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Outlook 2013 fails to start -- missing WindowsCodecs.dll error

MDW

Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2010 32 bit
Email Account
POP3
#1
The following Outlook load error started happening at the end of May 2017 on a Lenovo laptop:
"The required file WindowsCodecs.dll cannot be found in your path. Install Microsoft Outlook again."
Outlook fails to load at all. None of the other Office programs are impacted – they all load and function properly.
I am running:
Win10 Pro 64 bit (downloaded version) with all latest updates set to install automatically;
MS Office Home & Business 2013 32 bit (downloaded version) with all latest updates set to install automatically;
All Security programs auto update and run daily: Windows Defender & Malwarebytes

PS: my installed MS program update list on this laptop only shows 14 installed MS updates of all types (Win10 + Office 2013), while my Win10 desktop running Office 2010 shows over 30 – is that discrepancy unusual?

Attempted Solutions:
1. I tied repairing MS Office doing a full download repair, but there was no change (but I did have to re-initialize my other Office programs :(
2. I tried going back to an auto-saved restore point – but none of those restore points would load.
3. I have backups of my data, unfortunately not my OS & programs (I will now soon)

Any ideas about what to do?
 
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
#2
I'm guessing it is something else that needs fixed and the error is referencing the wrong program. (Like BCM crashing - the problem was the chart.dll from net framework.)

Does outlook start in safe mode? To open Outlook in Safe mode: Close Outlook then hold Ctrl as you click on the Outlook icon. You'll get a message asking if you want to start in Safe mode. Click Ok.

If yes, what addins are installed? Any thing that might use voice or video? codec are used for sound and video recording and playback.
 

MDW

Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2010 32 bit
Email Account
POP3
#3
Thanks for your suggestions
I started Outlook in safe mode, only a couple of addins running:
1. MS SharePoint Server Colleague Import Addin (I don't have any colleagues so I disabled this :)
2. A custom Addin that has never given me a problem over the past two years on this laptop until this recent codec error. This Addin doesn't use video or audio. I disabled this Addin too.

Outlook then restarts without the error problem.

This same #2 custom Addin runs perfectly in Outlook 2010 (32 bit) on several other Win10 Pro machines . . . What would trigger a sudden problem?
 
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
#4