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How to Fix Email Not Working in Microsoft Outlook

Authored by:
Support.com Tech Pro Team
This Guided Path® was written and reviewed by Support.com’s Tech Pro team. With decades of experience, our Tech Pros are passionate about making technology work for you. We love feedback! Let us know what you think about this Guided Path® by rating it at the end.

Introduction

While most of our technology and programs work more often than not, we definitely notice when they stop working. With email being the quickest and easiest ways to reach anyone, anything, and any company, having it not work is not only frustrating but not acceptable.
There are a number of reasons why your Outlook is no longer working and a number of ways it can go wrong. Maybe Outlook isn't sending mail. Maybe it isn't receiving mail.
Like any email program, if you're not connected to the Internet, Outlook won't work at all. But there is a setting called Work Offline that can simulate a working Outlook, unfortunately if this is toggled the program won't try to connect to the internet even if you're fully hooked up.
Outlook may not be working because you've encountered a bug that requires an update, or similarly an update may have errored and you need to have it fixed.
The simplest fix could be your settings, which we'll walk you through checking as well, along with all the previously mentioned issues.
Outlook logo

How To Use This Guide

This guide is designed to take you through a number of different troubleshooting steps. After each step, try to open Outlook and check your mail again. When the program opens and works, stop at that point; you do not need to go any further.

While the first few steps here are incredibly simple, they are absolutely crucial, and can solve many of the problems you may have quickly and easily!

1 Make Sure I'm Connected to the Net

Your email uses your Internet connection to send and receive mail. It's best to make sure that it works with things like browsing webpages first, before continuing.
  1. Open your browser. In the address bar at the top, type in google.com, then push Enter or Return.
    Browser address bar with google dot com filled in.
  2. Make sure the Google page comes up. Type in something to search for, and select Google Search.
    Google search page with search box and Google Search button highlighted.
  3. Make sure your search results come up.
    Google search results.
Troubleshoot Internet Connection
If you had problems with searching or using your browser, your Internet connection is the problem. Follow this guide for help resolving your Internet connectivity problems, and your email problems will most likely be fixed as well.

2 Check if Work Offline is Toggled

In Outlook, check that Work Offline is not toggled. Work Offline allows Outlook to appear like it is online but you will only have access to mail that has already been saved.

  1. Open Outlook.
    Outlook icon
  2. Check the bottom of the Outlook window. If it says Working Offline or Disconnected Outlook is not connected to the internet.
    Working offline Disconnected
  3. Select Send / Receive. Select Work Offline to reconnect.
    Work Offline Button

3 Check for Updates

  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
    click start then settings
  2. Select Update and Security.
    Updates and Security Settings
  3. Select Windows Update on the left, then select Check for updates.
    Update and Security with Windows Update and Check for updates highlighted.
  4. Once the system has finished checking for updates, it will automatically download and install the latest applicable updates.
  5. The system also may prompt you to restart, if it does, please do so at your earliest convenience, otherwise the update process will not complete.

    If you system was already recently updated, chances are that no further updates are available and your Update status will indicate: Your device is up to date.

4 Restart and Install the Update

Before your restart your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
WindowsWindows 10
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    click ster then power
  2. Select Restart or Update and Restart.
    Restart
  3. Your computer will close all open programs, apply any pending updates, and start back up.
Windows 8Windows 8
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power in the top-right corner.
    Windows 8 Start Menu
    Power
  2. Select Restart or Update and restart.
    Windows 8 Power Menu with Restart highlighted.
  3. Your computer will close all open programs, apply any pending updates, and start back up.
Windows 7Windows 7
  1. Select the Start menu, then select the small arrow next to Shut down.
    Windows 7 Start Menu
    Windows 7 Start Menu with Shut Down Menu highlighted.
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 7 Shut Down menu with Restart highlighted.
  3. Your computer will close all open programs, apply any pending updates, and start back up.

5 Check Outlook Settings

If you know your mail server settings, you can check them quickly to be sure nothing changed on accident.

If your mail provider is any of the following, Windows manages these settings for you, and you will not be able to edit them directly; it is safe to skip this step.
  • Outlook.com
    Your email address ends with @outlook.com, @live.com, @hotmail.com, or @msn.com
  • Google
    Your email address ends with @gmail.com
  • Yahoo!
    Your email address ends with @yahoo.com
  • iCloud
    Your email address ends with @icloud.com
  • Corporate Exchange Email
    Your email address was provided by your company at work and has a custom domain.
If you are not sure of your mail server settings, it's best to contact your mail provider before making any changes to these settings, or continuing with this guide.
  1. Open Outlook.
    Outlook icon
  2. Click the File menu.
    Outlook file menu
  3. Select Account Settings and Account Settings again.
    Outlook account settings
  4. Select your email, then Change.
    Changing your email settings
  5. From here you can double check all of your settings and even test them.
    Testing and checking your account settings

6 Check These Windows Settings

Windows Mail relies on a number of different settings on Windows itself to do everything from encryption (keeping your mail safe from prying eyes), as well as helping your mail provider make sure you are supposed to have access. A quick check of these Windows settings can often help.

Make Sure Date & Time Are Correct

The Date and Time set on your computer is used to help encrypt your email between your mail provider and you, keeping it safer.

  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
    click start then settings
  2. Select Time & Language.
    Time and Language Settings
  3. Select Date & time on the left. It's usually best to have Set time automatically selected, and make sure the Time zone is set properly, and Adjust for daylight saving time automatically turned on. After that, look at the top and make sure the computer shows the right time and date.
    Windows Settings for Time and Language with Date and Time, the current date and time, Set time automatically, Timze one, and Adjust for daylight saving time automatically highlighted.

Make Sure the Country or Region is Right

Windows Mail uses some region information to connect to the proper mail server for some mail providers, such as Google.

  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
    click start then settings
  2. Select Time & Language.
    Time and Language Settings
  3. Select Region on the left, and make sure your Country is selected properly.
    Windows Settings Time and Language with Region and Country or region highlighted.

Sure the Mail App Can Access My Calendar

Windows Mail integrates a calendar system with your email, and will need access to the Windows Calendar app to do so. This is done through the Privacy settings.

  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
    click start then settings
  2. Select Privacy.
    Privacy Settings
  3. On the left, scroll down to App permissions and select Calendar. Make sure Allow apps to access your calendar is turned On, and Mail and Calendar are On, allowed to access the calendar.
    Windows Settings Privacy with Calendar, Allow apps to access your calendar, and Mail and Calendar highlighted.

7 If It Still Doesn't Work

Please contact your Email provider for further assistance.

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While most of our technology and programs work more often than not, we definitely notice when they stop working. With email being the quickest and easiest ways to reach anyone, anything, and any company, having it not work is not only frustrating but not acceptable.
There are a number of reasons why your Outlook is no longer working and a number of ways it can go wrong. Maybe Outlook isn't sending mail. Maybe it isn't receiving mail.
Like any email program, if you're not connected to the Internet, Outlook won't work at all. But there is a setting called Work Offline that can simulate a working Outlook, unfortunately if this is toggled the program won't try to connect to the internet even if you're fully hooked up.
Outlook may not be working because you've encountered a bug that requires an update, or similarly an update may have errored and you need to have it fixed.
The simplest fix could be your settings, which we'll walk you through checking as well, along with all the previously mentioned issues.
Outlook logo

How To Use This Guide

This guide is designed to take you through a number of different troubleshooting steps. After each step, try to open Outlook and check your mail again. When the program opens and works, stop at that point; you do not need to go any further.

While the first few steps here are incredibly simple, they are absolutely crucial, and can solve many of the problems you may have quickly and easily!
Your email uses your Internet connection to send and receive mail. It's best to make sure that it works with things like browsing webpages first, before continuing.
  1. Open your browser. In the address bar at the top, type in google.com, then push Enter or Return.
    Browser address bar with google dot com filled in.
  2. Make sure the Google page comes up. Type in something to search for, and select Google Search.
    Google search page with search box and Google Search button highlighted.
  3. Make sure your search results come up.
    Google search results.
Troubleshoot Internet Connection
If you had problems with searching or using your browser, your Internet connection is the problem. Follow this guide for help resolving your Internet connectivity problems, and your email problems will most likely be fixed as well.

In Outlook, check that Work Offline is not toggled. Work Offline allows Outlook to appear like it is online but you will only have access to mail that has already been saved.

  1. Open Outlook.
    Outlook icon
  2. Check the bottom of the Outlook window. If it says Working Offline or Disconnected Outlook is not connected to the internet.
    Working offline Disconnected
  3. Select Send / Receive. Select Work Offline to reconnect.
    Work Offline Button
  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
    click start then settings
  2. Select Update and Security.
    Updates and Security Settings
  3. Select Windows Update on the left, then select Check for updates.
    Update and Security with Windows Update and Check for updates highlighted.
  4. Once the system has finished checking for updates, it will automatically download and install the latest applicable updates.
  5. The system also may prompt you to restart, if it does, please do so at your earliest convenience, otherwise the update process will not complete.

    If you system was already recently updated, chances are that no further updates are available and your Update status will indicate: Your device is up to date.

Before your restart your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
WindowsWindows 10
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    click ster then power
  2. Select Restart or Update and Restart.
    Restart
  3. Your computer will close all open programs, apply any pending updates, and start back up.
Windows 8Windows 8
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power in the top-right corner.
    Windows 8 Start Menu
    Power
  2. Select Restart or Update and restart.
    Windows 8 Power Menu with Restart highlighted.
  3. Your computer will close all open programs, apply any pending updates, and start back up.
Windows 7Windows 7
  1. Select the Start menu, then select the small arrow next to Shut down.
    Windows 7 Start Menu
    Windows 7 Start Menu with Shut Down Menu highlighted.
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 7 Shut Down menu with Restart highlighted.
  3. Your computer will close all open programs, apply any pending updates, and start back up.

If you know your mail server settings, you can check them quickly to be sure nothing changed on accident.

If your mail provider is any of the following, Windows manages these settings for you, and you will not be able to edit them directly; it is safe to skip this step.
  • Outlook.com
    Your email address ends with @outlook.com, @live.com, @hotmail.com, or @msn.com
  • Google
    Your email address ends with @gmail.com
  • Yahoo!
    Your email address ends with @yahoo.com
  • iCloud
    Your email address ends with @icloud.com
  • Corporate Exchange Email
    Your email address was provided by your company at work and has a custom domain.
If you are not sure of your mail server settings, it's best to contact your mail provider before making any changes to these settings, or continuing with this guide.
  1. Open Outlook.
    Outlook icon
  2. Click the File menu.
    Outlook file menu
  3. Select Account Settings and Account Settings again.
    Outlook account settings
  4. Select your email, then Change.
    Changing your email settings
  5. From here you can double check all of your settings and even test them.
    Testing and checking your account settings

Windows Mail relies on a number of different settings on Windows itself to do everything from encryption (keeping your mail safe from prying eyes), as well as helping your mail provider make sure you are supposed to have access. A quick check of these Windows settings can often help.

Make Sure Date & Time Are Correct

The Date and Time set on your computer is used to help encrypt your email between your mail provider and you, keeping it safer.

  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
    click start then settings
  2. Select Time & Language.
    Time and Language Settings
  3. Select Date & time on the left. It's usually best to have Set time automatically selected, and make sure the Time zone is set properly, and Adjust for daylight saving time automatically turned on. After that, look at the top and make sure the computer shows the right time and date.
    Windows Settings for Time and Language with Date and Time, the current date and time, Set time automatically, Timze one, and Adjust for daylight saving time automatically highlighted.

Make Sure the Country or Region is Right

Windows Mail uses some region information to connect to the proper mail server for some mail providers, such as Google.

  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
    click start then settings
  2. Select Time & Language.
    Time and Language Settings
  3. Select Region on the left, and make sure your Country is selected properly.
    Windows Settings Time and Language with Region and Country or region highlighted.

Sure the Mail App Can Access My Calendar

Windows Mail integrates a calendar system with your email, and will need access to the Windows Calendar app to do so. This is done through the Privacy settings.

  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
    click start then settings
  2. Select Privacy.
    Privacy Settings
  3. On the left, scroll down to App permissions and select Calendar. Make sure Allow apps to access your calendar is turned On, and Mail and Calendar are On, allowed to access the calendar.
    Windows Settings Privacy with Calendar, Allow apps to access your calendar, and Mail and Calendar highlighted.