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Outlook rules not working: Quick Fix

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Microsoft updates Outlook for Web: 8 key features that make it better

Outlook is by far one of the most popular email clients in the world. Outside of compatibility with just about any email service in the world, it has a number of different features that make managing your emails a breeze. However, just like every other piece of software, it isn’t perfect and runs into errors from time to time. 

In this article, we’re talking about Outlook rules not working, the reasons behind it and what you can do to fix the problem.


What causes this error?

Outlook rules can stop working for a number of different reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Corruption in sending or receiving settings.
  • POP3 or IMAP account settings aren’t configured properly.
  • Your rule might be turned off.
  • The rule is set to run on one computer only.
  • The rule is being overridden by another rule. 
  • Rules exceed the quota established for your mailbox.

Also read: How to fix error: Outlook stuck on processing?


How to fix this?

Here are seven fixes you can try out. 

Enable your rules

The first thing you should do is check to see if the rules you’re using are enabled or not. Here’s how.

Step 1: Open Outlook and click File.

Step 2: Head over to Rules and Alerts.

Step 3: Select the rules you want to enable by clicking the checkbox before them and click OK. 

Now your selected rules should start working.


Reset your Outlook data file

Delete the SRS file for your profile from the local Outlook profile directory. By default, the directory is at the following location. Reboot your computer once you’ve deleted the file. 

C:\Users\[Your username here]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outloook

Once the file is deleted, restart Outlook to trigger the creation of a new one and your rules should start working fine. 


Enabled Exchanged Cache Mode

Turning off the Cache mode on Outlook may cause a drop in performance and loading speeds but can potentially resolve this issue.

Step 1: Click on File.

How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

Step 2: Click on Account Settings followed by Account Settings…

How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

Step 3: Double-click the problematic email account.

How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

Step 4: Check the Use Cached Exchange Mode option. Restart Outlook and try again.

Your Outlook rules should start working after a reboot. 

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Delete old rules

Outlook has a 64 KB rule memory limit. If you have too many rules, this memory limit can be problematic. Delete some old rules to see if that solves your problem.

Step 1: Open Outlook and click File.

Step 2: Head over to Rules and Alerts.

Step 3: Select the rules you want to delete and click Delete. 

Now your selected rules should start working.


Update Office

An out-of-date installation can also cause several uncalled-for bugs and glitches. Check to see if you’ve got any updates to your Office suite, and if you do, install them right away and restart your PC to see if that solves your problem. 


Create a new Outlook profile

Creating a new profile can reset all the configuration problems and incorrect settings that might be keeping your rules from functioning properly. 

Step 1: Delete your profile from the local Outlook profile directory. By default, the directory is at the following location. Reboot your computer once you’ve deleted the file. 

C:\Users\[Your username here]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outloook
How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

Step 2: Now open Outlook and click on File

How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

Step 3: Click on Account Settings followed by Manage Profiles

How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

Step 4: Under Profiles, click Show Profiles…

How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

Step 5: Click the Add button to add an email account to the newly created profile.

How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

Now restart Outlook and try again.

Also read: Zelle app not working: Quick Fix


Repair your Outlook installation

Sometimes, you might have a broken Outlook install. Follow these steps to repair your installation.

Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for Outlook. Click on Uninstall from the right side pane.

How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

Step 2; Find your version of Outlook in the list of programs. If you’ve installed the entire Microsoft Suite at once, search for that instead, click it and click the Change button.

How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

Step 3: You’ll see two options as explained below.

  • Quick Repair: This will work offline and resolve the most common issues with your Outlook Installation. 
  • Online Repair: As the name suggests, this option uses the internet and performs a more thorough installation repair. 
How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

We recommend trying quick repair first and then moving on to online repair if the former doesn’t solve the error.

Also read: Fix: Outlook mail next and previous email arrows are missing

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: [email protected]

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