Cannot start Microsoft outlook / Problem for all users on Exchange server

35 pts.
Microsoft Exchange 2003
Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft Outlook 2003
SBS 2003
I have SBS 2003 with Exchange Server running. Have had no problems until today. One user reported problem message "Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Unable to open the Outlook window. The set of folders could not be opened." Soon found that no user could open Outlook. Users which had it open could not save changes to contacts or send anything. I stopped and restarted all Exchange services on the server. Not a fix. I rebooted the server. All users still get the same error except on user with Outlook 2007. That user can open Outlook but is not connected, or offline. The user "Administrator" can open Outlook but has message "Unable to display folder". When I try to connect using Outlook Web Access I get to the login screen okay. After entering user name and password I get the message "HTTP/1.1 503 Service Unavailable" I tried running the command "netsh int ip set chimney DISABLED" on the server but it did not help. I have checked several times to see if the mailbox store is mounted. An hour after the problem started it was, but now it has been dismounted a couple times I checked. I have remounted it but it has not helped. when mounted sometimes I am able to see more information, and sometimes it appears empty. Email is coming into the system because most of the spam is redirected to system directories and it is getting out there. But right now nothing in Outlook, including Tasks, Calendar, Contacts and Email is available.

Answer Wiki

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Based on my research, the problem may be related to many factors, please try following steps to narrow down the problem.

Step 1: Disable Anti-Virus programs or some other third party program


Please disable any Anti-Virus, firewalls, spy, Anti-Spam programs and check whether you have installed any third party program related to Outlook on your computer. If so, please temporarily disable it.

Does the problem still persist? If so, please go on to the next step:

Step 2: Start Outlook in Safe Mode

1. Quit Outlook.

2. Choose Start menu -> Run

3. Type “Outlook.exe /safe” and click OK. (Without quotation marks but there is a space in front of “/”)

Please perform a test in Outlook Safe Mode.

If the problem persists in Outlook Safe Mode, Please try next step.

Step 3: Create a new profile

Please create a new profile to see if the problem is caused by the corrupt profile

1. Close Outlook.

2. Click Start, and click Control Panel. Click Mail icon.

3. Click Show Profiles.

4. In the “When starting Microsoft Office Outlook, use this profile:” area, please select “Prompt for a profile to be used”

5. Click Add and type the new profile name as you like in the Profile name box.

Note: Please don’t choose the same name of your original profile.

6. Choose “Add a new e-mail account” and click Next.

7. Choose your email type and type the necessary information. (You can gain information of the email account from the ISP)

8. Click Next and click Finish.

9. Reopen Outlook. Choose the new profile in the profile list and click OK.

For more information, please refer to the following Knowledge Base article:

287072 OL2002: How to Create a New E-mail Profile for Outlook

Note: This article also applies to Outlook 2003

Is the problem resolved in the new profile? If yes, you could import your data from the original profile. You can refer to the following Knowledge Base article on how to import Outlook data:

Q287070 OL2002: How to Back Up, Restore, or Move Outlook Data;en-us;287070

Note: This article also applies to Outlook 2003

If the problem persists after you tired above steps, would you please send a screenshot of the exact error to me?

Discuss This Question: 4  Replies

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  • RHW
    Hello KarlG This problem is more of an Exchange problem than Outlook. I did do a few things this morning and it is now working. Instead of disabling AV, I ran a full scan. Symantec only found 2 items for quarantine. Spybot also found one item to delete. It is not the profile because it is every user, even when trying to connect from Web Access. Outlook would not start in safe mode. Occasionally some users were able to open Outlook and work offline, but most could not. I had loaded a program on a separate Terminal Server to permit Blackberrys to sync with Outlook. I removed it and rebooted both servers again. Then I went to the Exchange Server and opened the System Manager. The mailbox store was not mounted. I mounted it and quit System Manager. When I reentered System Manager it was still mounted (sometimes I would do that and it would be dismounted when I reentered). I went to the mailboxes and ran the Cleanup Agent. Once I had done all of these steps Outlook came back up on all workstations. It is now running, but I do not want the problem to happen again. Right after I typed that comment it went down again. I had to try 3 times to mount the mailbox store. Then I went into Outlook with no problem and got new emails. I tried to send one out and got a message that the Exchange Server was busy. Now I am getting messages about Exchange being busy. When I mount the mailbox and run Cleanup Agent it is okay for a few minutes and then quits. When I check the mailbox is dismounted. So I have been remounting it and running the Cleanup Agent, but I need something more permanent.
    35 pointsBadges:
  • Dwiebesick
    I recommend you dismount both stores and do an off-line defrag on the stores using eseutil utility. Ensure that you have enough free space at least 110% of your store size. Once you have finished the eseutil /d then run isinteg -s <server name> -fix -test alltests Run the isinteg command until there are no error/fixes Let us know if this helps dmw
    2,235 pointsBadges:
  • RHW
    I had a tech person stop by and look at the event list. The Outlook database exceeded the built in size limit. I had to download and run SP2 and then edit the registry per this Microsoft instructions Once those to items were done I can see the increased size limit in the event list and everything is once again working fine. I will also be asking people to clean out their mail boxes. Dwiebesick, I started to run eseutil /d but after an hour it was not even at 10%. When I found the above information I ran that instead and it is now working. I will keep that eseutil in mind to possibly run some weekend.
    35 pointsBadges:
  • Genderhayes
    Could it be the compatibility mode setting
    10,730 pointsBadges:

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