Outlook Not Working?

Is Your Microsoft Outlook Not Working?

If you are having problems with your emails, Outlook not working properly or its slow in loading then it’s time to get to work to fix it.

Outlook is the default Desktop mail Client for most people and to them you click the outlook (Orange or Blue) button and all is well. Unfortunately Outlook needs some care and attention as it is a fairly delicate program it needs “fixing” on a fairly regular basis.

Find Your Outlook Files

Outlook creates either a .pst or an .ost file when you set it up for the first time. So somewhere on your computer there is something like an Outlook.pst file or Outlook.ost file. The names can vary depending on how it is setup, so for example it maybe your_email_address.pst or Bigpond.pst etc. The same is true for .ost files.

Now these files are by nature “hidden away in the older versions of Microsoft Office and they need to be found by you before you can fix them. In newer version of Office they are created in a Directory called “Outlook Files” (without the bunnies ears) and that can be found under the Documents Directory. So the first place to look is there.

If your Outlook.pst file or files are not there then you will need to go to the following Directory:   C:\Users\user_name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook.

The user_name above is your user_name for the computer, whatever you or someone else created when that user was first made on that computer.

To get to that directory above you need to use Windows Explorer (manilla folder icon) and start with “Computer” then “Local Disk (C:) – one click then double click Users then double click user_name.

Now of course Microsoft don’t wish you to go delving in around here so they hide the next directory called AppData. Different Windows version are of course different in where they hide the next bit which allows you to “un-hide” AppData. With Windows 7 you need to click on Tools in the Toolbar at the top. You should see File Edit View Tools Help. If you don’t then you need to click on Organise then click on Layout then tick Menu bar the Toolbar will be revealed.

Click on Tools in the Toolbar then Folder Options then View and find the Radio Button which says “Show hidden files, folders, or drives” It is by default set to “Don’t show….”

The AppData directory is now revealed.

In Windows 10, 8.1 and 8 it is of course different (thanks Uncle Bill) and you need to do the following for Windows 8 and 8.1. Open Windows Explorer then at the very top on the “Quick Access Toolbar” click on View. This shows different options so look for a square box (usually un-ticked which says “ Hidden Items” tick that box.

In Windows 10 again thanks to good old Uncle Bill you need use what they now call “File Explorer” (was Windows Explorer) and click on “This PC” on the left. Then double click (C:) – (it will be called a name_with_numbers (C:) ) and go to View as per above point 9

Outlook Fix

So now you have found where you Outlook Data Files are kept you then need to find scanpst.exe or scanost.exe.

There are many versions of MS Office 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 and everything is different in each of course.

To start go back to “Computer” and then “Local Disk (C:) and go to Program Files (x86) then double click on Microsoft Office. From there it may say Office 14 or some number – double click. Look for scanpst or scanost – the icon looks like a yellow envelope broken in half.

With MS Office 365 the scanpst file is under a different directory – generally C:\Program Files\Microsoft office\root\Office16

Also it does depend on whether your computer is running 32-bit Windows or 64-bit Windows. In 32-bit Windows the path would be C:\Program Files\Microsoft office\Office15 or some number – 12, 14, 15 or 16. In 64-bit computers it will be C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft office\Office16

Run Scanpst or Scanost 

If your Outlook is not working you can now run Scanpst or scanost.  However before you run either Scanpst or scanost you must close all open programs that you may have running..

Double click scanpst and it opens asking “Enter the name of the file you want to scan:”

Now at this point make sure that Outlook is closed and shutdown correctly not just down the bottom in the taskbar at the bottom (generally) of the screen and still active. You cannot run scanpst on an open Outlook file.

Hit browse and go to where you found your Outlook.pst file as detailed above.

Once you have done that then the “start” button goes from gray to Black and the program, starts checking 1 to 8. If errors are found it asks to repair the errors. Make sure the box which asks “Make a backup” is ticked. It is by default. Scanpst will make a backup of the file and it repairs any errors found.

This can take a while depending on several things. (a) speed of computer and general health (b) what other programs are running (c) how large Outlook.pst is.

I have seen extremely large 18GB take several hours to “fix”.

Recommendations Regarding Outlook

If you want to prevent the problem of Outlook not working we recommend you keep your Outlook.pst file as small as possible but certainly below 4GB if you can. At the very least we recommend you remove all Deleted files, Junk emails and anything else you don’t want, preferably before running Scanpst.

Affordable Computer Repairs and Service

We are a Brisbane computer repairs business based in the inner Brisbane suburb of Coorparoo.  If you need further advice or help in relation to your Outlook not working please call or email us.

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