Microsoft Outlook Is Not Working

Techwalla may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Get your email back on track and fix the problems in Outlook.

So, you're on your computer and about to use Microsoft Outlook, when trouble hits: Microsoft Outlook isn't working the way it should. Maybe you can't send emails anymore, or you can't open certain folders in Outlook, or you're unable to open Microsoft Outlook itself. Whatever the problem, Outlook malfunctions cause quite a headache. Here are a few things you can try to alleviate the problem and hopefully get Outlook up and running properly.


Troubleshooting Outlook

Step 1

Close all programs and restart your computer. This may solve your problem if Outlook is just being a bit finicky and not suffering from any significant issues.

Video of the Day

Step 2

Check that your anti-virus programs aren't currently scanning your computer. They may have locked you out of Outlook if they found a malicious file in your emails, so let them finish scanning and remove the file.


Step 3

Restore your computer to an earlier date when you were able to open Outlook. Go to the "Start" menu on your desktop and then "Search." In the Search bar, type in "System Restore" and go to that program. Select a date when you able to get into Outlook, and follow the wizard to restore your computer to that earlier date.


Step 4

Make sure your computer is connected to the Internet if you're unable to send and receive emails. Do this by going to the "Start" menu on your desktop and then "Control Panel." Select "Networks and Internet" and then "Network Sharing Center" to see if you are connected. If you are unable to see the network you are supposed to be connected to, go to your modem (and wireless router if you have one) and unplug both of them for 10 seconds. Plug them back in, and let them reconnect to the Internet. Then, restart your computer -- you should be connected to the Internet now, which may solve your Outlook problem.



Step 5

Visit Microsoft support (see Resources) if you are receiving any of these errors: "The Action Cannot be Completed" or "Your Microsoft Exchange Server is Unavailable" or "Cannot Start Microsoft Office Outlook." These messages typically mean your Outlook client computer doesn't have the default gateway configured. Go toward the bottom of the page and select "Fix This For Me" to download a wizard that will walk you through solving this problem.


Step 6

Delete all unnecessary emails in your Inbox, Sent folder and Trash folder. Older versions of Outlook (2002 and before) only offer 2 GB of storage. If you reach that limit, you'll notice problems sending or receiving messages, and you're likely to lose messages. To delete messages, select the messages you want to delete and click the "Delete" key on your keyboard. To select multiple messages at the same time, hold down the "Ctrl" key while you click on the messages. When you have deleted your messages, they will be sent to the "Deleted Items" or "Trash" folder. Go to into that folder, go to the "Folder" tab at the top of Outlook and select "Empty Folder" to permanently remove the messages.



Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...