Common Problems and their Solutions

The information contained in this section will help you solve problems with Outlook. While some of the problems are related to bugs (which may or may not get fixed), many of the problems are just how Outlook was designed, which doesn’t necessarily fit with how we want to use it. Other problems are caused by the interaction between Outlook and other programs or Outlook add-ins.

Newest articles and recent updates are listed here. For a complete list of all articles, please visit the Problems Index

How to repair a damaged Outlook Personal Folders file (pst)

How to repair a damaged or corrupted Microsoft Outlook pst file, personal folder or data file and recover your Outlook email, calendar and contacts. In many cases you can repair your data file using the free Inbox repair tool (scanpst) that Microsoft includes with the Outlook installation.

Messages are stuck in the Outbox

Common problems and their solution when email is stuck in the Microsoft Outlook Outbox and won't send.

Repair a large Outlook Personal Folders File (over 2GB)

Microsoft Outlook limits the size of older Personal Folders .pst files and offline folders .ost files to 2GB. If a new or changed item increases the size over than limit, you will not be able to use the .pst or .ost file. Even if you delete items from the server mailbox, the .ost file will not synchronize.

Remove a password from an Outlook *.pst File

How to remove a password from a Personal Folder (.pst) file in Microsoft Outlook.

Outlook is sending winmail.dat attachments

Outlook uses a proprietary email format that only Outlook and Exchange (and a few other clients, including gmail) can decipher. When the recipient doesn't use Outlook, they get plain text message and an attachment named winmail.dat (the attachment icon may be hidden by some clients, including OE and Windows Mail). Any attachments included in the message are encased in the winmail.dat attachment.

Convert an Offline File (.ost) to a Personal File (.pst)

Oftentimes, Microsoft Outlook users who are leaving their current employer want to take their mail, calendar, or contacts with them and do one of two things – delete the Microsoft Exchange account from their profile without realizing the Contacts are stored in the Exchange account or they take the OST file with them, not realizing  

Messages are Double Spaced for the Recipient

When messages are double spaced for the recipient, you need to customize your paragraph settings.

Common Outlook Outgoing Server (SMTP) Errors

A list of some of the common SMTP error codes you'll see in Outlook and possible solutions.

Icon is not correct on the Junk Mail Folder

The red crossed circle has disappeared from the Junk Mail folder. I tried starting Outlook with the folder reset switch, but no luck. The icon is still the standard folder icon. As long as the Empty folder commands work, it's not broken, but to restore the junk folder icon, you'll need to make a new  

Cannot Expand Outlook Folders: Not Enough Memory

This error affects Exchange server users with a large number of folders in their profile, either in their mailbox, public folders, or SharePoint lists. In most cases, you won't have a problem until you exceed approximately 1,000 folders, or a gigabyte of space is used. Outlook works fine for a little bit (5-10 minutes) before  

After viewing the Outbox, messages won't send

Problem: If you view the Outbox while messages are waiting to be sent, the messages are marked as read and won't send. If you open an outgoing message and click Send, it won't send.

Changing the folder sort order in Outlook's Folder list

The Folder List is normally in alphabetical order. In Outlook 2010 and 2013, the Inbox, Drafts, Sent Items, and Deleted Items folders are grouped at the top of the folder list, with the user-created folders sorted alphabetically below.