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Everyday Windows Desktop Support, Advanced Troubleshooting & Other OS Tidbits

Posts Tagged ‘Outlook’

Sometimes Its Better To Modify Than To Delete

Posted by William Diaz on July 8, 2012

We disable Outlook PSTs within our organization via group policy. This setting resides in the registry at HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14\Outlook and is enforced with a DWORD value equal to 1. In some cases, though, we allow certain uses to continue to use PSTs. Those who do use PSTs, however, don’t necessarily have the ability to move items into these PSTs. That, too, is also disabled by creating a DWORD called PstDisableGrow in HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\office\14.0\outlook\PST. If the value is to enable this, then you will encounter the following warning or error message when trying to copy or move item(s) into the PST: “Cannot copy the items. You don’t have appropriate permission to perform this operation


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Some Emails May Prompt You To Install Foreign Language Pack

Posted by William Diaz on June 4, 2012

From time to time, we have seen some standard company emails as well as non-company emails throw the following message prompt when clicking on or opening: “Language pack installation. To display language characters correctly you need to install the following language pack…


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Investigating & Resolving Message Delays in Outlook with WinDbg

Posted by William Diaz on May 1, 2012

The problem starts after the user has had their Windows profile recreated but continues to experience some Outlook performance issues. Each time she clicks the New button in Outlook to create a new message, there is a 5 to 10 second delay before the blank message opens. There is also a 10+ second delay after she clicks send and Outlook becomes unresponsive for that time. I connect to her and quickly look at the Office Outlook registry for any unapproved 3rd party add-ins and see nothing out of the ordinary. I decide to dump the Outlook process when the hang is encounter and turn to Process Explorer. This is a simple matter of right-clicking the process and choosing Create Dump when it is in an unresponsive state. Actually, I collect two dumps, the other with Procdump in hang mode. I do this to ensure that the dumps are consistent; if the dumps are not similar then I may need to collect more until a pattern emerges.

I copied the dumps to my workstation and opened them with WinDbg and run the !analyze –v –hang command. The stack for both dumps are similar. With the exception of the NRTExchn component (our DMS add-in for Outlook), these are all MS modules. Normally, this wouldn’t excite me but something stands out like a sore thumb as I move up the stack, the presence of msi.dll in the stack of the current examine thread.

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Quickly Find Those File Handles

Posted by William Diaz on April 3, 2012

Every now and then some app somewhere is going to hook into some user file and prevent it from loading when its host application is opening up, resulting in some kind of error. A common one is when opening Outlook: “The file C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\outlook.ost is in use and could not be accessed. Close any application that is using this file, and then try again.

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Hung Up In Outlook

Posted by William Diaz on April 2, 2012

One of the most common complaints your going to encounter in the desktop support role is when Outlook becomes unresponsive while a user is performing any random task in Outlook, whether it be switching between folders, going into a delegated mailbox, or sorting messages. Often, the knee-jerk reaction by the front line technical support is to assume something is wrong with Outlook and begin the gamut of what I term “blind-troubleshooting”. This usually involves running an range of scripted fixes (that is meant to address issues with some of our in-house or 3rd party add-ins), followed by a repair, reinstall, and/or creation of a new Outlook profile. Over the lifetime of this incident(s), the issue can drag out to several days because usually the issue cannot be reproduced immediately after the first fix, so each additional fix is tried at some point later when the user calls back. In some cases, this drags out for a couple weeks to where the user’s workstation is replaced or Windows profile is recreated.

And all to no avail.

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Unraveling and Resolving An Outlook Crash with Process Monitor

Posted by William Diaz on March 2, 2012

While trying to import documents into our document management system via Outlook, Outlook would just abruptly close on the user. I started the initial troubleshooting by disabling a couple 3rd party add-ins in HKLM and HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\Outlook\Addins that were not part of the normal image. This can be done by modifying the load behavior of the add-in (see this MSDN article for details), but this had no effect on correcting the behavior. I thought about capturing a crash dump of Outlook but decided to not waste any time there because, at this point, with the add-ins disabled, I likely was not going to see anything but the document management modules in the dump.

Instead, I turned to Process Monitor; perhaps it might reveal what Outlook was doing just before it crashed and give me some important clues. I set a filter to monitor only outlook.exe, dragged an item into the document management space in Outlook and waited for it to crash after clicking Save. Afterwards, I scrolled to end of the log, working my way up. I also added a filter to only include registry activity and then process and thread activity so I could quickly see where Outlook was crashing: Read the rest of this entry »

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Where’s My Email Attachment?

Posted by William Diaz on February 7, 2012

One of my co-workers forwarded me an email from a user that should have contained an attachment, specifically a PDF. However, the attachment and the even the paperclip icon in Outlook was missing. Surely, then, the message didn’t contain the attachment, right?. Actually, it did. I could see by the size of the message there should be something else to the message:
Besides a few lines of formatted text and a couple hyperlinks, there was nothing else to indicate that the message body was causing the message to appear this large, and looking under the hood, I didn’t see any odd html tags like I had seen in an earlier post. If you’re in doubt, you can also look at the Internet Headers of the message to see if contains attachment. Attachments are indicated by the presence of “winmail.dat” in the Content-Type field:
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Forwarding an Email Ad Infinitum Until it Breaks

Posted by William Diaz on January 3, 2012

When trying to view one of the regular emails sent out daily within the firm, users who enabled the preview pane were encountering the following information bar in Outlook: “This item cannot be displayed in the Reading Pane. Open the item to read its contents.
Then upon trying to open the message, the following error was encountered: “Can’t open this item. Out of memory or system resources. Close some windows or programs and try again.”
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Some (More) PDF Internals

Posted by William Diaz on December 7, 2011

I already discussed a different form of this error (One or more documents could not be opened) when trying to open PDFs from our document management system in Outlook in an earlier blog here.
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Change Outlook Contacts “File As” En Masse

Posted by William Diaz on December 6, 2011

In Outlook, there is no native built-in method for changing the “File As” type for all contacts at once. Normally, if you need to do this, you open the contact and change to the File As field for each contact.
Think of someone with several hundred or several thousand contacts who, all of a sudden, realizes that he rather look up his contacts by FirstName instead of LastName (or vice versa). Or take someone who has been filing as one type for a while now and then decided to start filing as a different type later and is then presented with a scenario like that below where sorting by the File As column mixes last and first name alphabetically:
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