When I am away from the office I often set Outlook to “Work Offline.”  This allows me to have Outlook open for access to the cached information and it doesn’t try to connect and update all the folders whenever I establish a VPN back to the office.

At some point, Outlook started resorting to Work Offline every time it started.  This was troublesome as I might go for hours at a time not realizing I was Working Offline and as a result, not receiving email messages.  Before this problem, Outlook would start in whatever state (Connected or Work Offline) it was in whenever it was shut down.

In researching the problem I found many references to this problem which go all the way back to Outlook 2003. [more]

Microsoft’s solution is to create a new Outlook profile, as the existing profile has somehow become corrupted.  I really wanted to find a “cause and effect” fix, but never did.  So ultimately, I created a new profile and the problem is solved.  It seems as though this is a work around rather than a solution, but I am now Online.

To create a new Outlook profile go to Mail (32 bit) in the Control Panel (Windows 7).

  • Click on the Show Profiles button under Profiles.
  • Click on the Add button.
  • Give the new profile a different name from your existing profile.
  • Follow the instructions and Outlook will connect to the Exchange server and automatically create a new profile.
  • With a new profile, you can now have Outlook prompt you regarding which profile you want to use when Outlook starts.  You can also specify one of the profiles for Outlook to use automatically.
  • If you specify a profile, be sure you specify the new one you just created.  This will ensure Outlook will start up and look for a connection to the Exchange server rather than ignore the Exchange server and Work Offline.