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Home > Outlook & Email Tips > how to restore to Outlook defaults
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How to restore the Outlook default installation, toolbars and settings

dots What is the point?

As you may know, there are dozens of Outlook add-ins, tools or utilities on the Internet, waiting for you to install them. Some of them will work just fine, while other will end up messing your Outlook settings, such as toolbars, menus, startup routines, etc. There are two generic causes for these problems: bad programming and the way Outlook stores custom information for 3rd party add-ins and utilities.

This article describes how to restore Outlook default settings and it addresses the following symptoms:

  • It takes several minutes for Outlook to start or it freezes while starting;
  • Your Outlook toolbars and menus vanished from your Outlook views;
  • You receive startup error messages, such as Out of Memory errors or Microsoft error reports.

    These problems are most of the times related to 3rd party programs that you just installed or uninstalled from your system. Most of these programs integrate their own toolbars and menus within the Outlook main user interface. To store this information, Outlook is using a single configuration file, called OUTCMD.DAT. This file also stores details on custom changes you made on the Outlook default toolbars and menus.

    The OUTCMD.DAT file can easily become corrupted, due to hard disk problems, Outlook malfunctions or install/uninstall procedures initiated by 3rd party add-ins. When this file is corrupted, Outlook can show one of the above symptoms.

    dots How to restore Outlook

    Notice: this procedure will reset Outlook to its DEFAULT views and it will NOT restore CUSTOM toolbars or menus.

    To restore Outlook views, toolbars, menus or settings, you need to reset the content of the OUTCMD.DAT file.

    1. Exit Outlook;
    2. Locate the OUTCMD.DAT file.
    If you are running Windows XP and you installed Outlook on its default path, you can find the file in "C:\Documents and Settings\-USER-\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook", where "-USER-" if the name of your Windows login account. If not, search your local disk for the filename;
    3. Rename the OUTCMD.DAT file to a different filename;
    4. Restart Outlook.

    Once restarted, Outlook should restore the default OUTCMD.DAT file from scratch and you should be able to use Outlook with its default view settings.

  • To repair the Outlook PST file, click here.

  • To learn how to backup Outlook folders and Contacts, click here.

  • Learn more about solutions to speed up Outlook.

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