Why did Outlook crash?

How can I find more information about why Outlook crashed?

Event ViewerIn the Event Viewer, you can often find out more information about why Outlook crashed.

The Event Viewer is a general location in Windows itself where applications and Windows can write status events when for instance a service is started/stopped, an application is launched or closed, if a backup was successful, who logged on to the system, etc… It also contains events for when an application unexpectedly stopped or crashed.

The Event Viewer can be a great help to determine the root cause of an issue or to find new leads in case regular troubleshooting of Outlook didn’t bring any results.

Open the Event Viewer

There are quite a few number of ways to open it. Some of them are;

  • Start-> Run; eventvwr
  • Start-> Control Panel (classic mode)-> Administrative Tools-> Event Viewer
  • Start-> Control Panel (Windows XP)-> Performance and Maintenance-> Event Viewer
  • Start-> Control Panel (Windows Vista)-> System and Security-> Event Viewer
  • Start-> Control Panel (Windows 7)-> System and Maintenance-> Event Viewer
  • Right click on (My) Computer in the Start Menu or in Explorer and choose Manage.
    Expand System Tools to see Event Viewer.
  • C:\Windows\System32\eventvwr.msc
  • Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10;
    Start-> type; Event Viewer
  • Windows 8 (but not in Windows 8.1)
    Start Screen-> type; Event Viewer-> choose Settings-> View event logs
    To directly search in Settings, you can also press Windows Key+W
  • In Windows 8 and Windows 10
    Right click on the Windows icon in the bottom left and choose Event Viewer.
  • In Windows 8 and Windows 10
    Windows Key+X-> Event Viewer

Locating the Outlook entries

Outlook logs its entries to the Application log. Upon expanding the Event Viewer in Windows XP, you’ll see this log directly. In Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10, you’ll first have to expand the “Windows Logs” folder as well.

The application that created the Event is listed in the “Source” column. You’ll have to look for “Outlook” here. Scroll until you have found the most recent entry or entries which were written during your last Outlook session.

If you are having issues finding the correct event entry (for instance when you want to see if the same happened a few days ago), then you can also apply a filter to the log to only show the entries with the Event Level “Error” and Event Source being Outlook.

In Windows XP you’ll find the filter command in the View menu. For Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10, you can find the filter command in the Actions pane on the right or by right clicking on the Application log.

Example of a filtered Event Viewer for Outlook errors. (click on image to enlarger)
Example of a filtered Event Viewer for Outlook errors. (click on image to enlarger)

Looking up the meaning of the entries

When you have found the entry, you can find more information about the event in the Preview Pane (when you use Windows XP, you’ll have to double click the entry to launch it in its own window). The most important information for troubleshooting purposes can be found by looking at the “Event ID” number and the full text description.

The full text description can sometimes already tell you what is going on when it reveals the name of an add-in that you have installed. Disable the add-in and see if Outlook starts normally now. If it does, uninstall, reinstall or update the add-in or contact the vendor of the add-in to help you further troubleshooting their product.

If the description field is not clear, then you can also try to find more information about it via the Microsoft Support website. For instance, when you want to find out more about Event ID 27 you can type the following search phrase;
Outlook error Event ID 27

Event IDs are not always clear enough. Especially when you get and error 1000 or 1001 you’ll get a lot of results as these are used for more generic crashes. In those cases it helps to also include some keywords from the description field, especially when it contains references to dll-files.

Another great resource for looking up Event IDs is EventID.Net.

First troubleshooting steps

It is not always directly needed to start to analyze your (Outlook) issues by opening the Event Viewer and dive into technical descriptions. Many issues allow themselves to be solved by easy deduction.

For instance, if Outlook works in Outlook Safe Mode, it usually means that the issue is caused by an add-in or corrupt dat-file.

Other general troubleshooting steps can be found here.

If you have issues finding the cause, you can always post in the Outlook forums with the exact error message. Open the event by double clicking on it and press the copy button to easily paste it in the newsgroup message.

Important! When you have crashes with references to dll-files, never delete or manually replace these dll-files unless you are specifically instructed to do so by a renowned support specialist or instructions from a trustworthy source. Never (ever!), replace dll-files with dll-files that you obtained from one of the many dll-download sites that are around. These are usually modified, virus infected or the wrong version and will do your computer more harm than good.

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