How to Troubleshoot Outlook Setup Problems - dummies

How to Troubleshoot Outlook Setup Problems

By Faithe Wempen

Each e-mail service has its own quirks for setting up the account in Outlook 2013 (or any mail program) to properly send and receive messages. Outlook can automatically detect the settings in many cases, but it can’t always detect every service correctly.

If Outlook wasn’t able to successfully send a test message, you need to do some troubleshooting. Don’t panic, though. It’s not that difficult. If you get stuck, you can always call your ISP’s tech support line and get help.

If you’re using a web-based e-mail provider such as Yahoo! Mail or Gmail, it might not work with Outlook. This is a known issue. Some services have workarounds that you can follow to make them work in Outlook; check the tech support section at the website where you get your web-based mail to see whether there is anything you can do.

To troubleshoot mail problems, make sure you have the following information handy. If you don’t have it, contact your ISP. It may also be available on the ISP’s website.

  • Your e-mail address and password: You probably have this already from your earlier attempt.

  • The incoming and outgoing mail server addresses: They might be the same.

The server address is usually whatever comes after the @ sign in your e-mail address, preceded by the word mail. For example, if your e-mail address is, the mail server might be

If there are separate servers for incoming and outgoing mail, the incoming one might be, and the outgoing one might be Those are just guesses, though; you need to get that information from your ISP.

  • Information about whether an encrypted connection should be used.

  • Information about whether your outgoing mail server requires authentication: If it requires authentication, you also need to know whether the outgoing server requires a different username and password than your regular one.

Armed with all that information, follow these steps to troubleshoot:

  1. Choose File→Account Settings→Account Settings.

    The Account Settings dialog box opens.

  2. Double-click the e-mail account you want to troubleshoot.

    The Change Account dialog box opens, as shown in Figure 8-8.


  3. Check all the information in the dialog box to make sure it matches the information you have about your account.

    In particular, check the Account Type, Incoming Mail Server, and Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP).

    You may not be able to change the account type. If you can’t, and it’s wrong, you need to delete that account from Outlook and set it up again as if it were a new account.

  4. Select or deselect the Require Login Using Secure Password Authentication (SPA) check box, whichever is different from the current setting.

  5. Click the Test Account Settings button to see whether that fixed the problem. If it did, skip the rest of the steps. If it didn’t, go back to the original setting and go on to the next step.

  6. Click the More Settings button.

    The Internet E-Mail Settings dialog box opens.

  7. Click the Outgoing Server tab and then select the My Outgoing Server (SMTP) Requires Authentication check box, as shown in this figure.


  8. Try each of the three options. After each one, click OK and then click the Test Account Settings button to check whether it helped. If one of the options works, skip the rest of the steps.

    If you select the Log On Using radio button, fill in your username and password in the boxes provided. For the username, use your complete e-mail address. If that doesn’t work, try using only the part of your e-mail address before the @ sign. Try it with the Require Secure Password Authentication (SPA) check box deselected and then try it with that check box selected.

  9. If you closed the Internet E-mail Settings dialog box, click the More Settings button again to reopen it. Then on the Advanced tab (see the figure), drag the Server Timeouts slider closer to the word Long (that is, farther to the right).

    This change can help give more time to a mail server that is slow to respond. A timeout delay of more than two minutes isn’t usually needed.

    Some mail servers use different port numbers for incoming and/or outgoing mail. Check with your service provider to make sure that it uses the defaults of 110 for incoming and 25 for outgoing, and make changes on the Advanced tab if needed. If you use an encrypted connection, the incoming server’s default is 995. Check with your provider to find out for sure.


  10. Click OK and click the Test Account Settings button.

  11. If you got Outlook to successfully complete a test message, great. Close all dialog boxes. If not, contact your e-mail service provider’s tech support and find out what setting you need to change to make it work.