5 Most common Outlook issues and How to fix them

Outlook issues

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Are you having problems with Outlook? This Office application is notorious for its errors. Although some issues can be solved by logging out and signing back in or force quitting the app, there are still a few issues that would need further troubleshooting.

There are also Outlook issues that Microsoft’s Support and Recovery Assistant can solve. The tool also has a built-in troubleshooting program specifically for MS Outlook and other MS Office products.

This article provides solutions to 5 of the most common Outlook issues. The solutions here are gathered from Microsoft and other reputable websites and links to their respective troubleshooting guide.

Note: We strongly recommend that you only have one version of Office on your computer. For migration scenarios, Microsoft realized that there might be a need to have multiple versions of Office on the same computer for a short period of time. However, you must uninstall the older version as soon as you are done migrating Outlook files. If you need to fix Outlook on your Mac, please visit this link: Outlook for Mac Keeps Crashing at Startup? 11 Ways to Fix it!

If your copy of Office is too old and outdated, it might be time for you to upgrade to a later Office application such as Office 2019 or Office 2021. TurnkeyPoint sells high-quality product keys at a very affordable price! Feel free to browse our Office products here, instant MS Office 2021 product keys.

Below are some of the most common Outlook issues:

1. Outlook stops running, disappears, or crashes

If you can’t open Outlook, or Outlook disappears or crashes, one of your add-ins may be to blame or you may need to update Outlook. Some of the most common causes why Outlook crashes or does not work at all:

  • A damaged PST file
  • An Outlook add-in doesn’t work
  • A damaged Outlook profile
  • A problem with the Outlook app

Follow the methods below on how to troubleshoot Outlook issues.

Method 1: Investigate by running Outlook in safe mode

  1. If the app is open, exit Outlook.
  2. Open a Run dialog box. To do this, use one of the following procedures, as appropriate to your version of Windows:
    • If you’re running Windows 11, 10, Windows 8.1, or Windows 8, press the Windows logo key+R.
    • If you’re running Windows 7, click Start, type Run in the Search box, and then click Run.
  3. Type Outlook /safe, and then click OK.
  4. If the issue is fixed, click Options on the File menu, and then click Add-Ins.
  5. Select COM Add-ins, and then click Go.
  6. Click to clear all the checkboxes in the list, and then click OK.
  7. Restart Outlook. If the issue doesn’t occur, start adding the add-ins one at a time until the issue occurs.

Method 2: Repair Office to fix Outlook issues

  1. Open Control Panel, and then click Uninstall a program.
  2. In the list of installed programs, right-click the entry for your Office installation, and then click Change, and then click Online Repair.

Method 3: Run Outlook Diagnostics and find out what is causing Outlook issues

  1. Run Outlook won’t start automated diagnostics to fix the issues.
    • Note: Click Run when you’re prompted by your browser.
  2. If the tool doesn’t resolve the issue, go to Windows or Look to start Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant.
  3. On the first screen, select Outlook, and then select Next.
  4. Select any of the following options, as appropriate, and then select Next:
    • Outlook keeps hanging or freezing
    • Outlook keeps crashing with the message “Microsoft Outlook has stopped working”.SaRA runs some diagnostic checks and returns possible solutions for you to use to try to fix Outlook connectivity issues.

Method 4: Create a new Outlook profile

Note: If you ran SaRA in Step 3, and you created a new profile, you can skip all of Step 4.

  1. Open Control Panel, and then click Mail.
  2. Click Show Profiles.
  3. Select the profile that you want to remove, and then click Remove.Important: Removing the profile also removes associated data files. If you’re not sure whether the data files are backed up or stored on a server, do not remove the profile. Instead, go to step 4.
  4. Click Add.
  5. In the Profile Name box, type a name for the new profile.
  6. Specify the user name, the primary SMTP address, and the password. Then, click Next.
  7. You may receive the following message:Allow this website to configure [email protected] server settings. In this message, click to select the Don’t ask me about this website again check box, and then click Allow.
  8. When you’re prompted, enter your login credentials, and then click OK.
  9. When Setup is finished, click Finish.

Method 5: Run SaRA Advanced Diagnostics to solve Outlook issues

This step creates detailed information about your Outlook configuration and provides solutions for any known Outlook issues that are detected by the app.

  1. Click Outlook Advanced Diagnostics.
  2. Click Run when you are prompted by your browser.

2. Running Out of Mailbox Space, one of the most common Outlook issues

Are you getting weekly or even daily messages warning that you’re about to run out of mailbox space? One of the most common Outlook issues is caused by the build-up of emails in the inbox. Mailbox Cleanup is a one-stop-clean-up tool you can use to trim the size of your mailbox. The troubleshooting steps below will also Work on Mac.

1. In Outlook, choose File> Tools > Mailbox Cleanup.

2. Do any of the following:

  1. View the total size of your mailbox and of individual folders within it.
  2. Find items older than a certain date or larger than a certain size.
  3. Archive items by using AutoArchive.
  4. View the size of your Deleted Items folder and empty your Deleted Items folder.
  5. View the size of your Conflicts folder and delete this folder.
Mailbox Cleanup

Best practices in keeping your Outlook inbox clean

If your email is stored on an email server such as Exchange and reaches its upper limit, your administrator might start limiting functionality. For example, at 90 MB you might get a warning, at 100 MB you might be unable to send an email, and at 110 MB you might be unable to receive email.

Here are some ways to keep your mailbox size under control:

  • Archive older items – Move old items you want to keep to an archive. You can create a separate Outlook Data File (.pst) that you can open from Outlook any time you need it. By default, Outlook automatically archives items at a regular interval. You can also archive items manually whenever you want. That way, you can decide which items to archive, when to archive them, and where to store them.Note: If you don’t see the Archive command, your organization may have turned off the feature.
  • Empty the Deleted Items folder – Empty the Deleted Items folder frequently to make sure you aren’t keeping messages you don’t need.
  • Empty the Junk Email folder – Periodically empty the Junk Email folder to save your inbox space for messages you actually want.
  • Store attachments outside your mailbox – As attachments accumulate over time, they can take up a lot of space. For attachments you want to keep, consider saving them to a team site, to OneDrive, or to folders on your computer.

3. Outlook can’t send or receive emails

The easiest solution for this error is signing out and signing back into your Office account. This type of issue is typically caused by one or more of the following reasons:

  • An Outlook add-in doesn’t work
  • Wrong mail settings
  • Email blocking security software
  • A damaged Outlook profile
  • A problem with the Outlook app

Method 1. Try easy solutions first

Before doing advanced troubleshooting steps, you need to make sure to follow the simplest solutions first:

  1. Ensure that you are connected to the Internet.
    • Another issue could be that Outlook has been accidentally set to offline mode. This can happen if there’s a temporary problem with your internet connection, for example, and Outlook fails to go online again after connectivity is restored. Check the status at the bottom right of the Outlook window — you should see Connected. If it says Offline, click the Send/Receive tab in Outlook’s ribbon menu and then click Work Offline. This should de-select the mode and you should see the status revert to Connected.  
  2. Clean up any messages that are stuck in your Outbox.
  3. Ensure that your Outlook email settings are correct.

If the issue persists, time to dive into the more technical troubleshooting steps.

Method 2. Use Microsoft Outlook Inbox Repair Tool

You might want to use the Inbox Repair tool in the following situations:

  • You receive a message that Outlook can’t open your data file
  • You receive a message that Outlook can’t open the set of folders
  • If you think your Outlook data file may be damaged
  1. Exit Outlook and browse to one of the following file locations, select the path corresponding to the Office version installed on your computer:
    • Outlook 2021: C:\Program Files \Microsoft Office\root\Office16
    • Outlook 2019: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
    • Outlook 2016: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
    • Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15
  2. Open SCANPST.EXE.
  3. Select Browse to select the Outlook Data File (.pst) you want to scan. If you need help locating your Outlook Data File, see Locating the Outlook Data Files.Note: By default, a new log file is created during the scan. You can choose Options and opt not to have a log created, or you can have the results appended to an existing log file.
  4. Choose Start to begin the scan.
  5. If the scan finds errors, choose Repair to start the process to fix them.Note: The scan creates a backup file during the repair process. To change the default name or location of this backup file, in the Enter name of the backup file box, enter a new name, or choose to Browse to select the file you want to use. You may need to run the tool several times in order to repair your Outlook Data File. In some cases, items may not be recovered if they were permanently deleted or corrupted beyond repair.
  6. When the repair is complete, start Outlook with the profile associated with the Outlook Data File you just repaired.
    1. You can check the location of your Outlook Data Files in Outlook.
      1. Select File > Account Settings > Account Settings.
      2. Select the Data Files tab.
      3. All Outlook Data Files (.pst) and Offline Data Files (.ost) are listed along with the name of the account the files are associated with.

Method 3. Repair your copy of Office to fix Outlook issues

This process may take longer and can potentially reset your MS Office settings.

  1. Open Control Panel, and then click Uninstall a program.
  2. In the list of installed programs, right-click the entry for your Office installation, and then click Change, and then click Online Repair.

Or For Windows 10 and 11

  1. Opening settings
  2. Go to Apps> Apps and Features> Search and click MS Office (click the 3 dots if you are using Win11)> Modify> click Yes when prompted by the User Account Center> select Online Repair> Repair
  3. Wait for the process to be completed and reboot your computer

Method 4. Uninstall and Reinstall Office to fix Outlook issues

Remember that uninstalling/reinstalling Office will cause you to lose your unsaved files. Please make sure that you save all documents.

  1. Download and run MS Support and Recovery Assistant https://aka.ms/SaRA-officeUninstallFromPC
  2. Select the option to Remove all Office versions on this computer
  3. Reboot the computer
  4. Reinstall Office on your device
  5. Create a new profile

4. Outlook is not syncing

While Windows Updates provide your computer with the latest improvements for your machine, they could also affect Outlook. These errors can include sending, receiving, refreshing, or downloading any new emails. It is also also known to affect one Microsoft email courier but not another. If you facing this problem on your Windows 11/10 computer, and maybe see the message Problem connecting to Server, this is how you can repair your Outlook account.

The easiest solution for this is to force quit the app and restart it, you can also sign out and sign back in. In most cases, this should do the trick and get Outlook working again. If you have a problem syncing Outlook on Mac, please visit this article from Nucleus Technologies, Fixed Outlook for Mac Not Syncing with Exchange Server

Repair Account

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook and click on the File tab. Now under Info, click on Account Settings and open the settings for the affected account.
  2. When the Account Settings open, select the email account which is not syncing and then click on the Repair button.
    • The Repair Account box will open. Check your settings and fields and then click Next.
  3. Outlook will start the process to repair the Outlook account.
  4. It will enable network connection, search for the email account settings and log on to the server to confirm that all is fine.
  5. Once the process is completed, you may want to also click on the Change Account link, check the settings, and then click Next.
  6. Outlook will test the account settings and give you a message if all is well.
  7. Click Close, and you will see this box. Click on Finish.
  8. Restart your Outlook and see if this has helped you. If need me to sync manually by clicking on the Send/Receive button, the first time. If this does not help, maybe you need to create a new email profile.

If the solution above did not work, visit this support from Microsoft, Fix Outlook.com email sync issues

5. Outlook, or other Office applications, stops running after a Windows update

As bizarre as it may seem, it happens. On some occasions, Windows updates could disrupt Outlook or your entire Office suite. It causes Outlook issues like unable to send or receive emails, not connecting to the server, and so on.

Another is that the error could be caused by incompatibility with the recent Windows update and the add-ins you are using.

Some of these Outlook issues are already fixed by Microsoft, however, there are still recent issues that they are still working on. Follow the steps below to fix one of the most common Outlook issues.

Fixed outlook issues can be solved by repairing your copy of Microsoft Office:

  1. Open Control Panel, and then click Uninstall a program.
  2. In the list of installed programs, right-click the entry for your Office installation, and then click Change, and then click Online Repair.

For Windows 10 and 11

  1. Opening settings
  2. Go to Apps> Apps and Features> Search and click MS Office (click the 3 dots if you are using Win11)> Modify> click Yes when prompted by the User Account Center> select Online Repair> Repair
  3. Wait for the process to be completed and reboot your computer

However, if the solution above does not solve the problem, it is likely that MS has not rolled out the patch for the issue. In this situation, we recommend checking Microsoft’s support article for a workaround, Fixes, or workarounds for recent issues in Outlook for PC

Wrapping it up

MS Outlook issues can be solved, it may not be as easy, but you can make the application work by following the steps we have provided. Moreover, older Office applications may have compatibility issues with the newer Windows operating systems, you might want to consider buying a later Office application. Feel free to visit our product page at TurnkeyPoint.com!

If you are having a hard time fixing the problem, please feel free to reach out to our friendly Customer Support Representatives to help. We are available to help 24/7 via chat and email!

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