Outlook, “Can’t connect to server”

Update: This same trick seems to work for Mac Mail, too. Delete the email account, then recreate it.

Got this answer from a client who got it from SBC who knew of a glitch in Microsoft Outlook.

In a nutshell, your Outlook account can get rusty and needs to be deleted and recreated. Not deleting all of your email or contacts or anything drastic, but just the account (you@yourdomain.com). You delete it and then put it right back and it cleans up the problem. Here’s how (in Outlook 2002, your mileage may vary).

  1. Go to Tools –> Email accounts
  2. Check button for “View or change existing email accounts”
  3. Click Next
  4. You’ll see a list of your email accounts. Find the one that’s having the trouble, highlight it and click Change in the upper right.
  5. Write down (with pen and paper) or copy into a Word document, all of the information here. Especially the important fields: User Name, Password (you’ll have to know this!), incoming server, outgoing server, etc. Click also on More settings and see if there is any info (especially in the Outgoing Server tab) that you need to write down. Double check your notes.
  6. Click cancel and it’ll get you back to Outlook. Then do Tools –> Email accounts again to get to your email account list. Now you want to click (highlight) the account in question and choose Remove from the buttons on the right. Again, this won’t delete all of the email for that account or anything, just the account info. Leave your other email accounts as they are.
  7. Click Finish and you’ll be back in Outlook. Close Outlook and start it up again.
  8. Again Tools –> Email accounts but choose to Add a new account. Now add the exact same info as you had before for the account.
  9. Check your mail and hopefully this solved your connection issues.

It seems it needs something of a “spring cleaning” to get out some of the cobwebs. Hopefully this works. If not, it may be your login name, your password, or your host. Good luck!


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  1. snatur January 26, 2011 at 1:10 am - Reply

    Thanks for share method . Now I can use Outlook to connect to server already .

  2. Tim September 8, 2011 at 8:04 am - Reply

    The video doesn’t load and I have followed every video/tutorial I can find and nothing is working

    • Bradley Charbonneau September 9, 2011 at 6:45 am - Reply

      Hi Tim,

      This tutorial doesn’t have a video (as far as I remember!). At least, I don’t see one above or even a link to it. Thanks for the note.

  3. John Wilkes November 3, 2011 at 2:06 am - Reply

    Brilliant! The old turn it off and on worked! Thanks so much!

  4. Kerrie August 9, 2016 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    How can you do this on an iphone

  5. Steve December 20, 2016 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    You should Contact at Outlook Customer Care 1-800-585-2494 Toll Free Number.

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