Use Command Line Switches in Outlook 2010

By default, running Outlook.exe will launch the program and start it normally in Windows. This is what occurs when you click on the Outlook desktop icon. However, there are many times where it would be useful to alter the startup of Outlook 2010 by adding a command line switch.

Instead of running outlook.exe, you can add a switch such as shown below:

outlook.exe /safe

This will launch Outlook without the Reading Pane or any toolbar customizations and will turn off any COM add-ins. A helpful command if Outlook is crashing because of a recently installed add-in.

You can run Outlook 2010 with a command line switch in one of two ways: using the Run command and creating a shortcut.

Run Command

In Windows Vista and Windows 7, click on Start, and then type Run into the Search box. Press Enter and the Run dialog box will appear.

Enter the full path to the Outlook.exe file and include the path in quotes. After the quotes, you can type in the command line switch as shown below:

“c:\program files\microsoft office\office14\outlook.exe” /safe

outlook 2010 command line switch

Windows Shortcut

If you want a more permanent solution, you could create a shortcut to the modified Outlook startup. Simply follow the first few steps of this previous article and type in the above mentioned path (including the quotes)where it says “Type the location of the item”.

Basically, you right-click on the Desktop and choose Create Shortcut Wizard. After that, you just give it a path and a name and you’re done.

Outlook 2010 Command Line Switches

Below are some of my favorite command line switches that I have used in an IT environment.

/a – Create a message with a specified file as an attachment, i.e. “c:\program files\microsoft office\office14\outlook.exe” /a “c:\my documents\test.doc”

/c messageclass – Creates a new item with a specific type of message class. Examples include:

  • /c ipm.appointment creates an appointment
  • /c creates a contact
  • /c ipm.note creates an e-mail message
  • /c ipm.task creates a task

/cleanautocompletecache – Removes everything, including names and email addresses, from the auto-complete list.

/cleanrules – Deletes all client and server based rules on Outlook startup.

/cleansharing– Useful if you cannot delete a RSS subscription from Outlook 2010. This will remove all RSS, Sharepoint, and Internet Calendar subscriptions from your account settings.

/nopreview – Starts Outlook 2010 with the Reading Pane turned off.

/safe – Starts Outlook without Reading Pane, Toolbar Customizations, and COM add-ins.

There are many more command line switches and you can read about the rest on the Office website:

If you need some help in using one of the switches, post a comment here and I will try to help! Enjoy!

Converting Outlook Express .DBX files for use with Outlook 2007

Back in October 2007 I struggled with converting a user’s email from Outlook Express (OE) to Outlook. My problem was I neglected to export her OE email prior to joining her computer to the new Windows domain. I figured out a solution in the end, after hours of work.

Life would have been so much simpler if I had know about the DBXconv program, which I found via Claus’s Grand Stream Dreams. DBXconv is freeware that extracts messages from OE5 and OE6 mailboxes into various formats.

As a test I downloaded DBXconv and saved it into a directory with a copy of my OE mailbox files. I ran the following command to extract the messages into .eml format.

dbxconv -eml *.dbx

The utility quickly created a folder for each of my .dbx files and created an .eml file for each of my messages. I was then able to import the files into Outlook 2007 by:

1) Dragging the .eml files into Windows Mail

2) Exporting the messages from Windows Mail

3) In Outlook 2007, Selecting File – Import and Export – Import Internet Mail and Addresses

4) Select Outlook Express 4.x, 5.x, 6.x or Windows Mail

5) Check the Import Mail and Import Address book boxes and press Next

6) In the Import Addresses window you can set how you want duplicates to be handled – Select the option and click Finish

Howto: Fix the Outlook 2007 Double Spacing Problem

I use Outlook 2007 and have experienced crazy formatting problems under certain circumstances that are not always reproducible. Here’s what I did to fix the problem:

  1. Close both Outlook and Word if they are running
  2. Browse to my C:\Documents and Settings\User\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates directory and rename the normal.dotm and normalemail.dotm files. These files will be automatically recreated the next time you launch Outlook. Note that renaming these files may cause you to lose signatures and other custom settings.
  3. Launch Outlook, then close Outlook. This will cause your normalemail.dotm file to be recreated.
  4. Launch Word, then close Word. This will cause your normal.dotm file to be recreated.
  5. Recreate your signatures if needed.
  6. Repeat this process for any other user profiles you may have.

I’m sure there is a more elegant way to fix this problem, but I’ve tried modifying everything I could think of inside both Outlook and Word – styles, formatting, stationary, Outlook templates, etc.

Posted in howto, office. Tags: , . 23 Comments »

Howto: Force Outlook to Download Updated Exchange Offline Address Books

I just created a new user on my Exchange 2003 server, and wanted to verify the new account was shown in the Global Address List (GAL). I’m using the Outlook 2007 client in cached mode, and I wanted to download the updated offline address book immediately, rather than waiting for it to perform it’s scheduled download.

KB 841273 explains that:

  1. Outlook in cached mode automatically updates the offline address book on the client every 24 hours. The 24-hour time period is measured from the time that the offline address book was last downloaded successfully. For example, if you complete an offline address book download at 09:00 today, Outlook will start the offline address book download the next day at approximately 09:00. Therefore, different people will receive updates at different, random times.
  2. Each day, the Exchange computer generates a full offline address book and a differential file from the previous day. The Exchange computer stores the differential file and the full file for the current day and stores only the differential files for the previous days.
  3. The default setting on the Exchange computer is to generate an offline address book differential file every morning at 04:00.
  4. By default, the Exchange computer generates the offline address book files every morning at 05:00.
  5. Unless you notice the last time that Outlook downloaded the offline address book, you may not know when Outlook is scheduled to try the next offline address book download. No indicator in the Outlook user interface advises you of the offline address book download schedule.

You can now see it’s virtually impossible to determine when my Outlook client would automatically receive the updated address list.

The steps I performed to force Exchange and Outlook to immediately synchronize the offline address books:

  1. One the server – Start Exchange System Manager, expand RecipientsOffline Address Lists. Right click on your address list and select Rebuild. You will be warned that it potentially could take a long time. Click Yes to proceed with the rebuild. Wait a few minutes, but if you have a small Exchange deployment this could finish in seconds.
  2. On the client – In Outlook click on the down arrow next to Send/Receive to open the menu. Click Download Address BookOK. Make sure that the Download changes since last Send/Receive check box is selected.

Problems opening Outlook attachments with Google Desktop Search installed

I haven’t run across this particular problem personally, but I thought I’d post it since I wasn’t able to find it documented anywhere else except on and in a few newsgroups.

It appears that the problem with opening Outlook attachments is due to a bug in Google Desktop Search (GDS) version 5.5.0709.30344 released on October 2, 2007. It was fixed in version 5.6.0711.24354 released on December 6, 2007.

Uninstalling the old GDS and installing the updated version fixes the problem. You can also try the following, which I found in a newsgroup:

“After performing the following steps, I was able to open attachments
in Outlook without completely uninstalling Google Desktop:

– In Outlook 2007, go to “Tools” > “Trust Center”
– Click “Add-ins” on the left-hand side of the resulting window
– In the lower part of the window, change “Manage: COM Add-ins” to
“Manage: Exchange Client Extensions”
– Click “Go…”
– Uncheck the “Google Desktop Search Outlook Add-in” then click “OK”

This leaves the Google Search Outlook toolbar available, so you can
continue to use it to search for messages. The only downside is new
messages won’t be indexed until you turn this add-in back on. So I
just temporarily disable it on the rare occasions when I have to open
a forwarded message.”