Outlook for Mac 2011 error: "Outlook has encountered a problem and needs to close"

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Article ID: 2405496 - View products that this article applies to.
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Symptoms

When you try to start Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2011, you receive the following error message:

Microsoft Outlook has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

Resolution

To resolve this issue, follow these steps. (You might find it helpful to first print this article.)

IMPORTANT The location of certain files are different if you have Service Pack 2 (SP2) installed. To check if it is installed, open Word, and then click About Word from the Word menu. If the version number is 14.2.0 or above, you have Service Pack 2 and you should follow the Service Pack 2 steps when provided in this article.

Step 1: Quit all applications and close all windows

You must quit all applications before you continue with these steps. To quit an application, select the application on the toolbar (top), and then select Quit. If you cannot quit an application or do not know how, hold down the Command and Option keys, and then press Esc on your keyboard. Select the application in the "Force Quit Application" window, and then select Force Quit. Click Force Quit to quit the application.

Note You cannot quit Finder.

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Fore Quit Applications window


When you are finished, click the red button in the upper-left corner, and then go to "Step 2: Move the Outlook Preferences to the desktop."

Step 2: Move the Outlook Preferences to the desktop

To move the Outlook Preferences to the desktop, follow these steps:
  1. Quit all applications.
  2. On the Go menu, click Home.
  3. Open Library.
    Note The Library folder is hidden in Mac OS X Lion. To display this folder, hold down the OPTION key while you click the Go menu.

  4. Open Preferences, and then drag the following files to the desktop:
    • com.microsoft.Outlook.plist
    • com.microsoft.outlook.database_daemon.plist
    • com.microsoft.outlook.database_utility.plist
    • com.microsoft.outlook.office_reminders.plist
    • com.microsoft.Outlook.SyncServicesPreferences.plist

    Note If you cannot find one of these files, continue to the next. Some of these files may not have been created if an Outlook feature was not used.
  5. Start Outlook. Does the error occur?

    No, the error no longer occurs.
    One of the files that you moved is causing the problem. To isolate the file, follow these steps:
    1. Quit Outlook.
    2. Move one of the files back to its original location.
    3. Start Outlook.

      If the error reoccurs, the file that you just moved is causing the problem. Drag this file to the Trash.

      If the error does not occur, continue repeating steps A to C until you isolate the file.

    Yes, the error still occurs.
    Quit Outlook, and move the files back to their original location. Go to the next step.

  6. Quit all Microsoft Office applications.
  7. On the Go menu, click Home.
  8. Open Library.
    Note The Library folder is hidden in Mac OS X Lion. To display this folder, hold down the OPTION key while you click the Go menu.

  9. Open Preferences.
    Note If you have Service Pack 2 installed, open Application Support instead of Preferences.
  10. Open Microsoft, and then open Office 2011. Drag the following files to the desktop:
    • Outlook Preferences
    • OfficeSync Prefs

    Note If you cannot find one of these files, continue to the next. Some of these files may not have been created if an Outlook feature was not used.
  11. Start Outlook. Does the error occur?

    No, the error no longer occurs.
    One of the files that you moved is causing the problem. To isolate the file, follow these steps:
    1. Quit Outlook.
    2. Move one of the files back to its original location.
    3. Start Outlook.

      If the error reoccurs, the file that you just moved is causing the problem. Drag this file to the Trash.

      If the error does not occur, continue repeating steps A to C until you isolate the file.

    Yes, the error still occurs.
    Quit Outlook, and move the files back to their original location. Go to "Step 3: Move the Microsoft User Data folder to the desktop."

Step 3: Move the Microsoft User Data folder to the desktop

The Microsoft User Data folder contains all the user information for Microsoft Office. This includes the Outlook database. To move the Microsoft User Data folder to the desktop, follow these steps:
  1. Quit all applications.
  2. On the Go menu, click Documents.
  3. Drag the Microsoft User Data folder to the desktop.
  4. Start Outlook.
    If you can start Outlook without a problem, the problem may be related to the Outlook database.
To troubleshoot Outlook database problems, visit the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:

2360509 Rebuild the Outlook for Mac 2011 database

If the error continues to occur, go to "Step 4: Use a different user account to test Outlook."

Step 4: Use a different user account to test Outlook

Sometimes, a specific user's information may become corrupted. To determine whether this is the case, you can sign in as a different user or create a new user account, and then test the application.

For more information about how to create a new user account, visit the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:

2439218 Testing your user account to troubleshoot Office for Mac applications

If the error continues to occur, go to "Step 5: Download and install the latest Office updates."

Step 5: Download and install the latest Office updates


To obtain updates with Office for Mac applications, follow these steps:
  1. Start any Office for Mac application.
  2. On the Help menu, click Check for Updates.
  3. Click Check for Updates in the Microsoft AutoUpdate dialog box.
For more information about Office for Mac updates, visit the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:

323601 How to obtain Office for Mac software updates

Properties

Article ID: 2405496 - Last Review: September 12, 2013 - Revision: 12.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2011
Keywords: 
dftsdahomeportal KB2405496

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