Outlook is a powerful email client that helps us manage our personal and professional lives.
However, at times, we might face issues with Outlook, such as not being able to connect to the server.
This can lead to frustration and hinder our work, so it’s essential to understand the reasons behind this problem and find the appropriate solution.
There could be various factors contributing to Outlook’s connection issues, ranging from internet connectivity to incorrect user credentials.
To resolve these issues effectively, we need to diagnose the root cause and apply the right fix to restore the connection to the email server.
In this article, we will discuss the common reasons why Outlook cannot connect to the server and share some efficient solutions that can help get our favorite email client up and running again.
With a clear understanding of these issues and their respective fixes, we can ensure a seamless email experience and focus on what’s more important: our work and personal lives.
Common Reasons for Connection Issues
Internet Connectivity Problems
One of the primary reasons for Outlook not connecting to the server is internet connectivity issues.
We must ensure that we have a stable internet connection before attempting to use Outlook.
To test the internet connection, try browsing websites or using other web-based services.
If we face issues with our internet connection, restarting the router or contacting the service provider might solve the problem.
Another reason for connectivity problems could be issues with the Exchange server or the email server itself.
It’s possible that the server we are trying to connect to is temporarily down, undergoing maintenance, or experiencing other technical problems.
To resolve this issue, we should check the server status or contact the server administrator to confirm any ongoing problems and their estimated resolution time.
Outlook Profile Corruption
Outlook profile corruption is a common issue that can prevent Outlook from connecting to the server.
A corrupted profile usually occurs due to improper shutdowns, software conflicts, or hardware problems.
We can try to repair the Outlook profile by accessing Account Settings > Account Settings and selecting the “Repair” option.
Additionally, we can create a new profile and configure it with the correct account information, then set it as the default profile to resolve the issue.
Outdated Outlook or Windows
Using outdated versions of Outlook or Windows can lead to connectivity issues because of incompatibility with server settings or security protocols.
We should always keep our Outlook and Windows operating systems up to date to minimize risks of bugs, compatibility, and security issues.
Make sure to install the latest updates, patches, and service packs available.
Sometimes, Outlook add-ins can interfere with proper functioning and connectivity. Add-ins are helpful tools to enhance our Outlook experience, but they may also cause conflicts or compatibility issues.
To identify if an add-in is causing the problem, we can launch Outlook in safe mode by typing
Outlook.exe /safe in the Run dialog box.
If Outlook works fine in safe mode, it implies an add-in might be the culprit. We can then disable or uninstall the problematic add-ins one by one to resolve the issue.
Troubleshooting Connection Problems
Check Internet Connection
Before we dive into more complex solutions, let’s ensure that our internet connection is working properly. We can test this by browsing some websites or using online services.
If we have issues connecting to the internet, it might be a problem with our ISP or an issue with our router.
Verify Server Settings
Next, we need to confirm that our server settings are correct. Let’s head to the Outlook app and navigate to File >> Account Settings >> Account Settings.
Select our email account and ensure that the username, password, and server settings are accurate.
If needed, we can refer to our email provider’s documentation or contact their support services for the correct settings.
Restart Outlook in Safe Mode
Sometimes, launching Outlook in safe mode can help identify any potential issues. To do this, simply close Outlook, then press
Ctrl while clicking on the Outlook icon.
This will open the app in safe mode, disabling all add-ins and customizations.
Once we have started Outlook in safe mode, let’s test our connectivity. If the issue persists, we’ll move on to the next step.
Outlook add-ins can occasionally cause conflicts or issues. We can have a look at our add-ins by going to File >> Options >> Add-ins.
From here, let’s disable any unnecessary add-ins and restart Outlook to check if the connection issue has been resolved.
Update Outlook and Windows
Outdated versions of Outlook or Windows can cause compatibility issues, which might affect our connection.
To ensure we’re running the latest updates, let’s head to the File >> Office Account >> Update Options in Outlook to check for updates.
For Windows updates, we can navigate to Settings >> Update & Security >> Windows Update and click on Check for updates.
Create a New Outlook Profile
If all else fails, our Outlook profile could potentially be corrupted.
In this case, we can create a new Outlook profile by navigating to Control Panel >> Mail >> Show Profiles >> Add.
Follow the prompts to set up our new mail profile, being careful to input the correct account credentials and server settings.
After the new profile has been set up, let’s launch Outlook and see if the connection problems have been resolved.
Repairing Outlook Data Files
When Outlook cannot connect to the server, one possible reason is an issue with the data files.
In this section, we’ll discuss how to repair Outlook data files using two methods: Running the Inbox Repair Tool (ScanPST.exe) and Repairing OST Files.
Running the Inbox Repair Tool (ScanPST.exe)
One way to tackle the problem is by running the Inbox Repair Tool, also known as ScanPST.exe.
This is a built-in utility present in the Windows operating system designed to diagnose and repair issues with PST data files.
To run the Inbox Repair Tool:
- Close Microsoft Outlook if it’s open.
- Go to the Windows search bar and type
ScanPST.exeto locate the tool. Alternatively, navigate to it through the Outlook installation folder (the default location is usually
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16for Outlook 365, 2016, and 2019).
- Launch the
ScanPST.exeapplication, and then click Browse to select the PST file you want to repair.
- After selecting the PST file, click Start to begin the diagnosis and repair process.
The repair tool will check the condition of your data file, and if it detects any errors or inconsistencies, it will prompt you to repair the file.
Note: Before proceeding with the repair, ensure you have a backup of your Outlook data, as the repair process may alter the contents of the data file.
Repairing OST Files
If you’re using an Exchange, Outlook.com, or IMAP mailbox, the chances are that you’re using an OST file. In this case, the repair process is slightly different than for a PST file.
Here’s how to repair an OST file:
- Close Microsoft Outlook if it’s open.
- Go to the Control Panel, then click Mail (Microsoft Outlook) > Email Accounts > Data Files tab.
- Take note of the location of your OST file, as you’ll need this information to delete and recreate the file.
- Close the Mail Setup and Account Settings windows, ensuring you’ve applied any changes.
- Visit the location of the OST file in your Windows File Explorer and rename or delete the problematic OST file.
- Restart Microsoft Outlook. The application will automatically create a new OST file based on the information from the server.
This method ensures that your OST file is free of any inconsistencies or errors that might have been causing the connection issues with Outlook.
By following these steps, we hope you’ll solve any Outlook connectivity issues related to data file problems.
Reinstalling and Updating Software
Uninstall and Reinstall Microsoft Office
Sometimes, Outlook cannot connect to the server due to outdated or corrupted files in Microsoft Office.
In this case, we recommend uninstalling and reinstalling Microsoft Office. Here’s how:
- Go to Control Panel, click on “Programs and Features,” and find your Microsoft Office installation.
- Right-click on it and choose “Uninstall” to remove it from your system.
- Restart your computer after the uninstallation process is completed.
- Download the latest version of Microsoft Office and install it on your computer.
- Open Outlook and re-add your email account to the email client.
By uninstalling and reinstalling Microsoft Office, we can ensure that any corrupted or outdated files are removed and replaced with updated versions.
Switch to Microsoft 365
Another solution to fix Outlook connectivity issues is to switch to Microsoft 365.
Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365) is a cloud-based subscription service that provides the latest updates and features for Microsoft Office applications, ensuring the best performance and security.
- Visit the Microsoft 365 website and choose a subscription plan that suits your needs.
- After purchasing a plan, sign in to your Microsoft account and download the Microsoft 365 apps.
- Install the Microsoft 365 apps on your computer and sign in with your Microsoft account.
- Open Outlook in Microsoft 365 and add your email account.
By switching to Microsoft 365, we can enjoy the benefits of automatic updates, improved security, and better performance, reducing the likelihood of Outlook connectivity problems.
Getting Help from Microsoft
When facing issues with Outlook not connecting to the server, there are various resources available to help you.
In this section, we’ll cover how you can get assistance from Microsoft through the Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant and by contacting Microsoft Support directly.
Using the Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant
The Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant is a tool designed to help users diagnose and resolve issues with their Microsoft 365 account, including Outlook connectivity problems.
It operates as a wizard, guiding you through a series of steps to identify the issue and suggest possible solutions.
- First, download and install the Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant on your desktop.
- Launch the application, and sign in with your Microsoft 365 account.
- Select the affected application, in this case, Outlook.
- The tool will run a series of tests to detect possible issues with your account, router, or other factors affecting Outlook’s connection to the server.
After completing the tests, the Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant will provide recommendations on how to resolve the issue.
This may involve updating your network settings, repairing your Outlook email account, or disabling problematic Outlook add-ins.
Contacting Microsoft Support
If you’re still unable to resolve your Outlook connection issue, you can reach out to Microsoft Support for personalized assistance.
- Navigate to the Microsoft Support website and select “Contact Us.”
- Provide the necessary information, such as the product you need help with (Outlook) and some details about your problem (e.g., “Outlook cannot connect to the server”).
- Microsoft Support will suggest some possible solutions through their automated system. If you still need assistance, click “No, Thank you” to proceed with a live chat or phone support.
To expedite the support process and help the technical expert better understand your issue, make sure to gather relevant information about your Outlook setup, including:
- The version of Outlook you’re using (e.g., Outlook 2016, 2019, or Microsoft 365)
- The type of email account you’re trying to connect to (e.g., Exchange, IMAP, or POP3)
- Details about your network environment, such as your router, firewall settings, and whether you’re using a wired connection or Wi-Fi
- Any error messages or codes displayed in Outlook
With our guidance, we hope you will find the appropriate resources and support to resolve your Outlook connectivity issues confidently and efficiently.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why does Outlook lose connection to the server?
There can be several reasons why Outlook loses connection to the server.
Some common causes include issues with the internet connection, temporary glitches with the Outlook app, or problems with the Outlook data file.
It’s essential to identify the root cause to address the issue effectively and get Outlook connected to the server again.
How do I reset my Outlook connection settings?
To reset your Outlook connection settings, first close the Outlook app. Next, navigate to the Control Panel and locate the “Mail” settings.
Click on “Email Accounts” and then on the “Data Files” tab. Finally, select your account and click on “Remove” followed by reopening Outlook.
This will reset your Outlook connection settings and prompt you to reconfigure your account.
How do I troubleshoot and fix common problems in Outlook?
To troubleshoot and fix common problems in Outlook, you can try restarting the app, checking your internet connection, and updating the Outlook app to the latest version.
Why is my Outlook not connecting to the Exchange server?
If your Outlook is not connecting to the Exchange server, it’s possible that there might be issues with your profile, network connectivity, or the Exchange server itself.
You can try repairing your Outlook profile, checking your network connection, or contacting your IT department for assistance.
How do I fix email not connecting to the server?
To fix your email not connecting to the server, you can try restarting your email client, checking your internet connection, and verifying your email account settings.
If these solutions don’t work, you can refer to this guide on fixing Outlook not connecting to the server.
Why can’t Outlook connect to the server on an iPhone?
If Outlook cannot connect to the server on your iPhone, it could be due to incorrect account settings, problems with the Outlook app, or network connectivity issues.
You can try updating your account settings, reinstalling the Outlook app, or checking your internet connection to resolve the issue.