BOOT CAMP 371 (05/04/05)

Troubleshooting Outlook Express, part 2


Virtually all Windows applications display an error message when something goes wrong. Occasionally they are couched in something approaching plain English and may be quite helpful in resolving the problem but few programs can match Outlook Express for the sheer number, diversity and ambiguity of the error messages it displays.


Most OE error messages appear in the dreaded  ‘Some errors occurred while processing the requested tasks’ pop-up window and take the form of a line or two of impenetrable jargon followed by a ‘code’, like ‘0x800CCC05’. At the last count there were more than one hundred OE error codes, and even when you find out what they mean you may be no wiser. 


There’s simply not enough room here to list them all but we’ll tackle a few old favourites and suggest some possible remedies; for the rest you’ll have to do a bit of homework and to help you on your way have a look at Tip of the Week




These are very common and both codes indicate that Outlook Express is attempting to download messages using an invalid User Name. This could be due to a corrupt setting in Outlook Express, but if your anti-virus software has an email scanner that could be causing the problem, so look for any references to it in the text preceding the error code. To check your User Name go to Tools > Accounts, select the Mail tab, highlight your email account, click Properties then the Servers tab, and make sure that the Account Name is correct. If it is then you need to look elsewhere and your anti-virus software’s configuration settings is the place to start.




This error code relates to your email logon password and the addresses for your POP3 and SMTP servers (see last week’s Boot Camp), which can be changed by anti-Spam software and virus scanning programs. All of these details, which will have been supplied to you by your ISP, are on the Server tab on the Properties of your email account (see above).




The ‘Connection Failed’ error code also relates to incorrect POP3 or SMTP server settings, a corrupt password or external interference from an anti-virus program, spam filter or Firewall.




Changing to a new ISP or switching to broadband can trigger this error code, which concerns something called SSL or Secure Socket Layer. The problem is not all ISPs use SSL but OE is set by default to use it. The solution is to switch SSL off, which you can do by going to Tools > Accounts, select your email account then Properties the Advanced tab and deselect both ‘This server requires a secure connection…’ entries, then click OK. Exit Outlook Express and reboot.




The text accompanying this code usually says something like ‘Message could not be opened from Outbox folder’, which isn’t terribly helpful. What it should really say is that a message you are trying to send has somehow become corrupted, is blocking the Outbox and needs to be deleted. The simplest way to do that is to exit OE, go to Search or Find on the Start menu and look for ‘Outbox.dbx’. right click the file to Rename it to ‘Outbox.old’. When you next open OE a new, empty Outbox folder will be automatically recreated.




OE cannot make a connection with your ISP’s mail server. Start with the obvious checks, namely that you have a working Internet connection then in OE verify your password, user name and PO3 and SMTP server addresses. If that all checks out then try switching off your Firewall and anti-virus program's email scanner. If the error code persists then OE may be corrupt or there’s a problem with the TCP/IP Windows networking and Internet component. There’s a helpful article on repairing and reinstalling OE in Windows XP here:, Windows 98 is a little more involved and the simplest thing to do is backup your email folders and Address Boot (see Boot Camp 309 -311 in the Archive -- address below) then re-install Internet Explorer. If the problem persists in Windows XP you can reset the TCP/IP configuration by going to Run on the Start menu, type ‘cmd’ (without the quotes) to open a Command window, then at the flashing prompt type:  ‘netsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt’.




Another failed connection error code so run through the checks already outlined and there are some more useful tips in MS Knowledgebase article 913514 (type the number into Google). Check also your Firewall settings, particularly if you are using any Symantec/Norton software,




Usually accompanied by the error messages: ‘MSIMN caused an invalid page fault in module Msoe.dll’,  ‘MSIMN caused an invalid page fault in module Directdb.dll or ‘The message could not be sent. There is not enough Disk space’. This is almost always due to a corrupt Folders.dbx file and the solution is to close OE, find the errant file using Search on the Start menu then right click and select Rename, call it Folders.old, reboot and restart OE and a new folders.dbx file will be created.


Next Week -- Creating a unique signature in OutlooK Express





A DOS-like window that uses a plain text ‘command line’ to carry out a particular operation



Secure Socket Layer, a powerful encryption system used to send data over the internet



Transmission Protocol/Internet Protocol, the common language of networks and the Internet that allows computers to communucate with one another 



Several sites on the Internet list the main Outlook Express error codes, usually with a short description of what they mean. Unfortunately these are not always very enlightening but some of the sites listed below have links to other sources of help or Microsoft Knowledgebase articles.


For more general help with OE problems have a look at the Kellys Korner site at:

Search PCTopTips 



Boot Camp Index















Top Tips Index

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Internet & Email

Microsoft Word

Folders & Files

Desktop Mouse & Keyboard

Crash Bang Wallop!

Privacy & Security

Imaging Scanning & Printing

Power, Safety & Comfort

Tools & Utilities

Sound Advice

Display & screen

Fun & Games

Windows 95/98/SE/ME






 Copyright 2006-2009 PCTOPTIPS UK.

All information on this web site is provided as-is without warranty of any kind. Neither PCTOPTIPS nor its employees nor contributors are responsible for any loss, injury, or damage, direct or consequential, resulting from your choosing to use any of the information contained herein.