19 Oct 2013
Outlook connectivity troubleshooting
Microsoft Outlook quite often stuck because it cannot connect to its Exchange server. Sometimes closing Outlook and restarting will work. But in the other cases you need to perform more sophisticated actions. Let’s explain them below.
Uncheck offline mode
Sometimes it happened that that Outlook was somehow set to offline mode. If you're using Outlook 2007 or earlier, click the File menu. If there is a check mark next to Work Offline, uncheck it. All done.
If you're using Outlook 2010 or higher, follow these steps:
1. Click the Send/Receive tab.
2. Locate the Work Offline button.
3. Click the Offline button.
At the bottom of your Outlook window, you should see Trying To Connect.... If it connects, your problem is resolved; if not, move on to the next tip.
You should restart Outlook and, if that fails, restart your computer. And this tip works quite often indeed. The issue could be caused by the computer having connectivity issues. If you open your web browser and cannot reach a website or internal resources, that's most likely the problem.
If Outlook still cannot connect and you cannot reach any websites or internal resources, contact your IT department because you have a networking issue. Once that is solved, Outlook will be fine.
Outlook can use two types of data files (.pst and .ost), and both are susceptible to errors that can cause connectivity problems. Here's how I handle this:
1. Close Outlook.
2. Open the Control Panel.
3. Locate the Mail icon (depending on how Windows Explorer is set up, you might have to click the Users section to find the Mail icon).
4. In the resulting window, click Data Files.
5. Select your data file from the list and click Open File Location (Figure A).
6. Locate the data file in question (it will probably have the same name as your email address).
7. If the file has the extension .ost, rename the extension to .OLD. If the file has the extension .pst, do nothing at this time.
8. Close these windows and open Outlook.
Tip: You need to be able to see file extensions in order to know if your data file is a .pst or .ost. This is handled through Windows Explorer settings.
If your data file is a .pst, follow these steps to run Scanpst on the file:
1. Search for scanpst.exe through Windows Explorer.
2. After you locate the file (e.g., a location could be C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\), double click to run the application.
3. From the resulting window, click Browse (Figure B).
4. Locate your .pst file.
5. Click Start.
Scanpst will run eight passes over the data file; depending on the size of your data file, this can take quite awhile. If Scanpst finds errors in the data file, it will prompt you to click the Repair button. You should also check the box for Make Backup Of Scanned File Before Repairing in case something goes wrong.
After the repair is complete, close Scanpst and re-open Outlook. If Outlook still cannot connect, move on to the next tip.
You can run a repair installation of Microsoft Office; this will solve problems that standard fixes cannot repair. To do this, follow these steps:
1. Open the Control Panel.
2. Click Programs and Features.
3. Locate the entry for your Microsoft Office installation and select it.
4. Click Change.
5. Select Repair from the resulting window.
6. Click Continue.
7. Allow the repair to complete.
8. Reboot your computer.
After your computer has rebooted, start Outlook and hope for the best.
Recreate your profile
When all else fails, you can recreate your Outlook profile. You can create a new profile without deleting the old one. In order to recreate your profile, you need to know your account setting, so you should have that information before you begin. Here's how to create a new profile:
1. Open the Control Panel.
2. Open Mail.
3. Click Show Profiles.
4. Click Add (Figure C).
5. Give the profile a name.
6. Walk through the Outlook account setup wizard.
7. Once the profile is known to work, you'll either want to set that profile up as the default or delete the old profile.
If after all of above tips Outlook is still unable to connect, you need to call the IT department.
It may be a DNS issue, an Exchange issue, or a number of something else.