Outlook Solutions Archive

In the lastest update of Outlook, a new rule “clear categories on mail” will be added to Outook automatically. This rule will block all incoming emails by mistake. In this article, we will provide the solution.

Yesterday, my Windows 7 laptop receive a couple of updates again. I notice this because the screen displays update message when the laptop is shut down and restarted.

I do not pay much attention on that since Windows makes updates from time to time. However, this morning, I encountered a strange problem. I try to send an email from one account on my desktop computer to the account on the laptop. Since both accounts are hosted on the same server, normally, the recipient’s mailbox will get the mail several seconds after the email is sent. However, this time, after more than one hour, the Outlook on the laptop still cannot receive any incoming emails, even though I force Outlook to send/receive emails immediately!

I try to resend several emails, but all of them cannot arrived the Inbox of the Outlook on the laptop. In fact, the Outlook does not receive any new incoming emails at all.

This is absolutely abnormal. Therefore, I try to contact the host provider of the email accounts. The provider told me that all these emails are delivered within several seconds, and the emails in the recipient’s mailbox have already been received by the Outlook.

That makes totally confused. It seems Outlook has eaten up all the incoming emails. I suddenly recall the Windows update performed last night, and my past experiences that Windows update may break the Outlook rule erroneously in article “How to Fix “Could not complete the operation. One or more parameter values are not valid” Error when Managing Rules in Outlook?” Maybe Windows update make a similar damage again.

Based on that assumption, I try to do as follows:

  1. Start Outlook.
  2. Click “File” -> “Manage Rules & Alerts”
  3. The “Rules and Alerts” dialog box will pop up.
  4. I find there is a rule “Clear Categories on Mail(Recommended)”.
  5. I am sure that I have NEVER add such a rule. Therefore, this rule must be added by the latest Outlook update.
  6. I try to remove the rule.
  7. Click “Send/Receive” button again, now all the incoming emails will arrive my Inbox properly.


Windows update may another problem again. Anyway, I am able to solve it in a timely manner.

In this article, I analyze the “Could not complete the operation. One or more parameter values are not valid” error when trying to manage Outlook rules after a Windows system update. Then provide a solution for the problem.

Hardware/Software Configurations:

My computer has Windows 7(64bit) and Outlook 2010(64bit) installed. Both work perfectly without any problems. But things change after a Windows system update …

Note: I have set Windows system update to auto update mode.


Last night, Outlook continued working smoothly. When I shut down my computer, I see Windows update message “Please do not power off or unplug your machine. Installing update ## of ##”.

As Windows update frequently, I do not pay much attention to that. Just let it go.

However, this morning, when I try to start Outlook as usual, I see a warning message “Outlook is not the default email client”. I just check the option to reset Outlook as the default one and proceed.

Then, in my Outlook inbox, I see a lot of new incoming emails. Originally these emails should be filtered and put into the corresponding subfolders by rules automatically. I immediately notice that there may be something wrong with my Outlook rules. Therefore, I try to click “File” -> “Manage Rules and Alerts”, but “Rules and Alerts” dialog box does not appear. Instead, I get another error message “Could not complete the operation. One or more parameter values are not valid”.

Now all of my rules stop working. I have to pick up hundreds of emails manually. That is a nightmare, especially when I need to do that every day. Therefore, I must fix the problem as soon as possible.


At the beginning, I thought the problem is caused by the Windows update, since my Outlook is fine just before the update. And Windows update has a reputation of introducing new problems to an existing stable system.

I have made a backup of the whole system, before the problem occurs. Therefore, that is my last resort to solve the problem.

Before doing anything, I try to contact Microsoft support. And they provide the following solutions:

  1. Use the “Repair” function in Office installer to repair Office, including Outlook.

Result: I try the solution but after the repair process, nothing changes.

  1. Create a new profile. Then recreate all the accounts for the profile and add the existing PST file to it.

Result: I try to create a new profile, create a test account, and then add the existing PST file to the new profile. Then I restart Outlook. This time I can start the rule manager. But all rules disappear. I cannot understand that since in Outlook 2010, the rules are stored in the PST file. Therefore, what I need to do is recreate all the accounts and rules, which is time consuming. Therefore, I finally discard this solution.

  1. For Outlook 2010, the rules are stored in the PST file. Therefore, the support thinks my PST file is corrupt and suggest me to repair it with scanpst.

Result: I don’t think the problem is caused by PST file corruption. To confirm my idea, I try to restore my PST file to an old version before the problem occurs with DataNumen Backup, then restart Outlook. The problem still exists. So, the problem should not be caused by the PST file, but a system update which changes the Outlook executable or dll files.

Deep Diagnosis:

I guess the problem may be caused by a conflict of my existing rules in PST file and the new updated version of Outlook. Therefore, I try to follow this article to write a small VBA code to delete all the rules in my PST file. However, whenever the code steps to the following line:

Set objRules = objStore.GetRules

I will still get a “Could not complete the operation. One or more parameter values are not valid” error again. So the problem jus prevents me from access all the rules via either GUI method or VBA codes. I have to seek other ways to solve the problem.


Now based on the above analysis, there are two solutions for my problem:

  1. Restore the whole system to the time point before the system update occurs.
  2. Recreate a new profile, and recreate all the account and rules again.

Solution 2 is time consuming. Therefore, finally I decide to choose the first one, as follows:

  1. Unplug the network cable and disable the wireless network in my computer. To prevent the system from being updated automatically.
  2. Make a backup of the PST file since it contains some new emails after the update.
  3. Restore the whole system to the time point before the update occurs.
  4. Overwrite the old PST file with the new one backed up in step 2.
  5. Start Outlook.
  6. Click “File” -> “Manage Rules & Alerts”, this time the “Rules and Alerts” dialog box will pop up without any problems. And all the rules appear in it.
  7. There may be some rules in the PST file that conflict with the new system update. Since I don’t know which one cause the conflict, I choose to remove all of them.
  8. Re-plug the network cable and re-enable the wireless network in my computer.
  9. Check and perform system update manually. During the update, I can see there is an update for Outlook.
  10. After the update, restart Outlook and re-access the rules via “File” -> “Manage Rules & Alerts”, this time I can still access the “Rules and Alerts” dialog box.
  11. Add all the rules back.
  12. Everything is OK now even with the latest update of Outlook.


The system update causes a conflict of the existing rules with the new updated version of Outlook. It is better for Microsoft to find a fix for that, or provide an option to remove the conflict rules. However, if none of them are available in a timely manner, we can still solve it by utilizing an old backup.

When flagging a contact, some users hope to get a standard Outlook task in To-Do List instead of a flagged contact. Now, in this article, we will introduce a method to let Outlook auto create a task for call the contact person later when flagging a contact.

As we all know, when flagging a contact, the contact will display in the To-Do list. But, most of time, what we really want is a standard task for calling this contact later and contains the telephone numbers of the contact only in task body. Hence, here we will introduce a method to configure Outlook to auto create such a task. Read on to get more details.

Auto Create a Task to Call the Contact Person Later when Flagging a Contact

  1. At first, launch Outlook VBA editor with reference to “How to Run VBA Code in Your Outlook“.
  2. Then, open the “ThisOutlookSession” project and put the following code into it.
Private WithEvents objContacts As Outlook.Items

'Works for contacts in the default Contact folder
Private Sub Application_Startup()
    Set objContacts = Outlook.Application.Session.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderContacts).Items
End Sub

Private Sub objContacts_ItemChange(ByVal Item As Object)
    Dim objContact As Outlook.ContactItem
    Dim objTask As Outlook.TaskItem

    If TypeOf Item Is ContactItem Then
       Set objContact = Item

       If objContact.IsMarkedAsTask = True Then
          If objContact.TaskCompletedDate = "1/1/4501" Then
             'Create a task for calling this contact
             Set objTask = Outlook.Application.CreateItem(olTaskItem)
             With objTask
                  .Subject = "Call " & objContact.FullName
                  .StartDate = objContact.TaskStartDate
                  .DueDate = objContact.TaskDueDate
                  .Attachments.Add objContact
                  .Body = "Business: " & objContact.BusinessTelephoneNumber & vbCr & "Home: " & objContact.HomeTelephoneNumber & vbCr & "Other: " & objContact.OtherTelephoneNumber & vbCr & vbCr
                  .ReminderSet = True
                  .ReminderTime = objContact.ReminderTime
             End With
        End If
      End If
   End If
End Sub

VBA Code - Auto Create a Task to Call the Contact Person Later when Flagging a Contact

  1. After that, put cursor in the “Application_Startup” subroutine and press “F5” key to activate this macro.
  2. Finally, exit the VBA editor and try this macro right away.
  • Select or open a contact and flag it.Flag a Contact
  • At once, a new task will be displayed, like the following screenshot.Popup Task
  • Meanwhile, as you can see, the contact’s flag is automatically removed.

Repair Compromised PST Files

Like Word documents, Outlook PST file is also prone to corruption. Many users have been plagued by the problems related to inaccessible PST files. Fortunately, Outlook comes pre-installed with an inbuilt repair utility – Scanpst. It is indeed able to fix a majority of small PST issues. Yet, when confronting seriously corrupt PST file, it seems ineffective. Thereby, at that time, you have to take aid of a more powerful tool, like DataNumen Outlook Repair.

Author Introduction:

Shirley Zhang is a data recovery expert in DataNumen, Inc., which is the world leader in data recovery technologies, including sql recovery and outlook repair software products. For more information visit www.datanumen.com