How to use Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool to troubleshoot problems

The most common of Microsoft Outlook problems is Outlook crash – Microsoft Outlook Encountered a Problem and Needs to Close. Though the problems are not regular, they may be irritating when you face it. The causes for different problems are different. For instance, the reasons for Outlook crash – Microsoft Outlook Encountered A Problem and Needs To Close – can be different at different times.

Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool

This article discusses how to troubleshoot Microsoft Outlook using an easy method – The Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool – v2.

We came up with a brief description of Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool (OCAT) a while ago, when it was released. This article explains the tool in details – how to use OCAT to identify and fix problems related to Microsoft Outlook. Note that the reports from Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool may look a little complex when you first use it, but once you understand how to read them, you can use OCAT for regular maintenance of the Microsoft email client. Read on to find out how to use Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool to fix Outlook problems.

Features Of Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool – Version 2

  1. Scan Microsoft Outlook Configuration (Offline Scan For Outlook 2003 and Full Scan for 2007 & 2010)
  2. Open a scan that you ran previously on the same computer
  3. Import and use scan reports from other computers
  4. Different viewing formats for each scan report
  5. Download and install new rules automatically
  6. Download and install any new application fixes
  7. Send feedback to the OCAT team

When the OCAT team creates a new rule to detect Outlook configuration or to collect more information about your Outlook profile, it posts the rule to the Internet. OCAT ver 2 has the capability of checking for new rules and of downloading and installing the new rules into your copy of OCAT.

Occasionally, when the OCAT team comes up with a better installation package (.MSI file), it posts the same to the OCAT website. OCAT version 2 can update the installation files on your computer as soon as the new MSI files are available.

Figure 1 – Welcome Screen Of OCAT

Scanning Outlook With Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool

First of all, you need to start the OCAT tool. You can do this by clicking the OCAT icon on your desktop. If the icon is not present on the desktop, look for the Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool folder in the All Programs menu in Start menu and then click on Microsoft OCAT to start the application. The first time you run the application, you will get a screen as shown in figure 2 below.

Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool

Figure 2 – Automatically Updating OCAT

The first screen gives you two options – Check for updates at startup and Do not check for updates at startup. If you select Check for updates at startup, OCAT will check out the OCAT web page for any new rules and .msi files before presenting you with options to scan Microsoft Outlook. I recommend that you keep the first option selected as that will help you with latest rules to scan and identify problems in Microsoft Outlook. If you need to access this page again at a later stage, you can click on Updates under Also See.

When you click on Welcome in the left pane, you get options to start a scan, to view reports of a previous scan or to use Exchange Remote Connectivity Analyzer. The last option is just a link and OCAT has nothing special to do it. The OCAT team included the link in the tool as they thought you might want a quick link to the Exchange Remote Connectivity Analyzer.

You can click Start A Scan to simply start a scan without having to go to the Welcome options. When you click on Start A Scan, you get a screen where you are asked to enter a name for the scan. Enter a name/label that will help you identify the scan later.

Fig 3 – Starting A Scan

After entering the label, you can select if you wish to perform a Full Scan or an Offline Scan. Note that you cannot use Full Scan for Microsoft Outlook 2003. You have to select Offline Scan in this case. You can also use Offline scan if you do are not running Outlook. After making your selection, click on Start Scanning. Microsoft Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool will take few minutes to scan Outlook profiles. If you are using Full Scan, you need to keep Outlook running. If Outlook is not running during the OCAT scan, you will receive a message saying Outlook is not running and that you have to start it. After the scan is complete, you will get a window that shows you a summary of the scan.

Figure 4 – Scan Summary in OCAT

In case you receive a message saying you will receive an error message in case you add a delegate to Microsoft Outlook, you need to provide your credentials to connect to your Exchange Server. You can specify these credentials on the first page where you select Offline or Full Scan. Click on Show Credentials For Active Directory Logon and enter details in the related textboxes. You will first have to select Enable Credentials when mailbox account does not match Windows account so that the text boxes for ID, password, and domain are activated.

Fig 5 – Connecting To Active Directory

Viewing The Reports Of Scan And Fixing Errors

While you are at the summary view of OCAT (refer figure 4 above), click on View a report of this configuration scan. If you exited that screen, you could still view the reports of that scan by clicking on Select a Configuration Scan to View in the left pane of Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool. In the right pane, you can see a list of scans that were performed. Since you entered a name to the label to your scan, select the scan label in the right pane and click on View a report of this scan.

Figure 6 – Viewing Reports In OCAT

It takes a while before OCAT generates reports related to the scan you selected. Once ready, you get to select between two views to check out the reports related to the scan. Actually, there are three options but the last one – Other Reports – gives you just a runtime log of the scan performed and is not much useful other than identifying issues that may have made a scan go wrong.

The List view provides you with two tabs – Informational Items and All Issues. The first tab shows you all the information related to the Outlook profile that was scanned. The second tab compiles a list of all the errors found during the scan, making it easy for you to identify issues and troubleshoot Microsoft Outlook.

Figure 7 – List View In OCAT

To resolve an issue, click on that issue. Upon clicking the issue, you will get following options:

  1. Tell me more about this issue and how to resolve it
  2. Do not show me this item again for this instance only
  3. Do not show me this item again for all instances

The options are self-explanatory. Click on the first option – Tell me more about this issue and how to resolve it.

Figure 8 – Fixing Outlook Problems Using OCAT

When you click Tell me more about this issue…, OCAT opens a related Microsoft Knowledgebase article that explains the issue and provides you with steps to fix it.

Note that if OCAT finds any issues that need to be addressed immediately, it will show you a third tab next to All Issues under the label – Critical Issues. You need to fix these issues at the earliest. The steps to fix the issues can be obtained by clicking on Tell me more…

The Tree view of results offers a detailed collection of information about the Outlook profile scanned. The Tree view has two tabs – Detailed View and Summary View. These are self-explanatory. The Detailed View tab provides all data that OCAT gathered during the scan while the Summary View tab provides you with only the data OCAT considers important. You may want to check out the Summary View tab first, and when you find an issue, you can locate the issue in Detailed View tab for more information on the issue. If you find there is too much data in the Detailed View tab, use the Find feature to locate the issue in the Detailed View tab.

Figure 9 – Tree View In OCAT

The Detailed View tab is good for people who want comprehensive information about their Outlook profile. Otherwise, for troubleshooting Microsoft Outlook profiles, the List View is sufficient.

There are some other options in the Microsoft Outlook Configuration Analyzer tool such as Import, Delete (under the Select A Configuration Scan) and Export Report, Print Report and Arrange By (in the Report View). I am not covering these items in this article as they are self-explanatory.

Support is not provided by Microsoft for Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool. We can, however, try to assist you if you have problems using OCAT.

The Office Configuration Analyzer Tool has replaced the Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool.  The OffCAT tool provides all of the same functionality as the OCAT tool, but it also allows you to scan more Office programs.

In case you encounter any problem while using OCAT, leave a comment below explaining the problem and the version of Outlook you are running.

TIP: OutlookTools gives easy access to Outlook Settings & Troubleshooting Tools.

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Arun Kumar is a Microsoft MVP alumnus, obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN