Microsoft Outlook is only useful until it is connected to its Exchange server. The moment it loses connection with the same, MS Outlook is rendered useless. However, the problem of ‘Outlook cannot connect to server’ can be fixed by following the below-mentioned troubleshooting steps.
Uncheck offline mode
Most often than not, when you see your email not working, the most common reason turns out to be ‘Outlook being in the offline mode’. If it is in fact in offline mode, then you can easily fix the problem. For Outlook 2007 or earlier versions, click ‘File’ menu followed by locating the option ‘Work Offline’. If there is a check mark on the box corresponding to it, then you need to uncheck it. If you’re using Outlook 2010 or higher, then here are the steps that you need to follow.
- Click ‘Send/Receive’ tab.
- Locate ‘Work Offline’ button.
- Click ‘Offline’ button.
You will now have to go all the way down of the Outlook window, where you will see ‘Trying to connect’ option. If the connection is successful, then your problem is fixed, otherwise, move onto the next solution.
Sometimes, restarting an application fixes all the problems that users were dealing with. Try the same with MS Outlook. Restart your MS Outlook and see if it is able to connect or not. If you are not able to reach any websites or internal resources, then you will have to get in touch with your ISP because you are most likely to be dealing with a networking issue. Once that is fixed, Outlook will start working fine.
There are two types of data files in Outlook, one is .pst and other is .ost, and both are vulnerable to errors that result in connectivity issues. To handle problems in both these files, here are the steps that you can follow:
- Close MS Outlook.
- Launch ‘Control Panel’.
- Locate ‘Mail Icon’, which depends upon how Windows Explorer is set up. You may have to click ‘Users Section’ to find ‘Mail’ icon.
- In the window that opens after performing the previous step, you will have to click ‘Data Files’.
- Select the data file from the list followed by clicking ‘Open File Location’.
- Locate the data file in question, which is going to be of the same name as your email address.
- The file will have (.ost) extension, which you will have to rename to .OLD. In case, the extension is .pst, then leave it as it is.
- Close the current opened windows and launch Outlook.
Note – You should be able to see file extensions to find out as to whether the data file is a .pst or .ost. This will be managed with the help of Windows Explorer settings.
If your data file is a .pst, then you need to run ‘Scanpst’ on the file for which, you can follow these steps:
Close MS Outlook and browse to these locations:
If you use Outlook 2007 – C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12
If you use Outlook 2010 – C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14
If you use Outlook 2013 – C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15
If you use Outlook 2016 – C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
If you use Outlook 2019 – C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
As you enter the folder, perform the following:
- Double-click on ‘SCANPST.EXE’ file.
- A window will pop-up on the screen, so click ‘browse’.
- Locate .pst file.
- Click ‘Start’.
Scanpst is going to run eight passes over the data file, which can be further increased if the size of the data file is higher. This will take some time, so wait until the passes are carried out successfully. If there are errors identified by ‘Scanpst’, then you will be asked to click ‘Repair’ button. However, before you click ‘Repair’, make sure to take the backup of the scanned file by checking the box corresponding to ‘Make backup of scanned file before repairing’ just to be on the safe side.
Once the repair is done, close Scanpst and then, re-open MS Outlook. If you are still not able to connect Outlook to the server, then move onto the next step.
By running a repair installation of MS Office, you will be able to fix all those problems that standard fixes fail to. To run a repair, follow these steps:
- Launch ‘Control Panel’.
- Click ‘Programs & Features’.
- Locate the entry for your MS Office Installation. Once found, select it.
- Then, click ‘Change’.
- From the window that appears on the screen, select ‘Repair’.
- Click ‘Continue’.
- Wait until the repair process goes on.
- Restart your PC.
- Once the PC restarts, start ‘MS Outlook’.
Recreate your profile
If all the aforementioned procedures fail to resolve the problem of ‘Outlook cannot connect to server’, then you will have to recreate your MS Outlook profile. To do so, here are the steps you can follow:
- Launch ‘Control Panel’.
- Open ‘Mail’.
- Click ‘Show Profiles’.
- Click ‘Add’.
- Add a name to your profile.
- Follow the on-screen instructions that you see in Outlook account setup wizard.
- Once the profile is created and beginning to work, you can set the profile as ‘default’ or delete the old profile.
In case, the problem still persists, then you should get in touch with Outlook tech support facility for quick and reliable assistance.