Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Invalid XML, the view cannot be loaded.

I had a customer call me to say that his computer seemed to freeze for him, so he did a hard restart on it. Once it booted back up, Microsoft Outlook 2010 would not start but give the following error message.

Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window. Invalid XML, the view cannot be loaded.

screenshotStarting Outlook in safe mode didn’t work either. Fortunately the fix is really easy.

If you are on Windows 7 simply type the following command in the search or run box.

Outlook.exe /ResetNavPane

Bingo. You will be up and running again!

Thanks to itswapshop.com for the tip.

After Windows Update, Outlook 2013 Folder List Pane is Empty

outlook 2013 folder list empty - windows updateYesterday Microsoft released a few updates for Windows & Office. One of the updates, KB2817630, appears to break Outlook 2013. The screenshot to the right is what happened to one of our customers after the update was automatically installed. Absolutely no folders appear in the folder pane.

At this point it appears the fix is to install this hotfix available from Microsoft.  Update: Hotfix has been pulled for some reason.

 

Update: Microsoft has published a Technet article detailing this problem with some resolutions.

Update: Microsoft has now published an Outlook 2013 Update to fix this.

Configure Office 365 Passwords to never expire

Office 365 LogoOne of the biggest complains we get from customers that are using Microsoft Office 365 is the mandatory password expiration. Microsoft has a KnowledgeBase article that explains with a few simple powershell commands how to disable this and set the passwords to never expire.

  1. Connect to the Windows Azure Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell by using your company administrator credentials. For more help on this step, see this article on Technet. Note: This also used to be called Microsoft Online Services Module for Windows Powershell.
  2. Connect to your Office 365 service using the following cmdlet. Enter the Administrator username and password for the Office 365 service.
    connect-msolservice
  3. Run the following cmdlet to change all the user accounts passwords to never expire.
    Get-MSOLUser | Set-MsolUser -PasswordNeverExpires $true

This has worked very well for us and makes the customers very happy as the password expiration can be a hassle especially for small businesses.

Enable Office 365 Auto-discover for Outlook in SBS 2011 Exchange Environments

One of the  issues you will run into when migrating from an on premises Exchange 2010 server on SBS 2011 is that Outlook will not autodiscover the correct Office 365 server settings. Fortunately this can be easily solved with a few simple PowerShell commands.

  1. Open an Exchange Management Shell as an administrator. (Elevated PowerShell)
  2. Use the following command to discover the Identity name of your Autodiscover Virtual Directory. Either note or copy the values in the Identity field.
    Get-AutodiscoverVirtualDirectory | fl Name, Server, InternalUrl, Identity
    Retrieve Exchange Autodiscover Virtual Directory Settings - SBS 2011
  3. Use the following command to remove the AutoDiscover Virtual Directory. Be sure to replace the text inside the quotes with the value in the Identity field above.
    Remove-AutodiscoverVirtualDirectory –Identity “Insert identity value here”
     Virtual Directory for Exchange 2010
  4. You will have to confirm the removal by hitting Y for yes when prompted. You can double check to see if this worked properly by rerunning the command in step 2.  You should get a blank result if successful.

That should be it. Your Outlook clients should connect successfully to the Office 365 service.

Hat Tip to mcbsys.com for pointing me in the right direction.