Outlook 2003 fails to consistently connect.

14925 pts.
Microsoft Exchange 2007
Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft Outlook 2003
Microsoft Windows Server 2003
Microsoft Windows XP
Outlook Connectivity
Windows XP SP3
Our network has around 30 users; each has an e-mail account that is handled by our exchange server (Exchange 2007, running on Server 2003 X64). All users use the Outlook 2003 (running on Windows XP SP3) application to connect to the server. I have two users who consistently have trouble connecting to the exchange server. If they restart their system, they can usually connect for the rest of the day (sometime they have to restart multiple times). Sometimes the error will begin in the afternoon, sometimes in the morning, I have not found a pattern to the failure, or an application that they run that somehow "breaks" Outlook. Other users have no problem connecting and running their Outlook client. When the users are having a problem, other network applications run fine, so I don't believe this is related to a network hardware or configuration issue. These users can also use the OWA web client to access their e-mail from their workstation (even when Outlook is endlessly "Trying to connect"). I've tried the "repair" option with Outlook 2003, as well as a complete uninstall/reinstall of outlook. The settings of the accounts they use are identical to most of the others on the server, and their hardware is identical to many other systems on the network. I've checked for viruses, and spyware on the systems with a variety of software and have found nothing. Where should I look next? Thank you!

Answer Wiki

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On the problem machines, go to Outlook, Tools, Account Settings, Change, More Settings, Connection tab, be sure the Outlook Anywhere Connect to Microsoft Exchange using HTTP is disabled (unless you have Outlook Anywhere enabled). If you have OA enabled, click the Exchange Proxy settings button and be sure there are ticks in both On fast(slow) networks, connect using HTTP first, then connect using TCP/IP.


I have run into this situation before. As odd as it sounds, the problem was related to a corrupt OST file on the client computer. I was able to fix the problem by disabling Outlook Cached Mode, waiting a couple of days, and re-enabling it.

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  • Flame
    Labnuke99 - Thank you, I checked the settings and they are the same as the other systems on the network, OA is disabled - so I don't think that this is the problem. Addional information: a.k.a. -(asking the user...) What part of "is there anything else" don't you understand? After talking to the problem user, I found out that restarting is NOT always needed, sometimes it will connect "all by itself" after it "waits for a while" The best I could get on the definition of "a while" was about an hour or two. If the user tries to press the send and recieve button, Outlook may or may not connect to exchange, but once it does it is usually good for the rest of the day. <sigh>
    14,925 pointsBadges:
  • DavidHa!!
    You might also look at any Global Catalog servers. I have seen Outlook attempt to connect to a remote GC server, which caused some of the symptoms I see here.
    0 pointsBadges:
  • Robert Stewart
    You may also look for any plugins added to Outlook 03 client by opening outlook clicking the help tab, then click About Microsoft Outlook, then click Disabled items, see if they have any plugins running shut them down one by one and see if this helps. You may also want to try opening outlook in safe mode. To do this open up the run dialog box, type outlook /safe if outlook opens correctly here it is probably a plugin that has corrupted the outlook regitstry, I hope this helps you out.
    1,810 pointsBadges:
  • Jblanco
    I have this exact same issue, word for word. Flame, were you able to find the solution??
    10 pointsBadges:
  • PrasenjitMitra
    I have also found a problem like this. While I tried configure the same after clicking the check name button user id prompt is coming where the user put domain name followed by user name and then the password but then it showing "Could not connect the Exchange Server". Where this can not make any issue while configuring in Outlook 2007. Please Help.
    10 pointsBadges:

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