Change location of Outlook 2016 OST or PST files

Jean Gionet's picture

If you’re like me, you're probably running Windows 10. The majority of your AppData files are stored on this C: drive which can take up quite a bit of space especially if you have a SSD drive with limited space.

When I was trying to sync my Gmail account (which I’ve had since 2004) with Outlook 2016 I soon realized all these email messages were going to take quite a bit of storage space. I tried moving the OST file Outlook 2016 created when I added my Gmail account, however Outlook simply re-created the file in it’s default location. No registry or other “fixes” I found on the web seemed to make it possible to move.

So, after trying different ways I decided to use a nice little command that Windows 10 has called MKLINK. Using MKLINK you can create a symbolic link from any file at any location to another file or location. Pretty much a “shortcut” to the file.

To do this, I did the following:

  1. Open a CMD (Command Prompt) as an administrator. (Run as Admin)
  2. Locate your Outlook OST/PST AppData files.
    • Typically, this is: C:\Users\<your username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
    • Mine was called “<my email address> - Jean Gionet.ost”
  3. Now I have a 1TB drive in my machine which is assigned to the D: drive. This is where I want to move and store my Outlook OST/PST files.
    • Using File Explorer, I created these folders: d:\users\<my username>\Outlook Files\
  4. Now MOVE/cut your “<my email address> - Jean Gionet.ost” from your C: drive and paste it in “d:\users\<my username>\Outlook Files\”.
  5. Now back to your Command Prompt type for following replacing the <> and D: values with your own.
    • mklink /d "“<my email address> - Jean Gionet.ost" "D:\Users\<my username>\Outlook\<my email address> - Jean Gionet.ost"
    • Press ENTER
    • You should get this message:
    • symbolic link created for\<my username> - Jean Gionet.ost <<===>> D:\Users\<my username>\Outlook\<my username> - Jean Gionet.ost
  6. You can verify that your old file is now a symlink by looking at it in File Explorer.
  7. Your Done!
  8. You can NOW open Outlook 2016.

Hope this helps someone who’s been trying to find a workaround for moving OST/PST files!