Fixing the MS Office SP2 "Outlook cannot connect to your incoming POP3 account" error
Bad Outlook Juju
So, when I got up this morning, I noticed my computer had rebooted--my main development machine is a MacBook Pro, and I was booted into Mac OSX rather than Windows Vista where I had left it last night.
Step 1: Uninstalling Microsoft Office SP2
I then realized I couldn't send or receive mail--the last mail I received was from last night--so I immediately suspected a problem with a Windows Update. Sure enough, after a quick Google search I determined that others were experiencing the same problem. Fortunately, Googled "Uninstall Microsoft Offfice SP2" andI came across a link that mentioned an uninstall tool for Office 2007 that allows you roll back the service pack:
UNFORTUNATELY, this didn't work for me, but it's definitely worth a try if you are experiencing the same problem, because it definitely did fix the problem for others...
The caveats in the readme.txt file mentioned that this uninstall tool only works for MS Office Service Pack 2 or higher. Here are the other conditions:
- Assists in uninstalling client patches only; Does not install server patches
- Command Line tool so help can be accessed by running "oarpman /help" from the command line. This will describe each of the available commands
- Using the /log switch with the /report switch provides some extra information in the log that is not output to the console.
- A “release” is a collection of patches. To see what releases are available for uninstall, use the /report switch. The 2007 SP Uninstall Tool will remove all of a given release. It does not uninstall per patch, or per product. For example, if you have Microsoft Visio Service Pack 2, Microsoft SharePoint Designer Service Pack 2, and Microsoft Office Professional Service Pack 2 on the computer, the tool will attempt to uninstall all three.
-The /report switch will only display patches that are part of a release that the tool can uninstall.
-When logging is enabled with /remove, the MSI logs are also copied into the same directory as the oarpman log.
The Readme.txt file also contains the following basic workflow for uninstalling:
1 - User installs (or has already installed) Service Pack 2 or higher.
2 - User downloads the 2007 SP Uninstall Tool and expands the package to a working directory.
Please Note: You must choose a subfolder for expanding the tool (e.g., c:\subdir). You cannot expand the tool into the root directory of the drive (e.g., c:\).
3 - User opens a command prompt under administrator context and navigates to oarpman.exe.
4 - User wants to see what the tool can do, so types: “oarpman /help”
Help is shown, describing the tool and switches.
5 - User wants to see what can be uninstalled, so types: “oarpman /report /log c:\logfolder\logname.log”
The /log switch is optional, but does provide extra information that is not displayed to the console window.
6 - User now looks at the console window, or opens the log, and notes what patches are installed. Also, identifies what releases are installed by looking at the “Release” column.
7 - User wants to remove the Service Pack from the machine, so types: “oarpman /remove <release name> /log c:\logfolder\logname.log”
This will begin removing the Service Pack release from the computer, create an oarpman log, and copy the MSI logs to the path specified with the /log switch. The time it takes to uninstall will vary, based on how many products are installed, how many Service Pack updates are installed, the speed of your processor, etc. Uninstall may take as long, or slightly longer, than it took to install the Service Pack updates.
8 - User may run “oarpman /report” again to verify that all releases have been removed.
When you run the uninstaller, you will see a number of messages that look something like this:
Don't close the Command Window yet! When Service Pack 2 has been successfully removed, you will see a message in the command window that says:
UninstalDon't rebott yourl successful. Please reboot..
At that point, I rebooted and Outlook and am STILL not able to send/receive e-mail...now I'll try completely uninstalling Outlook and installing it again!
Step 2: Completely Uninstalling and Reinstalling Microsoft Office
Unfortunately, although this step didn't work for me. After uninstalling and reinstalling, I was STILL unable to send/receive e-mail and was STILL getting the "Outlook cannot connect to your incoming POP3 account" error!
Step 3: Uninstalling individual updates
At this point--still trying for the minimal approach, I rolled back individual updates that had been applied to my machine the night before.To determine which updates were applied, you can do the following:
1. Go to the Windows Control Panel
2. Open up the Windows Update section of the Control Panel
3. At the top of the Window is an option to uninstall updates. Click on that...
4. In the list of installed updates, select an update and then click Uninstall
This took a few hours to complete...again, unfortunately I was still getting the same error in Outlook!
Step 4: Install Windows 7
Well, I had meaning to install Windows 7 anyway, so, left with little options, I downloaded and installed Windows 7 on my machine. I decided to do an upgrade rather than a fresh install, and the installation actually went very well! My laptop was mostly functioning, but now I couldn't access the Internet through Internet Explorer or from Outlook.
Step 5: Install the new Snow Leopard OSX Operating System and Parallels Desktop 4.0
As I mentioned earlier, I'm running both Windows and OSX on my Macbook Pro. I thought it best to get the latest OSX drivers (Bootcamp drivers) that work with Windows 7. As it turns out I needed to upgrade OSX from Leopard to Snow Leopard. Since my wife and I were headed out that day to Richmond, VA, I stopped at the Apple Store and picked up a copy of Snow Leopard as well as the latest version of Parallels Desktop--this is the tool I use to run Windows applications from within the Mac OSX.
The installation of Snow Leopard worked without a hitch, as did the installation of Parallels Desktop 4.0. I could now run a Windows 7 virtual machine from OSX. I set up Parallels desktop so my Windows virtual machine could share an Internet connection with OSX. However, even though I could access the Internet from OSX, I was still unable to access it from Windows 7--whether I ran it from an OSX virtual machine or if I booted directly into Windows 7 at startup.
Step 6: Installed the New Version of Norton Internet Security
Interestingly enough, I was able to access the Internet on Windows 7 by using the Safari browser--worked without a hitch, so I knew my Internet connection was working well. Also, I tried booting into Windows 7 with Safe Mode, and I was able to access the Internet using Internet Explorer, Safari, and Outlook...I was almost there. When you have problems accessing the Internet, it is often caused by an anti-virus or firewall program. So, I checked out the Norton web site and discovered there was a new version of Norton Internet Security that works well with Windows 7. I purchsed the upgrade, downloaded and installed and....it worked! Now I am completely up and running with MacBook Pro running OSX and Windows 7.
This is certainly more fun than one person should have!
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