March 25, 2017

Microsoft Office 2011 Outlook won’t launch

This morning while I was checking my email I experienced a power outage. [Note to self: Buy a new UPS to replace the one under my desk that has dead batteries]

So of course my computer had an inelegant shut-down right during the exact moment that Outlook was retrieving email from the server.

Once power was restored, I started up my iMac and attempted to launch Outlook 2011 from the dock. It would not launch. When I clicked on it, it the icon would bounce once and then nothing else would happen.


First thing to do is to visit the Console and see what kind of error message you might find in the log. If you’ve never visited the Console, you’ll find it in your Applications/Utilities folder. When you launch Console, find the time that the problem occurred. In my case the log looked like this:

Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 10.18.01 AM

Notice what it says at 8:53:05 AM. This indicated that the cause for Outlook not opening had to do with the database… that means my “Main Identity” had a corrupted database as a result of my iMac suddenly losing power.

Next step then is to attempt to rebuild the database and this is accomplished by holding the Option (or ALT) key on your keyboard as you launch Outlook either by clicking on its icon in your dock, or by double-clicking on the application directly.

At this point the Microsoft Database Utility should launch and you’ll see this:

Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 9.36.28 AM

You’ll want to select “Main Identity” and then click “Rebuild”

Hopefully you will then see your computer progress through a rebuilding process that takes 5 steps:

Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 9.35.48 AM


Once the database has been rebuilt, your original Main Identity will be re-named “Main Identity [Backed up 2013-01-24 09.35.34]”, but of course yours will have a different timestamp.

At this point you cross your fingers, take a deep breath and attempt to launch Outlook 2011 again. This time you should find that things are back to normal and it will launch normally with a freshly rebuilt and hopefully trouble-free Main Identity database.

iMac slowing down? It’s time to visit the Console

Console-MessagesWhen your computer was brand new, it seemed so fast. Remember? And now, a couple years later you find yourself mumbling and grumbling because everything just seems so slow. Switching apps seems slow, launching apps takes forever, you are constantly seeing the spinning beach ball.

There are many reasons why a computer can begin to slow down. Looking in the Console is an oft overlooked tool in diagnosing these issues but there are more steps to be taken and in a future post, I’ll delve into that subject in greater depth. For now, one of the first things to do is to check permissions by using Disk Utility. When you launch Disk Utility, you will want to select your boot drive and then click on Repair Disk Permissions. This is a good habit to get in to… you cannot get into trouble by checking permissions every few weeks or so. This periodic task can resolve many quirky issues.

If you are still experiencing sluggish performance another place to check for leads as to what may be contributing to the slowness is your Console app. You’ll find this helpful app in your Applications > Utilities folder. This is where you will find all the logs pertaining to system errors and such.

Frequently you will find a particular error repeating itself hundreds of times a minute. You can literally have thousands of repeating errors occurring for a variety of reasons. This continual logging of repeating errors will consume a lot of processing time and can really slow down your computer. As an example, for the last couple weeks my computer was so slow I was just about ready to take the drastic measure of reformatting my drive, reinstalling Snow Leopard and then migrating all my apps, docs and settings from my backup back over, just to clean things up. But I visited my Console and noticed a repeating error. The error was: “11/10/09 10:23:07 PM – Tue, Nov 10    kernel    USBF:    140949.261    << _mouseParameter.button[1]=0x0” and it was repeating over and over again.

Here is what the console log looked like.


After a bit of investigation and Googling, I concluded it was caused by my Logitech Marble Mouse. I had deinstalled the Logitech Control Center a few weeks ago to resolve another issue I was having and by doing so, the mouse was causing repeating errors that were being logged by the thousands in Console. I reinstalled the Logitech Control Center software and after a restart noticed an immediate improvement in computer response. And the errors stopped completely.

So, before taking drastic steps, do a few basic steps first and make sure checking the logs in Console is one of those first steps.