Stored rules appear to have bad format

Posted on 2006-07-08
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
None of my rules are working anymore. When I select Tools -- Rules and Alerts, I get the following message: "Your stored rules appear to have a bad format." After selecting OK in the message, there is a quick flash of the dialog box that contains the rules, but it closes immediately. Any ideas on how I can fix the problem or at least find my rules so I can re-create some?
Question by:dlogan1
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 17067231
If you click open the rules and alerts menu option, you will be able to see all your rules. If you had upgraded from outlook 2000, you will need to do some tweaking.
LVL 97

Accepted Solution

war1 earned 500 total points
ID: 17068001
Greetings, dlogan1 !

One of your rules have a bad format or got corrupted.  Since you cannot access the Rules and Alerts area, if you can open Outlook Web Access, go into rules from there and most likely one of the first rules will be something along the lines of "De-categorize all messages" or something like that.  It is a rule that definitely looks out of place.  I deleted that one and saved, then i could edit my rules from within outlook again.


Best wishes!
LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:David Lee
ID: 17071409
Greetings, dlogan1.

If you can't fix or delete the rule causing the problem, then the final solution is to launch Outlook from the command line with the /cleanrules parameter.  

    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Outlook.exe /cleanrules
    Change Office11 to Office10 for Outlook 2002 or Office9 for Outlook 2000.

This will delete all of your rules.  You'll have to recreate them all, but at least you won't be stuck in the current situation.  

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Expert Comment

ID: 17081346
War1's solution worked perfectly for me.
LVL 97

Expert Comment

ID: 17092092

We have not heard from you. Did any comment help you solve your problem? Do you have any more question? If an Expert helped you, please accept his/her answer above with an excellent or good grade.

Thanks, war1

Author Comment

ID: 17097306
We do not have the ability to use Outlook Web Access, so I am going to have to go the CleanRules route. I'm not very familiar with using the command line and my 2 attempts listed below did not work:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft OfficeXP\OFFICE11\Outlook.exe /cleanrules
produces the message: 'c:\Program' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.

I thought maybe the spaces were causing the problem, so I went with:
C:\Program_Files\Microsoft_OfficeXP\OFFICE11\Outlook.exe /cleanrules
This produces the message: The system cannot find the path specified.
LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:David Lee
ID: 17097870
Spaces are causing the problem.  You need to enclose any command with spaces in quotes.

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft OfficeXP\OFFICE11\Outlook.exe /cleanrules"

Author Comment

ID: 17098919

I added the quotes around the command and now get the message: The directory name is invalid.

I must say it's been decades since I've used the command prompt, so I'm clueless as to the proper syntax. However, I am positive about the path. But, want to point out that when I open the command prompt screen the command line reads as follows:
C:\Documents and Settings\My Name>
I don't know if this is a problem, but I was wondering if I needed to be running the command from the root directory. Not sure how to get there.

Thanks, dlogan1
LVL 97

Expert Comment

ID: 17100767
dlogan1,  did you follow the suggested that I posted above?  07/09/2006 07:55AM PDT
LVL 97

Expert Comment

ID: 17100778
The command prompt setting should be

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft OfficeXP\OFFICE11\Outlook.exe" /cleanrules

The switch /cleanrules should be after the quotes.

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