How to fix the five most common Outlook errors

Do your users sound like broken records when it comes to Outlook error messages? Our expert has compiled his five most often seen error messages and their quick fixes.

There are five Microsoft Outlook errors that frequently plague Exchange Server organizations. Since most administrators are bound to come across at least one of these error messages, it's a good idea to keep these fixes handy.

    1. Cannot send this item

      This error message typically deals with how an outgoing email message has been formatted. If a user encounters this message, you'll want to check the To: address first. Most often, I've received seen this error because I incorrectly formatted a destination email address incorrectly. 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 plain text or rich text should resolve this.

    2. No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it

      This message varies depending on the version of Outlook you're using; you may also see The server could not be found or Error 0x800CCC0F.

      First, make sure that the computer that's displaying the error still has an active network connection. Once you verify network connectivity, the next step is to make sure that the user is logged in properly. For example, if Outlook is connecting to a POP3 server and the user changed his password without updating Outlook, he will likely receive this message the next time he logs into Outlook.

      This error message hints at a permissions or connectivity problem, but a user can actually receive this error if his Outlook profile has been damaged. In a POP3 environment, this could indicate that there's a corrupt message in the user's mailbox.

      Occasionally, a blocked firewall port or overly aggressive antivirus software can cause this error, but this is rare. If the user's permissions and connectivity are not damaged, try deleting and recreating the user's Outlook profile.

    3. 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.

    4. Outlook keeps asking for the user's password

      With this error, Outlook prompts users to enter their passwords every time they send an email message. This problem occurs if Outlook hasn't been configured to store users' passwords.

      When you link Outlook to a POP3 account, you must enter the user's name, email address, incoming mail server, username and password. If you don't select the option to store a user's password, Outlook will ask for one every time a user sends an email. To fix this, open the Control Panel and use the Mail option to edit the Outlook profile.

      Figure 1: Outlook errors
    5. Problems reinstalling Outlook 2007

      If you need to remove Outlook 2010 and reinstall Outlook 2007, you might receive an error message stating that Outlook cannot be installed because of an incompatible profile. You'll have to remove the problematic profile to fix this. Which Outlook 2010 uninstallation process you use depends on the version of Windows that's running in your environment.

      In Windows 7, open the Control Panel and go to User Accounts -> Mail. When the Mail Setup dialog box appears, click on Show Profiles. Choose the profile that you want to eliminate and click the Remove button.

Figure 2: Outlook errors

About the author:
Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a seven-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his work with Exchange Server, Windows Server, Internet Information Services (IIS), and File Systems and Storage. Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once responsible for the Department of Information Management at Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer, Brien has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal website at www.brienposey.com.

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