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Auto Account Setup fails for Outlook.com accounts

When I try to add my Outlook.com account to Outlook via the Auto Account Setup wizard, I get the following error:

An encrypted connection to your mail server is not available.
Click Next to attempt using an unencrypted connection.

That process eventually also fails and I’m asked to verify my email address (which is correct) or set it up manually.

How do I do that and can’t Outlook really configure itself with Outlook.com?

As strange as it may sound, Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2007 indeed don’t know how to automatically set up Outlook.com accounts. Outlook 2013 however does.

Even though setting up an Outlook.com account manually isn’t that hard, we can still have some fun in the Registry to make Auto Account Setup work for Outlook.com accounts in Outlook 2010. This method can also be used to make it recognize the new country domains (like @outlook.de) or when you host a mailbox on Outlook.com with your own custom domain.

In addition, we can remove the old HTTP method from Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007 to prevent confusion.

Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 fail to automatically configure your Outlook.com account.
Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 fail to automatically configure your Outlook.com account.

Manual account configuration

Before we get to the fun part, let’s do the practical part first.

When you select the “Manual configure server settings” option and click Next, you get to the account type selection screen. Here, enable the radio button in front of Other and select the Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector option.

Add Account - Other - Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector

If it isn’t listed, close Outlook, download and install the Outlook Hotmail Connector, restart Outlook and go back to the Add Account wizard in case you are not automatically prompted to add an Outlook Connector account.

The dialog which you need to fill out to configure an Outlook Hotmail Connector account is very straightforward:

Windows Live Hotmail Settings - Outlook Hotmail Connector - Add Outlook.com address

When you try to set it up manually in Outlook 2013, you don’t need the Outlook Hotmail Connector at all. Instead, make sure you select “Outlook.com or Exchange ActiveSync compatible service” EAS as the account type and use m.hotmail.com as the mail server.

Enable Outlook 2010 to AutoConfig Outlook.com accounts

By adding a Regkey we can enable Outlook 2010 to recognize and automatically configure Outlook.com accounts or any of its country domains.

  • Key for 32bit version of Outlook 2010 on a 64-bit version of Windows
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Office\Outlook\
    AutoConfigDomains\outlook.*
  • Key for pure 32-bit or 64-bit Outlook and Windows combinations
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\Outlook\
    AutoConfigDomains\outlook.*

The values which need to be added are as follows:

"Friendly Name"="Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector"
"Service Name"="MSN_CON"
"Minimum Version"=dword:0000000e
"Install Location"="http://g.live.com/0CR%1/31"

Rather than adding it manually, you can download this file which contains the required Registry keys.

Regedit - AutoConfigDomains - Outlook.com

When you now use Auto Account Setup with your Outlook.com address, you might be prompted for your password a couple of times but it works.

Add Account - Outlook.com - Congratulations

You can add the same key with your on domain in case you are using mailboxes hosted on Outlook.com but with your own domain.

Disable HTTP account type in Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007

Sadly, the above method doesn’t work for Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007. In fact, it is actually also offering you to connect via the long discontinued HTTP method.

To prevent confusion, especially when you are in a larger environment, you can disable the HTTP account type option by adding the following Registry value.

Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\<version>\Outlook\Options
Value name: DisableHTTP
Value type: REG_DWORD
Value: 1

Add Account Outlook 2007 - HTTP account type is still listed

Outlook Hotmail Connector update?

Hopefully, a future update will make Outlook 2010 properly recognize Outlook.com accounts and configure it automatically as I personally think it is a bit embarrassing that it doesn’t.

However, the Auto Account setup is a native Outlook feature so a future update to the Outlook Hotmail Connector won’t fix it. Maybe the required keys will be added to Outlook 2010 SP2. As Outlook 2007 doesn’t support the registry method, it probably won’t be added there either and Outlook 2003 doesn’t support Auto Account Setup at all.

Luckily, the manual process isn’t that hard, once you’ve found it… Either way, it would be nice if Microsoft would streamline it a bit more.



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