Having a Good Microsoft Outlook: Troubleshooting Tips

Having a Good Microsoft Outlook: Troubleshooting Tips
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Fixing Common Problems

As popular and useful and Microsoft Outlook is, sadly the software is not without its problems. Fortunately, thanks to the way in which it has been built, the majority of errors and issues can be easily resolved.

You can deal with a majority of problems via a combination of regular updates and reinstallations of the application, but advanced users might be more interested to learn that there are other ways – such as repairing the PST files that store your Outlook email and calendar data, or fixing the application via the Windows registry.

Many common faults in Outlook can easily be fixed by applying common sense and combination of the fixes mentioned above.

Performance Issues in Outlook

Faults that regularly occur for many Outlook users are usually related to performance. There might be a memory issue, for example, or the PC might not be powerful enough to deal with an incoming deluge of emails and/or attachments. You can try one of several fixes if you discover that Outlook is running at 100% CPU usage.

If you find that Microsoft is crashing, various steps that you can employ will allow you to repair the fault easily. Should you be able to uncover the underlying cause behind Outlook regularly freezing and crashing, you will be able to nip the problem in the bud. The same applies to issues with Outlook starting up correctly. Using the application’s safe mode can help here, but this is only a diagnostic fix, rather than a long-term solution.

Connection Problems in Outlook

Various Microsoft Outlook issues can be attributed to connectivity issues – after all, it is an application that relies on networks, whether a corporate network, an institution’s network or the Internet.

Connection problems can usually be resolved easily and can solve a number of email problems such as missing or non-existent messages in your inbox as well as problems with the Outlook Calendar, which also relies on your computer’s network connection to work correctly. If you are connected to an Exchange server, you will be able to identify a connectivity issue quickly as this will be displayed in the status bar across the bottom of the Outlook window.

Outlook Problems with Windows 7

Since the release of Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system, a few users have noticed a conflict with Outlook 2007. While these problems might not occur in Outlook 2010, short of upgrading to the latest version, other fixes must be found.

Troubleshooting conflicts with any application is tricky, but if you are having these problems, you should be able to resolve them thanks to a couple of hotfixes.

Performance quirks and possible conflicts with your mouse and keyboard in Outlook are a different matter however, as these issues should affect the whole operating system rather than a single application. There is a possibility that one or more emails are infected in some way; if this is the case, then you will need to perform a virus scan to rule this out.

Outlook Folder Quirks

Microsoft Outlook in action

Many problems in Microsoft Outlook can be traced to your folders. Whether it is an inbox error or a general problem with your default folders, because of the way in which we use folders in Outlook (either those that we setup ourselves or the default folders) these problems can be tricky (but possible) to resolve.

Ghost emails and duplicates are a common problem among Outlook users, and usually relate to incorrect settings on your email server. If you have encountered problems with emails mysteriously appearing and reappearing, or too many emails being sent, then simply adjusting the settings in the application can fix this.


  • Screenshots provided by author.