Fix-it: Outlook 2007 Emails not showing in Preview Pane, constant crashes, and Windows Desktop Search not returning results

In General, Microsoft, Software by Michael Sheehan34 Comments

I recently helped a friend work through and some issues he was having with Outlook 2007. They were some strange, yet common problems, namely:

  • Not being able to view emails within the Preview Pane
  • Constant crashing of Outlook
  • A slower than normal refresh of things

My understanding is that this is actually a fairly common issue just from viewing a Google search on the topic. I saw all sorts of different solutions but decided to try something that has worked with other Outlook issues in the past. While this may or may not work for you, it is worth the effort as you go through any type of troubleshooting. Also, it seems there is a different issue floating around related to HTML emails in Outlook 2007 due to the new rendering engine the product has. (One write-up of that is here.) That may be another issue altogether.


So, what I have written up here is what I recommended to resolve and also note that many of these steps can be used on Outlook 2003. The funning thing is, it also helped ME resolve an issue that I was having with Windows Desktop Search (version 3.01) which runs on Windows XP (built in on Vista). The issue that I was having was that every time I searched for something in the Windows Desktop Search, I was getting ZERO results for email. Doing what I mention below FIXES THIS!

  1. Windows Update — Make sure that you first run Windows/Microsoft Update to ensure that your Outlook is up to date.
  2. Repair/Diagnose — Do a “Repair” on your Outlook 2003/2007. In 2003, go to the HELP menu and select DETECT AND REPAIR. In 2007, go to the HELP menu and select OFFICE DIAGNOSTICS. Each of these will run through a check of your Office install and could potentially fix issues that you are having. The results could vary so be sure to read through the recommendations/results carefully. In the case that I was working on, it didn’t produce anything notable.
  3. Check Results — test out your Outlook after running these two steps. Don’t forget the tried and true step of rebooting periodically. It is amazing what a little reboot now and again can do. (Sidenote: I read a great tagline the other day…”To solve Windows problems, reboot; to solve Linux problems, be root” Funny!)
  4. Create a new Mail Profile — if you are on this step, I’m assuming that you have already worked through the first 3 and have not had any luck. This is where the “fix” probably comes in to play. There have been quite a few instances where creating a new Mail Profile will solve issues that you are having. This has worked for me a few times and with others when I was helping them on their computers. Here is how you create a new Profile:
    1. Go to Control Panels and select MAIL
    2. Within the Mail panel, select “Show Profiles…”
      Mail #1
    3. Under the Profiles area, you will most likely only see one Profile (e.g., “Outlook”) unless you have done one before.
    4. Select the “Prompt for a profile to be used” selection. Then click “Add…”
      Mail #2
    5. Type in the name for your new Profile. I usually recommend that you put in some sort of date stamp so that you know when you created your profile.
      Mail #3
    6. What pops up next really depends on your setup. If you are part of a Microsoft Exchange/Active Directory environment, you may have some thing defaulted. In other cases (and depending on the version of Outlook you are using), you will be prompted to enter other information. One way or another, you have to enter in your Account settings for the email address you are trying to set up. You just need to go through it until you are done with your profile. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee while you wait for your settings to populate.
      Mail #4
    7. After that, test out your new profile. NOTE: if you are remotely working, it may take a while for all of your email to fully download.
  5. That’s it!

Another little tip, once you confirm that your profile is working, just change the selection from “Prompt for a profile” to “Always use this profile”. Another thing you can do if you stick with the prompt version is change the selection to “Always”, set the profile you want to default to, click Apply, then go back the selection and choose the “Prompt” and click “Apply” again. This should set your new profile that you just created as the one that is defaulted in your selection.

Let me know if this works for you! I’m curious to know so post a comment if it DID or DID NOT. Recreating your profile doesn’t hurt and, as I said, has corrected lots of problems that I have had with Outlook. Later, once you are sure that you are up and running, you can delete your other Profile. Can I DIGG myself on finding this fix? HA!

HTD says: Hope this worked!