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Troubleshooting Windows 7 and Outlook Conflicts

written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Christian Cawley•updated: 7/20/2010

While most of Microsoft's products work with each other, there are times when something goes wrong and two products don't see eye to eye. In this article, common issues dealing with Windows 7 and Outlook are explored.

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    Windows 7 and Outlook Issues

    Upgrading to a new operating system is sometimes a difficult and frustrating process, made worse when things seem to go smoothly and then all of a sudden, a problem occurs. Windows 7 is the newest operating system from Microsoft, joining the ranks of previous OSs like XP and Vista and this new OS is quickly becoming a popular favorite for users. Windows 7 logo 

    And while it's standard for most, if not all, of Microsoft's products to work together, sometimes that's not the case. For this case, let's look at issues between Windows 7 and the popular email program, Outlook.

    Again, while there shouldn't be issues between products, they can sometimes happen. One major issue is making sure that you have the correct version of Outlook (or Office) installed for Windows 7. Other problems may be just Outlook itself or perhaps Windows 7 itself.

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    Compatibility & Updates

    Windows XP allowed for most programs from Windows 2000 and even Windows 95/98 to run on the operating systems. This was with its problems, of course, but people were comfortable with having a compatibility with programs from an earlier time. Windows Vista, while allowing some programs to run, was a completely different operating system that did not run the same way that XP and 2000 did.

    Because of this, components needed to be upgraded, just as programs and games needed to be upgraded. The same is true for Windows 7. Compatibility is always an issue when a new computer operating system comes out and the new versions of Windows were no exception.

    If you are having Windows 7 and Outlook issues (or any of the other Office programs), check to make sure that you are using the current version for the software. Currently, only Office 2003, Office 2007, and the new Office 2010 are the only compatible items that will run on Windows 7.

    You can, theoretically, install previous versions of Office on Windows 7, but there will be problems as these programs will not get any current updates and there may not be updates for that version for Windows 7 (or any updates at all). And speaking of updates, it's always a good idea to keep the system updated. Having current programs, especially Windows programs, allow for Windows Updates to download and install any new patches or fixes for that product.

    If you are using an older version of Office with Windows 7, here are some of the issues you may encounter.

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    If you're new to Windows 7 and are going to be installing for the first time, you may run into issues depending on which system you're upgrading from. If you're going from Vista to Windows 7, you're in luck, as this will move your current settings and files from Vista to 7.

    If you are going from XP to 7, you may have issues. Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 will mean you will need to do a complete system format; that means you will be erasing everything on your hard drive from XP and starting brand new with Windows 7. In this case, it is highly recommended that you do a back up of your hard drive. This also means you should do a back up of your Outlook pst file as well.

    The pst file is the 'personal folder' for all of your Outlook information. It basically stores your contacts, address book, and emails. It is always a good idea to get a back up of this, just in case, thus allowing you to have your email set up the way you had on a previous system or the way you have it on another computer. To learn where Outlook keeps this file, see this Bright Hub article. If you're using Office 2010, here's an article for that as well.

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    Some of the problems for Outlook can be attributed to Windows 7 and can work for the system too. In that case, make sure that your computer meets the recommended requirements to run the OS; also make sure that the system is kept up to date.