Serves me right

Reading time: 2 mins

I love new software. I try and contain myself and diligently read reviews, virus scan downloads, check and double-check my system before and after installing anything; I’m almost, once might say, anal about it. I was the same when I got my copy of Office 2003. Sort of… ohh ok I barely glanced at anything before shoving the CD in and installing everything.

Anyway, I’m not writing about that, I’m writing this so I don’t forget, and hopefully it will be useful info for others. Others that have Office 2003 installed. Others who get annoyed when, instead of closing down, Outlook 2003 disappears to the system tray and then won’t re-open, instead presenting you with the following error message:

Outlook is not responding. If you are using an Exchange server e-mail account, you can cancel pending server requests by clicking the Outlook icon in the notifications area, and then clicking Cancel Server Request on the shortcut menu.

I have a problem with this. There IS NO CANCEL SERVER REQUEST option! I’m definitely NOT running Exchange server, so… simply.. WTF?

Panic not, dear reader, I have the solution, hours minutes on Google gave me the following advice:

If you leave Microsoft Outlook 2003 running for a few minutes, THEN shut it down, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Shuts down. Properly. No icon in system tray, no annoying error message and no killing of processes required (where would we be without Task Manager?).

Simple.

Now, I would blame Microsoft here, as unless I’m mistaken this is essentially a silly bit of code logic that is getting me (and many others) into this situation. But I’m not going to, and you shouldn’t either. In fact if anything I have to applaud the product team for producing something that is a huge improvement over it’s predecessor. Bravo Microsoft.

I honestly can’t imagine how many different configurations, scenario’s and the like that they have to test their product against before shipping, and I often wonder, for all the sniping remarks, just what percentage of problems that arise are actually down to errors in the software (PEBCAK?) It’s also worthwhile remembering that the vast majority of Microsoft employees are human beings like you and I, trying to make a living under the extra stress that being a Microsoft employee inevitably brings (from both sides as well).

So, if you thought you were going to get a moan, tough. I happen to think that Microsoft make good software products. Yes there are better ones, but they are many and varied, and everyone has their own x of choice meaning that each of those other products isn’t really competing with Microsoft, but they are competing with each other. No Microsoft is not perfect, yes I don’t agree with some of their business decisions, and yes Macs look MUCH better than ‘IBM-compatible’ boxes.

And, as I seem to have lost the thread of what I was talking about, I’ll go now.

(If you find the thread, please don’t pull it, the entire site may just well unravel before your very eyes…)

[UPDATE: This ‘fix’ may not solve your problem. Another thing to try is to view the Properties of your Inbox (right-click) and uncheck the “Automatically generate Microsoft Exchange views”. If like me you are using Outlook to access a POP3 account then you won’t need this… and as the error message mentions Exchange… well ya never know]