Thursday, December 10, 2015

How to Fix Outlook Starting in Safe Mode Only Issue (Caused by a Microsoft Update)

This Tuesday was patch Tuesday for Microsoft and while a bunch of updates came out, one of the updates, KB3114409, forced many user's Outlook to start only in Safe Mode.  Microsoft has since pulled this update but not before many users were effected.  If this effected your Outlook there are two options for fixing the issue.  The first option is easier and safer, but if the update does not appear in the list of installed updates, the second option will fix the issue.

Option 1:  Remove the update from your computer
Some users have experienced Outlook opening in safe mode without being able to locate the installed update on their computer.  If the update cannot be located, it cannot be removed and in this case the second option listed below will resolve the issue.
  1. From the Control Panel, select "Programs & Features"
  2. Once the list populates, click the link on the left to "View Installed Updates"

  3. Scroll down the list until the KB3114409 update is located - to make it easier to find the update:
    1. Click on the "Installed on" heading at the top to sort by install date under each category
    2. Look for the installed update on 12/9/15 under the Microsoft Office category

    3. Click on the update and click the "Uninstall" button at the top
  4. Restart Outlook after the update has been uninstalled
Option 2:  Add a key to the registry to disable Safe Mode for Outlook
NOTE:  Making changes to the registry can be harmful to a computer and should only be done by people who are comfortable working with the registry.  Also, when making changes be sure the follow the instructions exactly to prevent unintended results.
  1. In Windows Search, type "regedit" and hit enter
  2.  Navigate to the correct folder:
    1. Expand HKEY_Local_Machine
    2. Expand SOFTWARE
    3. Expand Microsoft
    4. Expand Office
    5. Expand the highest version number folder - this is a number folder (14.0 if you have Office 2010, 15.0 if you have Office 2013, etc.)
    6. Expand the Outlook folder inside the version number folder

    7. Click on the "Security" folder - if the Security folder does not exist create it by:
      1. Right-clicking on the Outlook folder
      2. Select "New", then "Key"

      3. Type "Security" as the name of the new key (folder)

    8. Right-click on the Security folder and select "New", then select "DWORD (32-bit) Value"
    9. Name the value "DisableSafeMode" making sure not to include spaces and including the capitalization as shown
    10. Double-click the new value to open the properties
    11. Change the value data from 0 to 1 and click "OK"

    12. Close the registry editor
    13. Restart Outlook

When Outlook operates in safe mode, certain customizations and add-ins are prevented from operating normally.  This can make daily operations more time consuming and can be frustrating to users.  While Outlook is a powerful email application, having it operate as expected is important.  If you were effected by the recent Microsoft update on Tuesday, using one of the two solutions above will fix the issue and have Outlook operating in Normal Mode again.

As always, updates are provided to add features and protect the security of our information, but sometimes they can also cause issues.  Long term progress will always be important so updates will continue to roll out so it is best to know how to deal with them when they cause issues!

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