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Debilitating 'Outlook needs to close' bug linked to a bad Windows cumulative update


Internecine conflict seems to be a recurring theme at Microsoft, but this one takes it to new levels. Somehow, somebody forgot to test the latest patched version of Outlook with the latest patched version of Windows. The result is an error message that makes Outlook inoperable.

The official announcement appears on the Microsoft 365 support site:

After updating to Version 2005 Build 12827.20268 or higher and starting Outlook you may see the following error prompt:

The Outlook Team is investigating this issue with the Windows Team.  We are not sure yet if the primary fix will come from Outlook or Windows.  When we have more information on fix details we will add them here.

outlook needs to close Microsoft

If you click OK, the ScanPST Inbox Repair Tool starts. Go through the repair process, reboot, and – surprise! – you get the error message again. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. No telling how many hours have been wasted over the weekend on this one. The good news, though, is that your PST file is fine – and always has been.

As best I can tell, the show-stopper bug only occurs on machines that:

  • Use PST, not OST, files;
  • Run Microsoft 365 version 2005 Current Channel release 12827.20268 (from June 2) or Current Channel release 12827.20336 (from June 9);
  • And have installed the June 2020 Win10 cumulative update (KB 4557957 for version 2004, KB 4560960 for versions 1903 or 1909, or KB 4561608 for version 1809).  

Microsoft’s solution – published in that Microsoft 365 support article – involves manually editing the Registry to make Outlook disregard the bogus “corrupt” PST file on startup. In fact, the “corrupt” PST file isn’t corrupt at all. It’s just Windows messin’ with Outlook.

If you don’t want to pummel your Registry, Diane Poremsky at Slipstick has an easy downloadable solution.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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