Posts Tagged 'Outlook'

Outlook 2002 won’t start

Day 1 Problem: could only open Outlook in safe mode

  • When tried to start Outlook today I got an error message saying Outlook failed to start correctly last time – but that I could try starting it in safe mode
  • So I clicked the button to start in Safe mode
  • Outlook opened ok although it gave a strange message “you cannot close Microsoft Word because a dialog is active. Switch to Microsoft Word and close the dialog”. There was a dialog that had popped up at the same time: one saying that C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office10\STARTUP\PALMAPP.DOT contains macros – a message that has come up for years. I clicked Disable on the message (as usual) and then I was able to use Outlook
  • But the next time I tried to start Outlook the same thing happened: I could only use Outlook in safe mode

Day 2 Problem: can’t open Outlook at all!

  • When I tried to start Outlook nothing happened (the hourglass disappeared quite quickly but Outlook didn’t open)
  • Tried again – same problem
  • Tried opening in Safe mode (Windows Start menu -> Run -> typed:
    Outlook.exe /safe
    with a space before the   /          but still Outlook didn’t open
  • A few hours later I opened the Windows Task Manager and it had 3 Outlook.exe processes showing

A partial solution: running “Detect & Repair” enabled me to open Outlook in safe mode

  • Rebooted the PC and tried opening Outlook in safe mode again (as above). Got an error message “Outlook failed to launch in safe mode. Would you like to start Detect & Repair?”. I said yes, it asked for my Office CD which I inserted.
  • Then I tried to Open Outlook in safe mode again: and it opened (with same messages as yesterday). Phew!
  • At this point I thought ” a backup would be good” so exported to a pst file
  • Came out of Outlook and tried to start Outlook again. Now the behaviour was slightly different: Outlook opened for a moment, then closed, error message “Outlook has encountered a problem and needs to close”; it restarted in safe mode but ran a check on the personal folders

The solution: rename a corrupt .dat file

  • closed Outlook
  • went to folder C:\Documents and Settings\Paul\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
  • renamed outcmd.dat (file with toolbar customisations) to outcmd.old
  • Outlook now works!

Thanks to …
Before renaming  outcmd.dat I tried the same with extend.dat which lives in the folder
C:\Documents and Settings\Paul\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Along the way I lost quite a bit of time pursuing other avenues:

Diversion no.1: solving the Word error messages

  • In Tools -> Options -> Mail format -> deselected Word as email editor. Exited Outlook then back in: no change
  • PALMAPP.DOT is something to do with Palm Desktop (something I haven’t used for years) integrating with Word. I tried to delete the PALMAPP.DOT file (see above). Even if Word & Outlook were closed it wouldn’t let me: said the file was being used by Word and indeed there was a temporary file sitting beside PALMAPP.DOT. After rebooting (even in Windows Safe Mode) , uninstalling Palm Desktop etc and still seeing teh temporary file there I clicked on the temporary file and found I could it and then delete the file itself (probably should have tried that a lot earlier!)
  • Now I no longer get the funny word messages

Diversion no. 2: the Ad-aware email scanner

  • To see what functions had been disabled by “safe mode” in Outlook I clicked on Help -> About -> Disabled items. That showed “Adaware email scanner (emailscanner.dll)” and said it had prevented Outlook from functioning correctly
  • Clicked Adaware in system tray to both turn off “Adaware Live” and exit Adaware. Closed Outlook. Back into Outlook: same result as last time
  • So then I uninstalled Ad-aware: no change; Then tried searching the C drive for the file emailscanner.dll. It wasn’t there. So in Outlook Help -> About -> Disabled items I clicked to enable emailscanner.dll, then out of Outlook and back in. Now Outlook no longer lists it as Disabled item (it probably stopped existing earlier in the process: just Outlook was still showing it!)

Perhaps now I should upgrade to a more recent (and supported) version of Word?


Phatnotes for Outlook sync problems

I use the “notes” in Outlook. I like to use them on my phone too – so I use Phatnotes for Outlook which stores the notes on my phone and syncs with Outlook nicely. (Importantly Phatnotes can handle note categories – which the notes facility in Windows Mobile can’t).

The problem

Well, after a year, the “syncs nicely” changed. Notes get randomly deleted (fortunately they are in my deleted items in Outlook so I can get them back). Also some changes I made to notes in Outlook are not appearing on the phone!


1. I restored the “deleted notes.

In Outlook went to deleted items. Sorted it by icon so all the notes were together. I created a new notes folder (called “oldNotes”) and moved in there any notes that had been genuinely deleted. I highlighted the remaining notes and dragged them onto the “Notes” folder (thankfully they remember their categories).

2. I resolved that I would see my notes in Outlook would be my definitive set, and reviewed some recently changes notes to check they looked ok. I decided that I would now uninstall Phatnotes and reinstall it – so starting from scratch with the notes on the phone:

a) Backed up my Outlook notes
In Outlook:
– File à Export à select “to file” à select “pst file” à select Notes folder à next àBrowse à choose a filename that describes it (eg notesbackup) and a folder (can be a flashdrive) à I chose no encryption

b) Uninstalled Phatnotes from the phone
On the phone:
– closed Phatnotes – and disconnected phone from PC
– Start à Settings à system tab à Remove programs à select Phatnotes à Yes
– at the “delete notes database?” prompt: Yes

c) Uninstalled Phatnotes from the PC
On the PC:
– closed Outlook and ActiveSync
– Start àControl Panel à Add/Remove Programs à select Pahtnotes à Remove

d) Reinstalled Phatnotes
– connected phone to PC
– on PC: opened Active Sync and waited for sync to finish
– on PC: ran PhatnotesOutlook.exe (which I have saved on my PC)
– then a dialogue on the PC says look at phone screen. Phone screen asked where I wanted Phatnotes installed. I selected: Storage Card
– at next dialogue on PC: Finish (not necessary to select the options button unless have multiple notes folders in Outlook that you want to sync)

e) Synchronised phone to PC
– then did a Sync using Active Sync
– it now copies all the notes over to the phone
It took ages over an hour (I have over 1300 notes)

BUT!! the result was – all the notes in Outlook had been deleted (moved to the Deleted folder)!


I restored the notes from pst backup (I could probably just have moved them back from the Deleted Items folder). Then I did another sync. This sync was very quick (a minutes?) and now all the notes are on my phone and in Outlook!

I tested creating and editing notes on each platform – and they sync ok

My setup
PC running Windows XP SP3
Palm Treo Pro running Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
Palm connects to PC using ActiveSync4.5
Store Outlook notes on my phone using PhatNotes for Outlook 5.2 build 5.591.0201

A phone that synchronises with Outlook Notes & Tasks

I have used a Palm m500 PDA for a very long time (and before that a Palm V). Then at work I was offered the chance to choose a mobile phone that is a PDA as well. That’s good: instead of carrying 2 devices everywhere I can carry one. But it’s important to me that I can sync Outlook Calendar, Contacts, Tasks and Notes with the device. The options …

1) Apple iPhone
It’s great BUT ….
a) it’s too bulky for my pocket and
b) it doesn’t sync Tasks or Notes with Outlook

2) Symbian phone (eg Nokia)
a) Outlook notes don’t seem to sync
b) Outlook tasks sync but they just appear in a long list or by date (I use categories)
c) I find typing on the phone pad very slow – I need a touch-sensitive screen with some sort of handwriting recognition (like the old Palm Graffiti)

3) Palm Centro
This runs the Palm operating system – which has synchronised with Outlook fine for over a decade!
But the Centro is rather low specification in some other areas. Palm apparently are working on an updated version of their operating system so are likely to issue a better phone next year.

4) Windows Mobile phone
I went for one of these … the Palm Treo Pro (free with O2). (Despite being a “Palm” it doesn’t run the Palm operating system – but Windows Mobile).
Unfortunately, unlike Symbian and Apple, WM6 doesn’t sychronise over WiFi** , but I only really want to synchronise when I’m in the office or at home – and I can do that with a cable.
BUT … I then found WM doesn’t support categories for Notes. I have a huge number of notes in Outlook carefully categorised: but on my phone they all just appeared in one long list!!

Solution for Notes Categories on WM6.1
I purchased PhatNotes from
It runs rather slowly on my phone but it supports categories!
(I looked at SmartPhoneNotes as an alternative: but they say their software is not compatible with Windows Mobile Professional edition)

** WM6.1 doesn’t sync over WiFi: