Outlook Troubleshooting: 12 Best Solutions

Updating your Outlook client should help you fix this problem


We understand how frustrating it can be when you have a list of tasks to perform but are not progressing because your Outlook email refuses to respond. Regardless of the specific error, you must perform some Outlook troubleshooting techniques to resolve the problem.

This guide will walk you through some of the best ways to troubleshoot your Outlook client and help you know some common causes of these errors to avoid them.

What are the common causes of Outlook issues?

Some of the reasons why you might be having issues with Outlook include:

  • Corrupted or damaged data files. These files containing your email messages, contacts, and other information might become corrupted for several reasons. This can result in missing messages, sluggish performance, or Outlook crashing.
  • Incompatible add-ins. These third-party apps may enhance Outlook’s functionality. However, if an add-in is outdated or incompatible with your Outlook version, it can cause issues.
  • You will also have issues with Outlook if your device hardware is not working properly.
  • You might also face this problem because one or more software programs are conflicting with Outlook.
  • A corrupted Windows registry can also lead to various problems with Outlook.

What are the best Outlook troubleshooting solutions?

1. End Outlook forcefully

If Outlook is not responding, forcing an end to Outlook can help by terminating all Outlook processes and resources. This is useful if Outlook is frozen, hung up, or unresponsive. When you forcefully end Outlook, Windows is effectively instructed to shut down Outlook right away, regardless of its current status.

  1. Open the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  2. In the Task Manager, locate Microsoft Outlook, right-click on it, and select End task.
    outlook troubleshooting
  3. Doing this will stop the application and resolve the problem.

2. Open Outlook in safe mode

When used with Outlook, add-ins can occasionally result in freezes, crashes, and sluggish performance. All add-ins are disabled when Outlook is launched in safe mode, which can aid in locating the issue’s origin. If Outlook functions normally in safe mode, an add-in or a faulty setting is most likely to blame for the issue; however, if it does not work in safe mode, the issue is probably coming from another source, like a corrupted Outlook profile or a hardware or software issue with your PC.

  1. Hold Ctrl along with the shortcut for your Outlook client.
    outlook troubleshooting
  2. Click Yes to open Outlook in safe mode.
  3. Doing this should resolve any error preventing Outlook from running efficiently.

3. Remove faulty add-ins

Faulty add-ins can slow Outlook, make it unresponsive, or display error messages. To resolve this, you must disable any faulty add-ins on your system. Follow the steps below to learn how to do this.

  1. Launch the Outlook client, and in the Tell me what you want to do section, type Com.
  2. From the drop-down menu, uncheck the boxes for every faulty add-in you wish to remove, then click OK.
    outlook troubleshooting
  3. Restart Outlook to implement the changes you just made.

4. Fix the offline Outlook data file (.OST)

A corrupted Offline Outlook Data File (.OST) can make Outlook run slowly, crash frequently, and also cause other synchronization issues. To combat this, we recommend repairing this file. Doing this will improve Outlook’s performance and ensure your data is always up-to-date. The steps below will teach you how to repair the OST file.

  1. Hold Windows + R to open the Run dialogue, type the control panel in the text field, and hit Enter.
  2. Choose User Accounts and click the Mail option.
    outlook troubleshooting
  3. In the Mail Setup menu, click Show Profiles.
  4. Choose the profile account you want to fix and click the Properties button.
  5. Next, select the Email Accounts button.
  6. Go to the Data Files tab and choose the broken account option.
  7. Then choose the Open File Location button.
    outlook troubleshooting
  8. Now close the Accounts Settings, Mail Setup, and Mail windows.
  9. Right-click the .ost file for the problematic account and select Delete.
  10. Relaunch your Outlook client to regenerate your .ost files.

5. Fix the offline Outlook data file (.PST)

Aside from the OST file, the Outlook Data File (.PST) can also affect the proper functioning of Outlook if it is corrupted. You will also need to repair this tool for Outlook to run properly. Follow the steps below to repair this tool on your device easily.

  1. Hold the Windows + R keys simultaneously to open the Run dialogue.
  2. Depending on the version of Outlook you are using, navigate to the following path.
    For Office 2016, Office 2019, and Office 365, C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
    For Outlook 2013, C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15
    For Outlook 2010, C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14
    For Outlook 2007, C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office13
  3. Double-click SCANPST.EXE to open up the Microsoft Outlook Inbox Repair tool.
    outlook troubleshooting
  4. Select the Browse button, look for the .pst file you want to fix, then click the Open button.
  5. Next, select the Start button.
  6. Tick the checkbox for the Make a backup of scanned file before repairing option, then click the Repair button.
  7. This process will start the repair for the chosen file and once it is done, check to see if the Outlook client is working well.

6. Enable the auto-update feature

If you enable the auto-update feature, outlook will always be up to date with the newest features and security updates. By doing so, existing bugs can be fixed, and potential new issues can be avoided. This will also improve the performance and stability of the program, reducing the number of crashes and other problems you experience.

  1. Open the Outlook client, navigate to the File tab, and select Office Account.
  2. Click the Office Updates option and pick Enable Updates.
    outlook troubleshooting
  3. This should help fix the problem you are facing.

7. Set up a new Outlook profile

Making a new profile can help you determine whether Outlook is to blame for issues such as crashes, freezes, or missing data, or if the problem is with your old profile. If your old profile is to be blamed, creating a new one is the best thing to do, as this will help resolve errors caused by your previous one. Create a new profile by following the steps listed below.

  1. Open Outlook and select File.
    outlook troubleshooting
  2. On the left pane, choose Info, expand the Account Settings option, and pick Manage Profiles.
  3. Next, click the Show Profiles button.
  4. Choose the Add button.
    outlook troubleshooting
  5. Select a name for the new profile and click OK.
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  6. Enter your account details and hit the Next button.
  7. Lastly, click Finish to complete the process. Your new account should be created.

8. Clean up your mailbox

Another approach to troubleshooting Outlook includes cleaning out your mailbox. Outlook may operate slowly, crash, or even stop responding when your inbox is congested or full. Large or damaged files in your inbox can also lead to several issues, including synchronization, display, and sending and receiving failures. Follow the steps below to clear your mailbox.

  1. Open Outlook and click on File.
    outlook troubleshooting
  2. Click Info on the left, expand the Tools option, and click Mailbox Cleanup.
  3. In the next window, select the Empty or Delete options to clear your mailbox.
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9. Reset the Outlook application

Resetting the Outlook application can aid in troubleshooting errors by returning the app to its default settings. This can be useful if Outlook gives you problems like crashes, performance problems, or errors. You can still access your emails, contacts, and calendar entries after you reset Outlook. However, your customizations will be removed, including your email folders, unique views, and rules.

  1. Navigate to the Settings app by pressing Windows + I.
  2. Choose Apps on the left side of your screen and select Installed Apps on the right.
  3. Look for the Microsoft 365 option, click on the three dots next to it, and choose Advanced options.
    outlook troubleshooting
  4. Look for the Reset button and click on it.
  5. Lastly, reboot your device and check if the problem has been resolved.

10. Update your add-ins

Enhancing Outlook’s functionality requires add-ins. If you use out-of-date add-ins, you could run into bugs, crashes, and other compatibility issues. Outdated add-ins also pose security risks. You might need to uninstall them and then reinstall the most recent version to update add-ins.

  1. Open Outlook and click on File.
    outlook troubleshooting
  2. Choose the Manage Add-ins options.
    outlook troubleshooting
  3. Locate the add-in you want to update, click the three dots next to it, and choose Remove.
  4. After removing the add-in, look for it again and click the Add button to reinstall it.
    outlook troubleshooting

11. Repair Outlook

If you experience corrupted files, incompatible Outlook add-ins, or a damaged Outlook profile, repairing Office is a helpful troubleshooting tool. This troubleshooting technique, located in the Control Panel’s Apps and Features section, uses the built-in Outlook repair feature.

  1. Click the Windows button, type control in the text bar, and click Uninstall a program.
    outlook troubleshooting
  2. Look for Microsoft 365 from the list of options, then choose Change.
  3. Click the radio button for Online Repair, then select the Repair button.
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  4. Wait for the repair to be complete, then follow any on-screen instructions to finish the process.

12. Reinstall the Outlook application

A crucial troubleshooting step that can repair faulty files, clear the app’s settings, and uninstall add-ins is reinstalling Outlook. The best defense against security concerns is to reinstall the software so that you have the most recent version available.

  1. Click the Windows button, type control in the text bar, and click Uninstall a program.
    outlook troubleshooting
  2. Look for Microsoft 365 from the list of options, then choose Uninstall.
  3. Follow any on-screen instructions to complete the process, then get a new app copy.

What are some common outlook problems?

Some of the most common Outlook problems include the following.

  • Microsoft Outlook Has Stopped Working
  • Error 0x800ccc0f
  • Not Implemented Error
  • Error 0x800CCC13
  • Outlook Search not Working
  • Error 0x8004210A
  • Outlook Performance Issue
  • Error 0x80040154
  • Microsoft Outlook Not Responding Error

This brings us to the end of this article. We hope that the information outlined in this guide has been useful in helping you overcome any problem you have with the Outlook client. For further clarification, reach out to us via the comment section below.

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David Ogbor
David is a tech guru with extensive knowledge in technical articles. He is passionate about writing and presents technical articles in an easy-to-understand format for easy comprehension. He aims to present easy solutions for day-to-day problems encountered while using PC. In his spare time, he likes traveling, playing sports, and singing.