Microsoft Outlook, while popular, is not a perfect email tool. There are many common issues that users face that can spoil the experience. Here is a list of the common issues of Microsoft Outlook and the best approaches.
Note: due to various Outlook versions on the market, there are different approaches to solve the common issues. Our solutions here work best with Outlook 2016 and above.
1. Outlook Send/Receive Error
The Outlook Send/Receive error is the most common annoying problem that many users have reported. According to the Microsoft Support website, there are many solutions. We will cover the most useful ones below. But before that, check the following solutions first, which are easier and will fix the error in most cases.
- Ensure that you are connected to the Internet.
- Clean up any messages that are stuck in your Outbox.
- Ensure that your Outlook email settings are correct.
Only when these simple solutions don’t work, should you proceed to one of the following methods.
Solution A: Use Microsoft Outlook Inbox Repair Tool
Go to the Control Panel from the Windows 10 Start menu and change the appearance of icons to “small.” You will be able to see a File Explorer Options tab. Click it to open a new window.
Go to the “View” tab and check “Show hidden files, folders, and drives.”
From the Windows 10 Start menu, open the “Scanpst.exe” file. It will lead to the Inbox Repair tool. Click “Start” to repair the Outlook client. This takes care of the Send/Receive issue and many other error-related problems.
Solution B: Open Microsoft Outlook in Safe Mode
Another way to fix the Send/Receive error is to open Microsoft Outlook in Safe mode. It will help bypass any bugs in the client that will not go away before the next restart/update.
Go to the Start menu and enter
outlook.exe /safe. This will launch Outlook in Safe mode, which is the older Outlook client.
Click “Show Progress” and “Download Preferences.” You can choose to download headers and then full items. The Send/Receive error should be resolved by this step.
Solution C: Terminate and Restart the Outlook App
As a last resort, you can go to the Start menu in Windows 10 and search “Apps & Features.”
Select “Mail and Calendar” in the apps if Outlook has been kept as the default. Click “Terminate” and Restart the app.
In the extremely rare case none of these methods work, go to “Step 5,” which is Microsoft’s latest approach to make Outlook failure-free.
2. Cannot Open Outlook Window/Outlook Won’t Open
This is a common error indicating the data file where all Outlook information has been stored cannot be opened. The problem can be fixed simply by restarting Outlook in safe mode (see above).
Another method is to use “reset navigation pane,” a feature that resets the navigation pane settings to its default settings. This is effective in doing a clean start to the Outlook client.
outlook.exe /resetnavpane in the Start menu to reset the navigation pane.
You can also close the Taskbar window display of the Outlook.exe file using a simple Ctrl + Alt + Del. On a successful restart, the problem should be resolved.
3. Increasing PST File Size
If you use Outlook frequently, you may have accumulated an enormous number of emails. This leads to Outlook slowdowns, as the email client has to process a larger PST file.
To fix this issue in Outlook 2016 and above, go to “File -> Account Settings -> Account Settings.”
Once the Account Settings window is open, go to “Data Files -> Settings.” Click “Outlook Data File Settings” in the “Advanced” tab, then “Compact now.” In just a short time, the PST size will return to normal.
4. Slowdown by Add-in Applications
Often, without our knowledge, we install many extra programs to Outlook which cause slowdown issues. If you don’t need the add-ins, you can easily get rid of them to ensure the message window is not cluttered and the emails open quickly.
Go to “File -> Options,” which will open a new window for Outlook-related tasks.
Navigate to the “add-ins” menu in this new window. Here you can see a list of all active, inactive, and disabled add-ins. Scroll down to “Manage -> COM Add-ins” and click Go.
In the dialog box that opens, you can remove any unnecessary add-ins by checking it. On the other hand, if you uncheck any items, they will become inactive and will not show up while starting the Outlook client.
5. Outlook Crashes Frequently
Although much rarer with Outlook 2016 and the latest Outlook 2019 client, this error may sometimes show up, crashing your Outlook window suddenly, forcing you to restart the client. To solve the Outlook crashing problem, Microsoft has recently introduced an excellent single-window solution it hopes to extend for all possible Outlook issues.
Download Microsoft’s Outlook Advanced Diagnostics. Close the Outlook client and Run the diagnostics tool .exe in Administrator mode.
Once installed, the tool will run a set of diagnostic checks and then return some possible solutions for you to try to fix Outlook connectivity issues.
Select “Outlook” among the applications that have problems.
Select the concerned “Outlook crashing problem” from the menu. In the next step, you will have to authenticate your Outlook account with Microsoft credentials.
Walk through the next few steps, and Outlook will have resolved any issues that cause crashing. The same tool can be used for many other issues including:
- Any Outlook Calendar issues
- Outlook continually asking for password
- Outlook continually trying to connect or getting disconnected
All of these issues are rarely encountered if you have Outlook 2016 and above. If for some reason you’re not satisfied with Outlook’s performance, check out some of its alternatives or switch to Mozilla Thunderbird.