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8 Common MS Outlook Problems and their Resolution

Microsoft Outlook is one of the most popular email clients, especially in the corporate environment. In this post, we will present several most common problems with the program, and some ways to resolve the issues.

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Outlook not implemented

Users may receive this error message when they try to open Microsoft Outlook. It indicates that Outlook cannot open because it has been damaged. How you repair Outlook depends on which versions of Outlook and Windows you're using. If you're running Outlook 2010 on Windows 7, open the Control Panel and go to Programs -> Programs and Features. Select the Microsoft Office listing and then click Change. When the Office 2010 splash screen displays, choose the Repair option and follow the prompts

Outlook closing at random or not starting properly

When your email client is refusing to start properly, and you see that the program performance looks crippled or corrupted, you can follow the steps, recommended below, one by one. After each step completion check if performed action resolved the issue, otherwise continue to the next step.
  1. Run scanpst.exe on your Personal Folder. The default location of scanpst.exe is:
    C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\
  2. Rename outcmd.dat to .old and restart Outlook to reset all the toolbars (a common Outlook problem). The file location is: C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
  3. You can try recreating the profile in Control Panel > Mail > Show Profiles
  4. Try running Outlook with the /safe switch: Start > Run > type: outlook /safe
    In some cases you may have to enter the full path to Outlook: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Outlook.exe" /safe
    Once Outlook is running, run Help > Detect and Repair
  5. Start in safe mode again and disable individual add-ons in Tools > Options > Other > Advanced E-mail Options > Add-In Manager/COM Add-ins

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Unable to send emails

The problem with complications to send emails is usually related to the address of the outgoing email message. If you encounter this message, check the To: address first. Some versions of Outlook will state that the destination email address is unrecognized. This error can also occur when there's a problem within HTML-based email messages. Changing the outbound message's format from HTML to other formats may resolve the issue.

Unable to delete emails

Outlook error can prevent you from removing unwanted messages from you inbox. The problem is usually attributed to corrupt file. As a result of this a copy of emails that have been removed already end up in the deleted folder of Outlook. This prevents your program to delete unwanted messages. To fix the problem, you can follow the below step:
  1. Select all the messages of ‘Delete’ Folder and copy them to another folder.
  2. Close Outlook
  3. Set hidden files to be displayed by going to the Windows setting
  4. Search for the file ‘Deleted Items.dbx
  5. Delete the file
  6. Re-hide the files by going back to settings

Unable to receive emails

This Outlook error prevents new mails from being received by the program and could be quite frustrating as you will no longer have access to the received messages till the problem is fixed. Usually this problem is caused by overabundance of messages and therefore this error is easiest to eliminate. When you reach the limit of storage capacity of your email account, no more messages can be added. In order to have access to those messages again and start receiving new ones, you should do the following:
  1. Delete older messages that you no longer need
  2. Shift messages from Outlook to a different folder on your hard drive
  3. Increase the disk space allotted for your email account

Common Outlook problems with reminders

Reminders represent very useful feature in the MS Outlook, helping you to survive in the fast pace modern environment. The common problems with reminders might be: not triggering any alarms, reminders not showing up, or “Cannot turn off the reminder” error.

  1. Start Outlook and go to the “Tools” menu and select “Options”. 
  2. Go to the “Advanced Option” button and choose “Reminder Options”.  Make sure that the “Display reminder” check box is highlighted and click “OK” (If the check box was not selected, enabling it will fix the problem).  If it was already selected, continue fixing the damaged reminder files.
  3. Close Outlook and click on “Start”, choose “Run”. Type the following command “outlook /clean reminders” in the “Open” box and choose “OK”. 
  4. Check whether your Outlook problems with the reminder are fixed. If not, let’s try something else.
  5. Click the “Start” button and select “Run” and type “outlook/resetfolders” in the “Open” box and click “OK”.
  6. Outlook should immediately replace the missing or corrupt files and fix your Outlook problems.

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Error 0x800420CB

PC users simply loathe this cryptic error message and once you get this message, you would not be able to open or read your messages, which could be very frustrating. Most commonly this error is caused by a corrupt .dbx file associated with Microsoft Outlook. The real culprit behind the corruption of the file is not always known. The problem can be fixed in a few steps:
  1. Click on ‘Tools’ in the main menu
  2. Select ‘Accounts’
  3. Click on ‘Mail’ from the tab options.
  4. Select ‘Duplicate Mail Account’
  5. Click on ‘Remove’
Following these steps, make copies of all the accounts and remove old ones. Most of the time this fixes the error but if the problem persists, try using the Windows Search Utility to locate the Microsoft Outlook .dbx file and rename it.


Mapi32.dll, also called Windows messaging application programming Interface, is a critical file present on all versions of Outlook.  Unfortunately, a lot of Outlook problems occur because of this important file, such as Mapi32.dll is missing, Mapi32.dll not found, Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook as MAPI32.DLL is corrupt or the wrong version…

There are some recommendations on how to solve the problem:
  1. Mapi32.dll is missing”:  If you are getting this error message, use the “Fixmapi.exe” program to find a fix for such Outlook problems. This program was created by Windows to repair and replace missing files in Mapi32.dll.
  2. Mapi32.dll not found”:  This error message occurs when you can’t use various mail or mail merge functions.   As mentioned above, the best option is to better replace the Mapi32.dll file. But be careful while downloading the replacement file from the Internet. Outlook problems will pop up if you don’t download the right version from the right website.
  3. Outlook problems due to viruses: Most Outlook problems happen due to viruses. So, it always better to scan for viruses regularly to avoid conflicts. Small .dll files are more vulnerable to virus attacks as compared to larger files. So keep your antivirus updated.
  4. Registry cleaner can resolve Outlook problems: Registry cleaner is the easiest fix for a number of small issues. Whenever various files and programs get damaged in the registry, the registry cleaner gets initialized automatically to repair the issue.

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