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Microsoft KB Archive/173356

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Knowledge Base

XCLN: Protecting an OST File

Article ID: 173356

Article Last Modified on 8/17/2005


  • Microsoft Exchange Client 5.0
  • Microsoft Exchange Client 5.0

This article was previously published under Q173356


There is no way to password-protect an offline folder (OST - Offline Folder Storage - .Ost file), as you can with a .Pst file. Nonetheless, the .Ost file is safe because it is specific to the particular Exchange user profile. The Exchange user profile is in the registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER and cannot be accessed without logging on as the proper user.


Under Windows 95, users can customize their preferences and desktop settings. Windows switches to your personal settings when you log on. This option can be found by opening Control Panel, double-clicking the Passwords icon, and clicking the User Profiles tab.

(You can also do this with the Roving Users setup in Windows 95. If the option "All users of this PC use the same preference and desktop settings" is selected from the Control Panel, Password, User Profile tab, then Windows defaults to the default user profile, and there is no protection of the OST file. Any user will have access to the offline folder.)

Under Windows NT Workstation 3.51 and 4.0, you must log on to either the domain or the local computer. You are not given a default profile to use. The OST file is protected through the Windows profile as long as the client is not using the default user profile. However, if the user does not log on using his or her Windows username and password, the user will not be able to access his or her OST file.

For more information about OST and PST files, see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

161889 XCLN: OST and PST Quick Reference

Additional query words: Win95

Keywords: kbfix kbusage KB173356