Normally Outlook connects to the Exchange Server in 2 ways; one is online mode and the other through Cached Exchange. As the name suggests, online mode maintains a direct connection and Cached Exchange, on the other hand, maintains a local copy called Offline storage table and allows you to work offline in Outlook.
Cached Exchange is available in Outlook 2003 and later versions in order to make offline folders more efficient and convenient. And one such feature under Cached Exchange is Exchange Recovery Mode.
When using Cached Exchange mode, users occasionally encounter problems usually related to the OST file. You may encounter errors like ‘Exchange is currently in recovery mode. You can connect to your Exchange server using the network, work offline or cancel’. What are the reasons for this error? And what are the solutions to resolve the same? This blog post is designed to address these details, so read on.
Reasons for the Outlook error ‘Exchange is currently in recovery mode’
- Differences in the copy of the OST file stored on local machine and the one in MS Exchange server
- When the database, Exchange server or mailbox associated with the .ost file is reset
- If you are using Outlook 2003 or later versions, but Cached Exchange mode is enabled and you reset Exchange mailbox, a new OST file is created. But the old OST file will become inaccessible. This may cause conflicts and lead to the error
You have 2 options while in the Exchange Recovery Mode. One is the Offline Mode, with this you can access data on your old OST file but you cannot access data available on the Exchange server. The second is Online Mode, where you can access the Exchange Server, but not the old OST file. Hence, you will need to selectively choose what data you want to access.
However, if the mailbox is not available or if there are inconsistencies with the old OST file (may be a result of corruption in OST file), then you will need to follow the steps below to exit Exchange Recovery Mode and solve the issue.
Solutions to resolve ‘Exchange is currently in recovery mode’
- Find the OST file
Close Microsoft Outlook and find the old .ost file. (You can use the Search feature or find it in :\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook on Outlook 2016). Similarly, you may have to find the location of OST file for other versions of Outlook
- Convert OST to a PST file
Now transfer all data from the old OST file to PST file using Yodot OST to PST converter. Using this tool, you can access data on a corrupt or inaccessible OST and convert it to a PST file. This way, you can have all your Outlook attributes like emails, calendars, notes, journals, contacts etc. safely maintained in a PST file that can be imported to Outlook at any point.
- Switch OFF Cached Exchange Mode
- Open Outlook and click on the Tools menu
- Choose Email accounts > View or Change existing email accounts > Next
- Choose the email account associated and click Change
- Then disable Use Cached Exchange Mode under the Microsoft Exchange Server tab
- Close Outlook
- Create a new OST file
Restart Outlook and check if it can connect to the server without any issues. Then send or receive emails using the corresponding mailbox. This will automatically create a new OST file and update the file using data available on the mailbox. However, if this method doesn’t work, you may have to create a new profile.
Once this is set up, you will have access to the new OST file and that will remain open as long as you are connected to the Exchange server. Now, you can also import data from the PST file created in Step 3 to access information that was available in the old OST file. If required, you can also copy the required items into your new OST file. That way, you have both data from the new OST file as well as the old OST file in your Outlook.