SMTP and Outlook 97
November 15, 2004 6:15 AM   Subscribe

I have a machine running Outlook 97. Somehow, the SMTP server has become changed to 'net' (that's all it says - it should be I am unable to change this back - every time I try, the next time Outlook goes to send and receive, it attempts to locate 'net' again. Any idea what's going on here? Google is little help on such generic keywords and the MS knowledge base doesn't seem able to help. Spyware check reveals nothing. XP Home.
posted by humuhumu to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Well, there is one simple solution to the problem: Use something else. If this is not your work system, and you don't need to trade meeting notices with people, and you're connecting to a POP server, then there is a world of much, much better solutions out there, that will never put you into this situation. My personal recommendation would be either Thunderbird or Mozilla Mail. I have switched many people from Outlook to Moz Mail, and every one of them has thanked me for it.

I realize you're looking for a solution to your specific Outlook 97 problem, but seriously: You can solve that problem (and IMO really should solve that problem) by using something better. Outlook is a truly, deeply, profoundly awful piece of software, and no one should ever use it unless they have to (see above): It's bloated, the menu structures make no sense, it's deeply insecure, and handles multiple email identities very poorly. Yes, it looks cool; for that reason, it would be wonderful if Ximian could port Evolution to Windows, but that ain't gonna happen.
posted by lodurr at 6:29 AM on November 15, 2004

Forgot: Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail. Most new development is targeted at Thunderbird, so that's what I'd recommend first, especially if you're an IE user.

While you're at it, you could consider ditching IE for Firefox or Mozilla (of which Moz Mail is a part). But that's really a different issue: IE doesn't suck, it's just dangerous. Outlook just plain sucks.
posted by lodurr at 6:52 AM on November 15, 2004

Response by poster: Not my system at all. It's used by someone who works for a charity who needs Outlook for its scheduling purposes and hence also uses it for its email. They don't have the money to upgrade. I don't like Outlook either but I need a fix for this specific problem with Outlook. So 'use something better' doesn't really help here and wasn't the question.
posted by humuhumu at 7:08 AM on November 15, 2004

Did you try deleting the entire mail account and setting it up again? (remembering first, of course, to archive off the entire mailbox to a .pst file)

Similarly, did you try uninstalling and then reinstalling Outlook itself?

The "Detect-and-Repair" utility will often fix broken files, too.
posted by briank at 7:22 AM on November 15, 2004

Some anti-virus apps auto-configure mail programs to run through their mail proxy in order to keep everything safe. Check your anti-virus app to make sure it's not insisting it knows what's best.
posted by revgeorge at 7:29 AM on November 15, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for those suggestions. Unfortunately, I'm currently attempted to fix this over the phone. I'll have a better idea of what's going on when I get my hands on it tonight.
posted by humuhumu at 7:40 AM on November 15, 2004

Definitely create a new Outlook profile (you don't have to delete the old one yet). To do this right mouse click the outlook icon on the desktop and select properties (it's not a shortcut but a special icon like the recycle bin) and then create a new profile. If the deafult outlook desktop icon has been removed open the control panel and double click the mail icon.

Once that is done you can mess around with PST, WAB, etc files to transfer the users setting to the new profile.

A search for creating a new outlook profile on MS's site should give you the step by step if you don't know how or check with the ISP as they have walked users thru Outlook setup 1000's of times.
posted by Mitheral at 8:34 AM on November 15, 2004

if at all possible try an install of a newer outlook version - 98 or 2000 or XP or whatever - as 97 is pretty old and a lot of bugs have been hammered out since then.

(sure i know this is a pain, given microsoft's licensing, but if you do have at least an office 2000 disk around it apparently no longer asks you to activate.)

also, as far as scheduling goes, if you do end up switching to something else, the calendar app for palm desktop is pretty simple and easy to use. last i checked it was a free download. might help make it easier if the calendar and mail aren't bundled, as breaking one won't break both...
posted by caution live frogs at 8:52 AM on November 15, 2004

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