In my experience, the most widespread issues that occur for both DMC users and our external customers, happen while using Microsoft Outlook. This is partially due to the fact that Outlook is quite possibly, the most important application and definitely the most used application in the office. Outlook may live locally or in the cloud via Office 365, which offers access to Outlook, Word, Excel, and other Microsoft Office tools from anywhere you can get a Web connection and from virtually any device. The main focus of this blog is to have one place to document some of the more common Outlook start up errors.
The majority of the issues that I’ve fixed have been startup related. Usually, if it’s an error while already inside of Outlook, it’s because you lost the network connection mid-session or your .ost file (outlook mail profile) temporarily became inaccessible. A restart of Outlook usually will fix this. However, it’s the Outlook start-up issues that plague and ANNOY us the most, and a simple reboot of your computer, doesn’t always fix these issues. Nonetheless, definitely try restarting your computer first before trying anything below!
A couple of side notes: While this is more specific to Outlook 2013 running on Windows 8, most of these fixes apply to the older versions as well. Also, these are very specific fixes to the problems I’ve encountered. This blog does not include the obvious, time consuming, and perhaps more risky fixes of completely uninstalling/repairing Outlook, running a scan on your OST file or deleting and recreating your profile from scratch.
Here are some of the most common errors I’ve encountered since I’ve been at DMC:
Problem One: Outlook Not Responding
When attempting to start Outlook, the splash screen comes up; however, your mouse cursor just spins and when clicking anywhere on the screen, it will tell you “Outlook is Not Responding.” Eventually, if you wait long enough, you may get an error that tells you it will close and send an error report to Microsoft. Otherwise, the only thing you can do is kill the outlook.exe process in Task Manager.
This is most likely an add-in issue. Outlook opens checked add-ins (such as CRM, GoToMeeting, etc.) every time it starts. If one of those plug-ins becomes corrupt, your Outlook application will hang.
- Open Outlook in Safe Mode. There are two ways to do this.
- While holding CTRL, click the Outlook shortcut until it prompts you to open in safe mode.
- Type “Outlook /safe” in the Windows Start Menu – Run Application.
- Once in Outlook, open the File Menu, click Options, Add-Ins.
- Select COM Add-ins and click GO
- Clear out all add-in in the list (this disables the Add-In’s) and click OK.
- Restart Outlook
- If it opens successfully, then you know it was an add-in that was the problem. Follow steps 2-4 above and enable each add-in one at a time (remembering to restart Outlook after each one) to find out which one was the culprit. Once you nail down which add-in it is, reinstall the add-in software. You may need to go to the third party application's software for tips on doing this.
Problem Two: Outlook hangs on “Loading Profile”
This is probably the most common Outlook issue. When attempting to open Outlook, the splash screen stays static with the status “Loading Profile”. You can try the steps above to fix it; however, it most likely is an issue with a driver or application and not an add-in. So far, I’ve seen two applications/drivers that have been the culprit. The first is Abbyy PDF Transformer, a built-in PDF creator that installs by default with most Epson Scanners. Basically, this comes with the software suite that Epson printers/scanners will install along with the printer driver. The fix here is to simply remove the Abbyy software from your computer if you have it. Or, the second is Built in Graphics Card Driver. You would need to look up your graphics card model and go to the graphic card’s website to find the latest driver. For example, www.nvidia.com for NVidia drivers. If you’ve done this, the fix that I think will take care of this issue involves disabling your hardware acceleration. Follow the steps below to fix the problem. As a reminder, if you are not comfortable working in the registry, always back it up before making any changes.
- Run regedit (Win + R ; "regedit")
- Browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common
- Create a New Key and name it "Graphics"
- Select Graphics, right-click on the right panel and create a New DWORD (32-bit) Value and name itDisableHardwareAcceleration.
- Enter Value data as 1
Try to run Outlook 2013 normally now.
Problem Three: Outlook and Lync cannot be run at the same time
When attempting to start Outlook, with Microsoft Lync open in the background, you receive an error, “cannot open the Outlook window. The set of folders cannot be opened. The information store could not be opened". In both instances that I’ve seen, you can temporally get around this by ending both the Outlook.exe and Lync.exe processes. Then, start Outlook first. Next, open Lync. While you may still get the error above, both programs will function correctly after closing the error. I’ve seen this twice now, and both times the issue required a different procedure to fix it. You may ultimately need to completely uninstall Office 2013 to fix the problem; however, the (hopefully) quick fix here is to just uninstall Lync and reinstall it. Lync is most likely bundled in your Office 2013 suite, so to remove it, you must go to the Control Panel – Programs & Features and click on “Change” to your Microsoft Office 2013 install. Click “Add or Remove Features” and place a red box (not available) next to “Lync.” Click continue, and then reboot your computer. To reinstall, follow the exact same process, except change the Lync status from “not available” to “run from my computer.” Then attempt to start both Lync and Outlook, and hopefully your error will go away. The other option, if that does not work, is to install Lync Basic, which runs as a separate program (links below). Make sure to remove Lync as described above before reinstalling it.
Obviously, there are plenty of other Outlook 2013 annoyances/bugs that I could write about here, but that would take us up until Christmas….. of 2015 to write. I tried to mention the ones that I've experienced most frequently since I’ve started to support Outlook at DMC over the last 5 months. My hope is that someone will stumble upon this blog, and it will help them fix one of the problems above.
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