Monday 4 February 2008

The dreaded 0x8004011D Outlook error status (solution)

I just recently got this error message from my Outlook 2007 (version doesn't matter). The error came out of the blue, I used Outlook without any problems on friday, but when I came to work on monday, it wouldn't connect any more. Great! What a fine way to start a work week.
Anyway, I searched all around the net for solution to this problem and the problems that followed this one with none of the search hits revealing much information about solutions, so I decided to write up my experience and possible steps to solve the issues.

Read on to learn how to fix "Error 0x8004011D server not available" problem:

Ok, so this seems to be some sort of glitch in Outlook <--> Exchange server connection where a particular client will loose all chances of connecting successfully to the server while all other clients continue to work normally. Well, the ratio of working / non-working clients can vary a lot even to the point where no client can connect, but then you can be sure the problem is on the server :). Note that multiple versions of Exchange server and Outlook client are affected so the suggested steps might help you even if you're not using the same versions as I do. While browsing through the search hits, I even found cases with Office XP having this problem.

The possible solutions that I found on the internet are:
1) Run Office setup with "Repair" option
This option is supposed to fix broken registry entries thus solving your problems.
2) Install the latest service pack for Office
Well, I cant really justify this one, but a new service pack was just available so I thought I might give it a try. Without success of course.
3) Restart the exchange services / server
Even the best software sometimes looses it and restarting can help...
Of course, only your company sysop can perform this one.

4) Run the following utilities on the exchange server (for all data files):
eseutil /p for repair
eseutil /d defrag
isinteg -s servername -test alltests

Same as above, you'll have to ask nicely :D
This one is meant to fix possible defects in the database restoring it to usable state.

5) Create a new Outlook profile (this one finally worked for me)
If your profile registry settings are so borked that neither of the first two options helps, you'll have to create a new profile thus creating a completely new set of settings which should help. I hope you didn't reply to too many mails while waiting for the problem to go away. I managed to gather some 50 of them, so I'll also add some information about how to transfer your uncommitted work to the new profile.

OK, these are just about all the possible solutions I was able to find on solving this fine "feature". But when I went for option 5, it still took me a couple of hours to get it right so I thing it's only fair to tell you what you need to be mindful of:

1) At first you were probably just hoping for the problem to go away so you just kept using the account in offline mode generating dosens of e-mails, new calendar entries, tasks, etc...
First, you need to back this up somewhere. I just used my archive folders for that, manually moving the items affected into some (separately created) folders. I used the built-in export functions for calendar and task items. Jou can create a new .pst file or use an existing one, as you like. Just make sure you back up whatever you did since you lost connection.

2) Now you have to make a new profile. I first attempted to create an additional profile to try the functionality, but had plenty of problems with that. Here's why:
It seems that the "Mail" control panel applet in certain scenarios likes to create a new offline folder file. Such scenario could be for example you selecting a custom offline folder file location in the advanced settings of the profile creation dialog. However, this might cause some additional trouble: When attempting to connect to Exchange server for the first time, you will be greeted with a message saying "unable to open your default e-mail folders. You must connect to your Microsoft Exchange Server computer with the current profile before you can synchronize your folders with your offline folder". When this happens, you're so out of luck. The only option for you is to delete all the Mail profiles and then create a brand new one. Using the same settings of course. Oh well....

3) After creating the new profile and successfully logging into the server for the first time, wait a bit for the files to synchronize with the server.

4) Restore the data you previously backed up from your defective profile

Instead of writing up a proper closing, I'll just say this: Hope this little guide helps and if it does, please feel free to click one of the fine shopping tips to the right -->  :-)