Some Useful Tips & Tricks for Microsoft Outlook Troubleshooting

Outlook is not just an email client. It's a personal information manager that has great features. Sometimes you may confront serious problems which leave you helpless. For a novice user, troubleshooting the problem is not easy. I've listed top 10 tips & tricks here to troubleshoot Outlook problems.

Microsoft Outlook is unquestionably the most popular email client in the business world. Home users also use this email client excessively. It's a component of Microsoft Office suite, also it comes as a separate application. Millions of users around the world have chosen Microsoft Outlook as their email client and personal information manager tool. Why? Just because it provides you with excellent features which you may not get in other email clients. 

Today, every 80 out of 100 Windows users are using Microsoft Outlook client (it's just my anticipation). But sometimes you may encounter serious problems while using Outlook. And, if you don't fix them, you may find yourself in great trouble. In this article, I'll show you some useful tips & tricks for Microsoft Outlook troubleshooting. 

Microsoft Outlook Troubleshooting

Whenever something unusual happens with a Microsoft Outlook client, users try to resolve the issue by uninstalling/reinstalling the Office installation. Sometimes it's fruitful, especially if they're minor issues. But sometimes this troubleshooting trick may fail and not work for you. In such a situation, you should take a different approach to try and fix the issue. The tips & tricks I'm sharing here are highly effective and convenient so that even a novice user can fix their Outlook problems with ease.  

Outlook Troubleshooting #1 - Run in safe mode

Running Microsoft Outlook client in safe mode is the topmost Outlook troubleshooting trick. Though it's not a solution for every Outlook problem. In fact, it helps you debugging the actual problem. And in a case of minor issues, it can resolve the problem. But keep in mind that many features don't work while using the safe mode. 

To launch Microsoft Outlook into Safe mode, type Outlook /safe into the run box after pressing Windows+R.

Outlook Troubleshooting #2 - Disable add-ins

Your Outlook client is likely to be slower than normal if many add-ins have been installed. To remove any doubt, run Microsoft Outlook in safe mode to check its performance, i.e. check how much faster and smoother Outlook runs. If you find that Outlook runs perfectly fine in safe mode, that means add-ins may be causing you issues. 

Go to "File > Options >  Add-ins" in Outlook and disable all add-ins. Now restart Microsoft Outlook like you normally would. If Outlook runs normally, that means the add-ins were the cause of the problems. Re-enable add-ins one at a time and test to identify any problematic ones.

Outlook Troubleshooting #3 - Run with resetnavpane

Sometimes Outlook users inadvertently make some unnecessary changes to their navigation pane. Those changes could cause Outlook to malfunction. You should try running Microsoft Outlook with the command "Outlook.exe /resetnavpane" to resolve this issue. This will reset all customizations to Outlook's navigation pane back to defaults. But keep in mind that any customizations you've made to the navigation pane will be lost.

Outlook Troubleshooting #4 - Disable Antivirus program 

Sometimes an Antivirus program might be causing a problem. How? Many Antivirus programs have an Outlook connector to scan email messages sent and received by users. This scanning process may slow Outlook down. So if you're not sure about the exact reason for problems, you should try disabling the Antivirus program temporarily and check whether the issue is resolved or not. If it works in your case, this means the actual issue is related to the Antivirus program. You should update it in order to fix the problem. 

Outlook Troubleshooting #5 - Adjust calendar permissions 

Improper or undefined calendar permissions may cause abnormal behavior in Outlook. I'm not sure, but there's no harm in checking it. If an Outlook user sends an invitation to other users for using the calendar, the permissions need to be changed/modified on a priority basis. The users can't make or edit appointments until it's done. In order to adjust calendar permissions: 

  • First, open the calendar in Microsoft Outlook
  • Now right-click the shared calendar, and click Properties
  • Go to the Permissions tab where you need to add users to the calendar. Also, you need to set the permissions there for all users.

So if you receive an invitation for using a shared calendar, ask the sender to set a user permission for you.

Outlook Troubleshooting #6 - Rename OST file

If you're connected to an Exchange Server and using the offline storage table (commonly known as OST) on your local system, sometimes it sufficient to resolve many issues just by renaming the OST file. It's very simple.


  • First, close your Microsoft Outlook program. 
  • Now open the folder where the Outlook data files have been stored. 
  • Find the OST file which you want to rename. Select it and change the extension .ost to anything like .old. You're done.

The next time you'll open the Microsoft Outlook client, you'll see a new OST file is rebuilt and the problem is no more. 

Outlook Troubleshooting #7 - Delete or rebuild Outlook profile 

If any of the above Outlook troubleshooting tricks fail or don't work, you should delete the Outlook profile and rebuild it. A few points need to be considered before you can rebuild your Outlook profile:

  • If the Outlook profile is using a POP account, you need to export the current Inbox folders and other information to an Outlook PST data file. So once your Outlook profile has been recreated, you can successfully import them all back without any hassle. 
  • And if the Outlook profile is connected to Exchange Server or using an IMAP account, you can simply delete the profile and re-add it.
    • Open the Control Panel and go to the Mail > Profiles.
    • Now delete the Outlook profile and add a new one.

Outlook Troubleshooting #8 - Migrate PST file from the server

If there's a large PST file stored on a server in a shared drive, there is a high chance of degradation in Outlook's performance. Make sure you don't have more than one PST file that needs to be connected to a remote location. A local drive is the best place for PST files. In order to improve Outlook's performance and resolve performance issues, you should move the PST files to the C drive of your local system.

Outlook Troubleshooting #9 - Archive PST file 

Though it's not a troubleshooting tip, sometimes this may be very useful. Sometimes a PST file grows so large that it starts causing serious Outlook problems. Being a smart Outlook user, you should never let a PST file grow more than its specified size limit. To overcome this situation, you should archive PST files by year. Microsoft Outlook has a built-in Archive feature which you can use for this purpose. Also, you can try to split the PST file into two or multiple parts. By doing this, you can successfully reduce any issues associated with a large PST file. 

Outlook Troubleshooting #10 - Run scanpst.exe to scan PST file

Finally, it's time to run the Inbox Repair tool, aka scanpst.exe. An Outlook data file is prone to errors which can lead to a corruption. Any type of corruptions in PST files may cause serious Outlook problems. You should run the Inbox Repair tool for each PST file associated with your Outlook profile. It may take some time to scan the PST file, resolving the errors (if found), and repair it. And if you have a large PST file, it may take even longer. Firstly, you must locate the scanpst.exe file on your system before running/using it.  

Microsoft Outlook users may also be interested in this 5 Common Outlook Problems Faced by Outlook Users article.


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