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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fix Microsoft Outlook has encountered a problem error


One of Microsoft’s favorite error messages is “Program X has encountered a problem and needs to close”. You’ll get this message from pretty much any Microsoft product, including Microsoft Office, Windows, and Internet Explorer. Previously I wrote about a way to fix Internet Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close error.

fix this same error for Microsoft Outlook! It may look something like this:

AppName: outlook.exe      AppVer: 11.0.8010.0     AppStamp:232039e
ModName: msmapi32.dll      ModVer: 11.0.8002.0      ModStamp:32949d2
Microsoft outlook has encountered a problem.

These errors, unfortunately, are not easily fixed because there are multiple problems that can give the same error message! So you may see this error in Outlook only when you close the program or you may see it every time you try to check for new mail.
Each of these has be be resolved in a different way! So in this post, I will list out all the possible ways that I know of that you can fix this annoying “Outlook has encountered a problem” error and hopefully one of them works for you.
outlook encountered a problem

Method 1 – Install Windows and Office updates
I’m going to start off with the easier tips before going into more technical solutions. Go ahead and install all the latest Windows updates and the latest Office updates. If you have Outlook with Business Contact Manager, make sure to install the service packs for that also. This probably won’t solve your issue, but it’s worth a shot.
Method 2 – Delete and recreate email account
Sometimes this error may be related to the actual email account setup in Outlook. You can try to delete the email account by going to Tools and then Email Accounts or Account Settings.
tools email accounts

Click on the email account and then choose Remove or Delete.

outlook email accounts

Go ahead and recreate the email account and see if that resolves your issue.
Method 3 – Start Outlook without add-ons
Your problem may also be caused if you recently installed an Outlook add-on, so try to remember if you installed anything recently that would have installed an add-in to Outlook. For example, if you install Adobe Professional, it tries to install a PDF add-on to all Office programs.

If you install some kind of Outlook connector add-on, uninstall that and see if the problem goes away. Installing an anti-virus program such as AVG, etc may also install an add-on to Outlook. Other add-ons like spam filters (Cloudmark, etc) may also be causing the issue.

You can quickly tell if an add-on is causing the problem by starting Outlook without any add-ons. Basically, you are starting Outlook in Safe Mode.
Go to Start, then Run, and type in the following command in the Open box:
outlook /safe

If your problem goes away, then you know it’s one of the add-ons. In Outlook 2007, you can enable or disable add-ins by going to Tools, Trust Center and then clicking on Add-ins.

outlook add ins

In Outlook 2003, you can disable add-ins by going to Tools, Options, clicking on the Other tab, clicking on Advanced Options, and then clicking on Add-In Manager.
Method 4 – Uninstall any new software
You can also get this error in Outlook by installing some other third party software on your computer. For example, if you recently installed a new toolbar for IE, uninstall it. If you recently updated to a new version of IE, try to revert back to an older version. Sometimes other programs not related to Outlook can cause this error to appear!
Method 5 – Find the corrupt email and delete it
This may sound weird, but one particular email can actually crash the entire Outlook program! Oddly, I have seen this happen before. When you try to read one specific email in your Inbox, all of a sudden Outlook will crash and close without a notice.
You will have to go through your email and try to find the email or emails that cause Outlook to crash. Though this is very rare, it has happened and can be very frustrating to figure out. My suggestion would be to simply click on the first email and just arrow down through emails slowly until you reach the corrupt one.
Method 6 – Replace msmapi32.dll with an older version
Some people have sworn that by replacing this file with a different version, their problem has gone away. However, this is a bit more complicated as their are many versions of this file around and you have to figure out which one will actually work. It’s best to simply copy the one you have currently to a different location and then try out various versions of this file.
You’ll have to do a search on Google for msmapi32.dll to actually find and download the files, but this may work for some people.
Method 7 – Delete or rename auto-complete data file
You can also try to delete the auto-complete history file as that sometimes gets corrupt and can cause this error. First, make sure you can see hidden files and folders by going to Windows Explorer and clicking on Tools, Options, clicking on the View tab and choosing Show Hidden Files and Folders.
Now navigate to the following directory:
C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
Now find the file with a .NK2 extension and either rename the extension to something else or simply delete the file. Outlook will automatically recreate it and hopefully the new version will be error free.
And that’s about it! If your problem still persists, you can always try to completely uninstall Outlook and reinstall it and see if that works. Other than that though, one of the above methods should fix your Outlook error!
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