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Troubleshooting a corrupt Microsoft Outlook profile after a Windows Vista upgrade

After a Windows Vista upgrade, you may experience a corrupt Microsoft Outlook profile that requires troubleshooting. Here are step-by-step instructions that will resolve the problem.

After a Windows Vista upgrade from an existing Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003 (or Microsoft Office 2007) installation, you may experience a corrupt Microsoft Outlook profile that requires troubleshooting.

A Microsoft Outlook user profile is kept discrete from the Windows application settings. In theory, this is a good thing.

However, if a Microsoft Outlook email profile gets mangled during a Windows Vista upgrade, it can appear as if the operating system itself is damaged.

As such, your first instinct may be to completely erase and reinstall the Windows Vista OS. However, such a drastic measure isn't usually necessary and should only be employed as a last resort.

The Microsoft Outlook email profile, which is stored with the rest of the person's Microsoft Outlook user settings, may have been damaged during (or before) the Windows Vista upgrade.

The solution is to create a new Microsoft Outlook email profile within the user's existing account:

  1. If the user is working with a local .PST file, back up the .PST file before continuing.
  2. Open Control Panel -> Mail.

  3. Click on Show Profiles.
  4. Select any existing email profiles and click Remove to delete them.
  5. Click Add and type a new profile name (typically the username).
  6. Microsoft Outlook's Auto Account Setup wizard will run, which will require that you provide the user's email account settings.
  7. When done, click on Always use this profile. Then click on the dropdown list under it, and set it to the newly created profile. (This is typically set to the original default account.)
  8. Click OK.

If this still doesn't work, the Microsoft Outlook user account itself may be damaged. Try creating an entirely new user account. Then, create a new Microsoft Outlook email profile in that account as well.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of Windows Insight, a newsletter devoted to hints, tips, tricks, news and goodies for all flavors of Windows users.


My Control Panel in Windows Vista does not have the Mail icon/applet and, as a result, I can't manage my mail profile per your instructions. Do you have any advice?
—Andreas M.


First, you should check the settings. Go to Control Panel -> Classic View. In Standard View, which is Vista's default view, you won't see the Mail icon.

You can also launch the Mail icon manually by going into your Office directory (for Microsoft Office 2007, this is located in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12) and running the MLCFG32.CPL file.
—Serdar Yegulalp, tip author

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Related information from

  • ExProfre: Microsoft Exchange Profile Update Tool
  • Recovering a lost Microsoft Outlook mailbox profile
  • The Microsoft Outlook Toolbox
  • Microsoft Outlook Reference Center

  • Dig Deeper on Outlook management

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