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Rules That You Created in Outlook 2002 Are Not Visible in Outlook 2003, but the Rules Are Visible in OWA

Support for Office 2003 has ended

Microsoft ended support for Office 2003 on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

When you install Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, any rules that you created in Microsoft Office Outlook 2002 that were custom rules that checked for adult content and offensive content are not visible in Outlook 2003 Rules Wizard. However, the rules still exist in Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA).
This problem occurs because when Outlook 2003 configures rules, the rules that are created in Microsoft Windows XP are removed from the ruleset, and then the ruleset is saved. However, the ruleset is not correctly flagged to delete all the old rules during the update to the rules table. As a result, the old rules remain on the Exchange Server computer in the rules table. This creates a situation where both the ruleset and the rules table have been updated, but they are not synchronized with each other. When you start Outlook 2003, it examines rules in both the ruleset and in the rules table. Outlook 2003 does not find a conflict and it loads the rules message to display the rules in the user interface. The old rules are not visible in the Outlook 2003 user interface, but the old rules still exist in the rules table, and the old rules still generate deferred action messages. These deferred action messages are ignored by Outlook 2003, but they are processed by Outlook 2002. Because Outlook Web Access obtains the list of rules from the rules table, Outlook Web Access always displays the old rules that have not been deleted.
To work around this problem, you can use Outlook to export the rules, start Outlook with the cleanrules switch, and then import the rules back to Outlook. This deletes the old rules from the rules table. To do this, follow these steps:

Export Rules

  1. Start Outlook.
  2. Click Tools, and then click Rules and Alerts.
  3. Click Options, and then click Export Rules.
  4. In the Save In list, click My Documents.
  5. In the File Name box, type Outlook Rules, and then click Save.
  6. Close Options, close Rules and Alerts, and then close Outlook.

Determine the Location of the Outlook.exe File

To determine the location of the Outlook.exe file, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, and then click Search.
  2. In the left pane, click All Files or Folders.
  3. In the All or part of the file name box, type Outlook.exe.
  4. In the Look In list, click Local Hard Drives, and then click Search.
  5. Note the full path of the Outlook.exe file for reference.

    The following full path is the default path:C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Outlook.exe
  6. Close Search Results.

Run the Outlook /Cleanrules Switch

  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. Type a quotation mark, type the path of the Outlook.exe file that you noted in the "Determine the Location of the Outlook.exe File" steps earlier in this article, type a quotation mark, type a space, and then type/cleanrules.

    For example, if Outlook.exe is in the default location, the command looks similar to the following: "c:\program files\microsoft office\office11\outlook.exe" /cleanrules
  3. Click OK. Outlook starts and the rules are cleared from Rules and Alerts.

Import Rules

  1. Click Tools, and then click Rules and Alerts.
  2. Click Options, and then click Import Rules.
  3. In the Look In list, click My Documents, click Outlook Rules, and then click Open.
  4. Click OK two times.
Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.
For more information about command line switches, click Microsoft Outlook Help on the Help menu, type command-line switches in the Search for box in the Assistance pane, and then click Start searching to view the topic.
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Article ID: 826964 - Last Review: 07/27/2006 22:47:36 - Revision: 1.7

  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2003
  • kbprb KB826964