Troubleshooting Microsoft Outlook


The instructions provided here pertain to Outlook 2003 on a home computer-or at least one that is not on an Exchange Server. They do not pertain to Outlook Express at all.

Something Doesn't Work Right or It Crashes at Times

If you can open Outlook, the first thing to try is to run Detect and Repair from the Help menu. Have your Installation disk handy because you may need it. On my machine, it takes about 7 minutes for the Detect and Repair to complete.

Cannot Send or Receive Email

This is a tough one and I hesitate to put it here, but don't want to ignore the issue.

First try closing and restarting Outlook. If that doesn't work, try rebooting your machine.

  • If you have successfully sent and received mail before and nothing has changed, it could be that your mail server is temporarily down. Just like websites are sometimes down temporarily, so are mail servers-it just happens. Try again in an hour or two and/or check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to see if they're experiencing any difficulties.
  • If you have never successfully sent/received, then likely it's an issue with your settings. While most ISPs have this information right on their websites and you should look there first, you should be able to call your ISP and have them walk you through the settings you should use.