Skip to main content

Common Microsoft Outlook problems and how to fix them

A Dell laptop connected to a hard drive on a couch.

You can do plenty of things on Outlook, including some you probably didn’t even know about. But every user will encounter the most common Outlook problems sooner or later since no app is perfect. The good news is that there are solutions to these common problems that don’t require you to get into anything too technical.

Let’s cover the most common Outlook issues you’ll encounter and the solutions you can try to fix them and get some work done.

What are the most common problems with Outlook?

Some of the most common Outlook problems you’ll encounter are:

  • Not being able to open Outlook
  • Outlook is not responding
  • Outlook keeps crashing or freezing
  • The search function is not working
  • Having trouble sending or receiving emails
  • The calendar is not syncing
  • Outlook attachments not opening
  • File access denied
  • 0x800ccc0f (server connection problems)
  • 0x80040154 (issues with your Outlook profile)
  • 0x800ccc13 (corrupt data files)
  • 0x8004210A and 0x80040600 (issues with sending or receiving emails such as incorrect outgoing mail server, SMTP, or settings, or even problems with your internet connection

An app can experience many problems, and when you can’t fix them, it can be frustrating because you risk not meeting your deadline. Let’s dig into fixing these common Outlook problems.

How to fix performance issues in Outlook

You open Outlook to check your email, but for some reason, it’s unresponsive. Maybe it even freezes. There are several reasons why you can’t open Outlook, such as corrupt or damaged files, problematic add-ins, or your computer has a virus that is causing Outlook to be unresponsive.

Step 1: Restart your computer. Something as simple as restarting your computer can fix performance issues and other issues. You’d be surprised at how many problems you can fix with a restart.

Step 2: Update Windows. It’s important to always have your computer up to date with the latest security updates since it can have fixes that can cause all sorts of issues with installed apps. You can check for any pending updates by going to Settings (Win+I) > Windows Update > Check for updates button.

Step 3: Run a scan for malware using one of the best antivirus software programs to see if a virus is the culprit.

Step 4: Open in safe mode. If Microsoft Outlook is freezing or giving you some serious error messages every time you try to start it, one of the most useful tests you can do is starting in Outlook safe mode. You can run the “outlook.exe /safe” command to do this.

There’s a reason this is a common piece of advice. If Outlook does work in safe mode, this tells you a lot about what’s wrong: The problem is probably an add-in that is messing with Outlook’s settings. Those malfunctioning add-ins are probably outdated by now. You can control your Add-ins by going to the File menu, finding Options, and then clicking on Add-Ins. From here, look for COM Add-ins. Clear all these add-ins and then start Outlook in the normal mode. If it works, you can start adding back add-ins one at a time until you find out which is malfunctioning and must be avoided.

How to fix 0x80040154 (problems with your Outlook profile)

Repair the Outlook app by right-clicking on the Start button > Installed apps > Microsoft Outlook (New) > Click dots > Advanced options > Repair (it won’t affect the app’s data). Below the repair option, you’ll also see a Reset button that you can try, which will erase the app’s data.

Remember, you can also try the basic fixes, such as restarting your computer and installing any pending updates.

How to fix file access denied in Outlook

This is a weird little error that tells you that a set of folders cannot be opened because “file access is denied” and you “do not have the permission required.” This error message will include a specific file name, probably located in the C Drive. Copy that file name and search for it in your search box to bring it up.

One of the most common causes of this error is not having the necessary permissions. However, you can try clicking on the PST file, choosing Properties, and ensuring that the Read-Only option is not selected. If you can’t remove the read-only option, you can check with your administrator to get the necessary permission.

How to fix it when you’re not receiving email in Outlook

If you’re sure the sender sent the email, but still haven’t received it, check to see if your internet connection is running. It could also not be a problem on your end; the Microsoft servers could be down. Also, ensure you didn’t block the sende, but forgot to unblock them. If you also set Outlook to work offline, that could explain why you’re not getting any emails. Always check your spam folder since emails can sometimes be sent there.

You could also be reaching your storage limit and, therefore, won’t receive any more emails until you erase emails with or without attachments or increase your storage limit. Also, check the current Outlook app by by selecting Microsoft Store > Library > Get updates. Ensure the Outlook app is closed when you install the update since it might prevent the update from being added.

Outlook update pending in Microsoft store.
Judy Sanhz / Digital Trends

Another reason why it may look like you’re not getting emails is the layout. There is a setting in Outlook where the newest emails will be at the bottom. Therefore, it will seem like you’re not getting your emails when they are buried in the older ones. To check if you accidentally chose this layout, open the Windows app for Outlook, then select the Cogwheel at the top. From there, navigate to Mail > Layout and see if you’ve chosen the newer emails at the bottom option. You can also select the Sync button at the top to see if it fixes the issue.

Judy Sanhz
Judy Sanhz is a Digital Trends computing writer covering all computing news. Loves all operating systems and devices.
How Intel and Microsoft are teaming up to take on Apple
An Intel Meteor Lake system-on-a-chip.

It seems like Apple might need to watch out, because Intel and Microsoft are coming for it after the latter two companies reportedly forged a close partnership during the development of Intel Lunar Lake chips. Lunar Lake refers to Intel's upcoming generation of mobile processors that are aimed specifically at the thin and light segment. While the specs are said to be fairly modest, some signs hint that Lunar Lake may have enough of an advantage to pose a threat to some of the best processors.

Today's round of Intel Lunar Lake leaks comes from Igor's Lab. The system-on-a-chip (SoC), pictured above, is Intel's low-power solution made for thin laptops that's said to be coming out later this year. Curiously, the chips weren't manufactured on Intel's own process, but on TSMC's N3B node. This is an interesting development because Intel typically sticks to its own fabs, and it even plans to sell its manufacturing services to rivals like AMD. This time, however, Intel opted for the N3B node for its compute tile.

Read more
Here’s everything we know about the M4 MacBook Pro so far
An open MacBook Pro on a table.

With the launch of the M4 iPad Pro, you might be wondering when the M4 chip will come to the MacBook Pro. Is it following hot on the heels of Apple’s flagship iPad, or will we have a significant wait before Apple’s laptop gets an upgrade?

We’ve scoured the rumor mill to find the answer, as well as worked out what sort of performance, features, and designs we can expect. If you’re interested in learning more about the upcoming M4 MacBook Pro, you’re in the right place.
Price and release date

Read more
This HP Omen gaming PC has a $250 discount in Best Buy’s sale
The HP Omen 25L gaming PC on a desk.

A unique and powerful alternative to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S gaming is the tried and true gaming PC. With a workhorse PC and a sharp-looking monitor, there’s no stopping you from conquering all your online foes, even in the fastest and most action-heavy battles. If you’ve been thinking about a gaming rig for a minute (and have perused our gaming PC deals more than once), we found an offer on an incredible PC we just can’t stop talking about:

For a limited time, you can purchase the HP Omen 25L Gaming Desktop at Best Buy for only $1,050. Normally priced at $1,300, you can put that $250 you saved toward the best headsets or best speakers!

Read more