Outlook Rule “Clear Categories on Mail” will Block All Incoming Emails

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.

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