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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Microsoft Outlook Out of Office Assistant not working ?

The out of office assistant can be a great tool when it works correctly but I have noticed a lot of posts lately from people having out of office messages not working or out of office messages that simply wont turn off.

First of all depending on the group policies set on your domain (if your on one) you may not have permissions to set out of office so that's the first thing to check, if your using the out of office assistant and still having trouble turning it off or on give the following tips a try.

1. Outlook Switches - Clean rules ( backup your rules first)
the most common reason for out of office messages not working are that htere a problems with outlook rules either blocking or preventing the out of office assistant from doing its job, so first of all run

outlook /cleanrules

outlook /cleanclientrules

if this fails the most likely reason is that you didn't install outlook to the default directory, if that is the case simply use the full path to Microsoft outlook, e.g C:/microsoft/outlook.exe /cleanrules.

2. Set your office out office via web mail interface
Next step is to try setting up the out of office assistant from the microsoft exchange web interface just to help pin point the cause of all the troubles.

3. The other possible reasons

The next most common reason I see out office failing for is due to power outages or system crashes. especially relating to ISS services which can be interrupted during incorrect shutdown or crash and a restart of your mail server can usually be an easy fix.

if you still having troubles there are many ways of turning on or off the out of office assistant, try the following Microsoft applications which can help manually edit MAPI settings


  1. Oh my! I tried the first step: Clean rules
    I thought it would just setup the rules configuration but it deleted all my rules! I don't have a backup of my rules!
    Please provide warning on the output next time.

    I would've preferred to have no out of office than no rules.

  2. I'm sorry to hear that, but actually, you didn't ask questions when reading that command. This put a smile on my face, even though I regret you losing your rules.