OST File Cannot Be Accessed” Problem?

Great! Now that we have gone over all the fundamentals let’s learn how to repair the Outlook data file that cannot be accessed by adopting various methods shown here.

Method 1: Turn off the Compatibility Mode in Outlook

Outlook, like other pre-installed programs in Windows, can operate in a compatibility mode. Unfortunately, if the mode has been activated, it may create problems with the stored OST file’s accessibility.  If you cannot view an OST file in Outlook, you can go to the directory in which the Outlook.exe File is located. You can choose to go to its location directly or search for it using the search tool on the taskbar.

Once you have located the Outlook.exe File, right-click on it, and select Properties. Once you have the Properties box open, go to the Compatibility tab. From there, ensure that the option to Run this application in Compatibility Mode is disabled.

After that, you can relaunch the Outlook application, and you should have no problem accessing the OST file saved earlier.

Method 2: Get Rid of Faulty Outlook Add-ins

If Outlook cannot access OST files, as I have explained above, the problem might lie with one of the plugins you have installed. Thank goodness you won’t have trouble removing any add-in installed on your Outlook account. Run Microsoft Outlook, then go to its File > Options > Add-ins menu option.

Go to the Manage area of the Outlook Options box, and select COM Add-in from the list of available options. This will bring up the add-ins installed on your computer, allowing you to remove any plugin from Outlook. To deactivate any add-in, you to make your selection, then click the Remove button in the toolbar.

Method 3: Turn off the Exchange Cached Mode for your Account

The problem where an Outlook data file cannot be accessed may sometimes be traced back to synchronization issues between Exchange and Outlook. Simply turning off the cached mode in MS Exchange will allow you to overcome this problem.

Go to Control Panel > Mail > Email Accounts, choose the email account you want to change, and then click the Change button. You need to go to the Advanced Settings section of your user profile and deactivate the Exchange Cached Mode function there.

Method 4: Use Scanost.exe to Repair the OST File

If the OST file you’re attempting to access is corrupt, you’ll definitely have trouble accessing it. The good news is that Windows has a built-in solution called the Outlook Inbox Repair tool that can repair damaged OST files.

It would help if you began by locating the Scanost.exe program on your computer; you can often find it in the directory C: > Program Files > Microsoft Office. When you first run the Scanost.exe program, the user interface of the Outlook Inbox Repair utility will appear on the screen. You can now navigate to the OST file and load it to restore and correct it without difficulty.

Method 5: Repair the Installed Outlook Application

A defective application is yet another potential cause of the problem with the Outlook data file that prevents access to the File. In this scenario, you can easily repair the Outlook program by running a pre-installed troubleshooter on Windows.

You can pick the MS Office program already installed by navigating to the Settings > Apps and Features menu option on your machine. You now have the option to Modify the MS Office application that has been installed.

Now select the Repair option from the drop-down menu when it offers choices to reset or repair Microsoft Office. This will launch a new process for you to complete to execute a speedy or online repair of the Office apps installed on your computer.

Method 6: Convert the Corrupt OST File to Another Format (like PST)

Finally, if Outlook cannot open an OST file, you might try exporting it to another program. Recovery Toolbox OST to PST file converter is a helpful tool you can use if you want to solve this problem.

Convert online and load the corrupted OST file. After that, you can begin the conversion process; the data will be exported in a format compatible with PST without any issues. After the process, you can see your data, export the PST file, and open it in any other program, such as Thunderbird, Mail Spring, Mail Bird, and so on.

Method 7:  Use Recovery Toolbox for Outlook to fix your corrupt. PST file

With Recovery Toolbox for Outlook you can fix any PST files of different versions: ANSI (Outlook 97-2003), Unicode (2007 and above) and repair password-protected files. With the online Outlook recovery tool it’s easy to fix the error online on any devices and have no difficlulty fixing encrypted PST files and restoring OST files of any versions.

After reading this article, I do not doubt that you will be able to discover a solution to the issue where the Outlook data file cannot be accessible. Whenever Outlook is unable to access an OST file, the first thing I do is either stop any firewalls or remove any unnecessary plugins. In addition, if you cannot view OST files in Outlook, you can attempt to fix them or convert them to a PST format using Recovery Toolbox for Outlook. Both of these options are available to you. Through this method, it would be simple for you to access the data stored on Outlook or any other email service.