Outlook

Outlook Cannot Send This Item

Microsoft Outlook has a reasonably common, yet very generic error:

cannotNo Outlook, it was not helpful.

There are a bunch of reasons that can cause this error. Often, the ‘solution’ is to change the email from HTML to Rich Text or Plain Text, and move on. Or, copy/paste the entire email into a new email and move on. Neither of these are workarounds of course.

Dig a bit deeper on the web, and you’ll find some wackier reasons – the size of the logo in your signature for example. There was also a version of Exchange 2010 that caused the issue, but that was resolved.

I was running into this problem on a regular basis, and spent many hours trying to come up with a reason for the issue, and why only certain users had the issue, and on certain emails. I couldn’t reproduce on my own PC with the exact same emails, yet it was 100% reproducible on theirs. Also, if I removed the image from the user’s signature it fixed it – and it didn’t matter what image I put back in, it was always broken.

It wasn’t until I cried out for help on Twitter, and Christopher Kusek came to the rescue. After looking at a few other ideas, he pointed me towards hotfix KB3042197 with the lengthy title “ Graphics file attachment grows larger in the recipient’s email message after you change to a high DPI setting”

After reading this, I did some testing. Amazingly, the problem only occurred when the PC’s DPI setting was above 100%. Amazingly, when DPI is 125%, 150%, 200% etc, Word from inside Outlook resizes images in the HTML code based on your DPI setting. Some combination of HTML emails back and forth, and this resizing would cause the ‘Cannot send this item’ message.

Setting the DPI to 100% wasn’t enough either, as it would make the contents of the screen too small for some users. The registry setting mentioned on the KB article ‘DontUseScreenDpiOnOpen’ and setting the value to 1 (true) actually fixed it!

After some more testing, this single registry setting which you’d think would be on by default was rolled out, and the ‘Cannot send this item’ messages were no longer appearing. At least not for this particular problem!

TLDR: If Windows is set to > 100% DPI, the MS Word editor inside Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013 will resize images by default and this can cause weird stuff to happen.

Outlook Patch KB2956128 Breaks Profile Changing (and KB3054881)

With Outlook 2010, I have profiles automatically created*. This means a user can just launch Outlook for the first time with all their account settings populated. The flow on effect of this is that from the Mail control panel program, clicking Add will also auto-populate the account using our email server and the signed in user’s email address.

outlook2

Once the new profile was created, you can normally go to Properties > Email Accounts > Change – from there, you can enter a different user’s name and use their Exchange account instead (assuming you have permission). This is handy for people who need secondary profiles for Outlook for whatever reason, or for Admins.

outlook

Except, now I can’t change the account from my own. The User Name field for the Change Account window is greyed out! It never used to be. After doing some digging around, assuming some policy must have changed I finally worked out that the latest update for Outlook had caused this.

The culprit is KB2956128, the February 10, 2015 update for Outlook 2010. After removing this update from my PC, the field was no longer greyed out and can now be changed.

outlook3

Another weird effect of this patch was that one of the profiles disappeared when it was installed, then reappeared after the patch was removed.

My guess is that this problem stems from the listed issue being fixed, but I’m only guessing:

February 10, 2015 update for Outlook 2010 (KB2956128)

    • Although you deploy the Microsoft Outlook 2010 policy Prevent copying or moving items between accounts (registry entry DisableCrossAccountCopy), Outlook 2010 still lets certain user rules to move or copy organization email messages to an Outlook Data (.pst) file or another email account.

 

There are some other grumblings about this patch breaking addins, OCS crashing, password prompts and search functionality on public folders. I didn’t see my particualr issue mentioned though… here’s a few links:

http://www.reddit.com/r/sysadmin/comments/2voun5/patch_tuesday_kb2956128_breaks_mailexpress/

http://www.infoworld.com/article/2884204/patch-management/users-report-that-kb-2956128-is-causing-outlook-failures.html

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/office/en-US/af1df139-e8f4-4950-9f6d-147e21c40f92/ol2010search-problems-after-install-kb2956128?forum=outlook

The worrying part of this is it seems to be yet another patch that’s causing issues in the Microsoft world. They haven’t had a very good run of patches lately, when a year ago a bad patch was surprising. Let’s hope they start testing these more thoroughly again.

* Update 6th March 2015 – I just wanted to clarify that in my work environment, we are pushing settings that force the auto creation of a profile. If you’re not doing this then you’re probably not affected as much by this particular issue because you’ll be prompted for the details such as Exchange Server and Email address, but there’s still several weird issues that have arisen from this patch – so either hold off or do extra testing on this one!

* Update 11th August 2015 – I’ve now noticed that a new update KB3054881 replaces KB2956128, and also breaks this functionality. Uninstalling the update immediately fixes it.

* Update 26th August – KB3055041 replaces the last KB, and still breaks it. I’m going to guess any future Outlook 2010 updates break this.

 

 

LinkedIn for Outlook Social Connector Discontinued

Today I received the following notice from LinkedIn:

Hi Adam,

As an active user of LinkedIn for Microsoft Outlook Social Connector, we wanted to make sure we let you know that on March 9, we will no longer support LinkedIn for Microsoft Outlook Social Connector in Outlook 2003, 2007, and 2010. This means that LinkedIn information about your email contacts will not be visible in those Outlook versions.
Our team is working with Microsoft to build even more powerful tools to help you stay connected with your professional world. Until then you can get similar capabilities with the “LinkedIn for Outlook” app for Outlook 2013 from the Office Store.
Have questions? Visit our Help Center for more information..
Thanks,
The LinkedIn Team

That’s 6 days notice (although probably seven since I’m going to assume it’s US March 9) for discontinuing a product. I’ve had a brief look around and can’t find any other information around this, apart from a similar message on LinkedIn’s website.

LinkedIn appear to be pushing their new app called LinkedIn for Outlook, which is only supported by Outlook 2013 or Outlook Online. That doesn’t help those of us that can’t run Outlook 2013 for legacy reasons (plugins being the main culprit here!).

One note is worth pointing out on the decomissing of the product taken from LinkedIn’s website:

  • Any contact information that you have locally synced in Outlook will remain in Outlook, but it will no longer be updated.

Does this mean the plugin will continue without erroring, showing cached information? This can be a gotcha for people running it either at home, or in a corporate environment. I’ve reached out to LinkedIn on Twitter, so we’ll see if they respond:

 

Quick Update: Wes Miller has pointed out that this could be due to LinkedIn API changes, locking down most things.

Update 11th March 2015 – I’ve had LinkedIn help respond. Looks like it’s time to uninstall that addon before users are affected!