Troubleshooting MAPI errors while running Outlook

If you use Microsoft Outlook then you will run into many email MAPI related errors over time. A couple of the errors you may encounter include:

  • Receiving an error message if a file conflicts with the MAPI file on your computer when you start Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2003.
  • Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Mapi32.dll is corrupt or the wrong version.

When you start Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 or Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, you may receive the following error message:

“A recently installed program may cause Microsoft Office or other e-mail-enabled programs to function improperly. Outlook can resolve this conflict without affecting the program that originally caused the problem. Do you want Outlook to resolve this problem?”

This issue may occur if there is a file conflict with the MAPI file on your computer.

To resolve this issue, rename the Mapi32.dll file, and then start the Fixmapi.exe program:

  1. Click Start, and then click Search.
  2. Click All files and folders.
  3. In the All or part of the file name box, type mapi32.dll, and then click Search.
  4. When the search process is complete, right-click the Mapi32.dll file, and then click Rename.
  5. Type Mapi32.old, and then press ENTER.
  6. Click Start a new search, and then click All files and folders.
  7. In the All or part of the file name box, type fixmapi.exe, and then click Search.
  8. When the search process is complete, double-click Fixmapi.exe to start the repair process.
  9. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the repair process.

The Microsoft Windows Messaging Subsystem (WMS) installs the core MAPI files in the C:\Windows\System folder, and earlier versions of Outlook access the files from that location. Simple MAPI programs, such as Microsoft Outlook Express, Eudora, Netscape, and other third-party programs install and access the Mapi32.dll file. You can use programs that support simple MAPI to send documents by clicking Send To on the File menu.

Note that this issue may affect programs such as the Exchange System Manager, even if the Exchange Server is not on the same computer as the Exchange System Manager. The issue occurs after you run the Fixmapi.exe program.

If you replace the MAPI file with the Outlook MAPI file, Exchange System Manager may not work anymore. Also, if you do not replace the file, Outlook may not work correctly. This error occurs each time you start Outlook until you replace the file with the Outlook MAPI file, but this action breaks Exchange System Manager.

Because of this, Microsoft recommends that you do not have Outlook 2000 or earlier on the same computer as Exchange System Manager or Exchange server. To avoid this scenario, use Outlook Web Access or a Terminal Server session to access e-mail messages.

The Fixmapi.exe tool is included with Internet Explorer 5 to detect and aid in resolving conflicts with Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) files that may affect your ability to send and receive mail and faxes from other programs.

During the installation of Internet Explorer 5, the Fixmapi.exe file is copied to the Windows\System folder. Fixmapi.exe checks the version of a library file named Mapi32.dll and automatically restores a more recent version of Mapi32.dll if necessary.

The version of Fixmapi.exe included with Internet Explorer 5 does not display any status information while the tool is being run. The current version of the Mapi32.dll file is replaced if the current file is older than the updated version included with Internet Explorer 5.

Fixmapi.exe does not replace the current Mapi32.dll file if the file is marked as read-only. To check the Mapi32.dll file:

  • Click Start
  • Point to Find
  • Click Files or Folders
  • Type mapi32.dll in the Named box
  • Click Find Now
  • When the Mapi32.dll file is located, right-click the file
  • Click Properties.

Check to see if the Read-Only check box is selected. If it is, you may want to clear the check box and then click OK so that Fixmapi.exe can replace the Mapi32.dll file if necessary.

Note that if you are running Microsoft Outlook 97 or Microsoft Outlook 98, running Fixmapi.exe replaces the Mapi32.dll file with a version that renders Outlook 97 or Outlook 98 unable to start. When you try to start Outlook, you receive the following error message:

“Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Mapi32.dll is corrupt or the wrong version. This could have been caused by installing other messaging software. Please reinstall Outlook.”

If this error message appears, please see article, 193681, in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:  OL98: (CW) ErrMsg: Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook.

Written by Mike Rede

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