Outlook 2016 message content does not display - outlook.com; exchange

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Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2013 64 bit
Email Account
Hello Outlook Forums -

Helping a friend with his Outlook 2016 issue. Outlook 2016, Outlook.com, Microsoft Exchange, Windows 10 desktop computer.

Everything worked properly until just recently. Now, when we open Outlook 2016, the inbox shows his email list and the view message (on the side) shows the message heading, but no message. Sometimes, if we wait 5 or 6 minutes, any graphics within the message do appear, but most of the time, nothing.

The main program window becomes blank, title bar says, "Not Responding" but then if we wait it does return to a standard Outlook 2016 display, just no message content.

I searched online and found a number of potential solutions, but none of them helped, including turning off the setting to reduce the size / format information and check for AVG & NOD32 add-ins. there weren't any.

All help appreciated, and thanks.
Does it work if you start outlook 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.

what addins are installed?
Thanks Diane. Yes, it does work correctly in Safe Mode. Attached is a screenshot of the addins.
Appreciate your help and your knowledge,
John Murray


  • addins screenshot.JPG
    addins screenshot.JPG
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untick eset and join.me and see if it works. If you use join.me addin to set up meetings, enable that first and restart outlook. I would leave the Eset addin disabled - its generally overkill and the AV addins are known to cause issues in Outlook. Outlook writes html messages and attachments to the hard drive, where they are scanned, before opening so you are protected to the extent your AV is updated.

also, if you aren't using Exchange/Sharepoint, you can untick the sharepoint addin (its not harming, but is not needed). Same for onenote addin, if you don't use onenote or don't link email to it. Keep the Exchange addin - it helps with calendaring, specifically meetings. If you don't receive meeting requests, you can disable it, but none of these should be causing your problems.
Thanks Diane. Though this would solve it, we unchecked and rechecked a couple of different groups, but now even after rebooting when we open the Add-ins dialog box and click on GO... the COM Add-ins list doesn't open. Nothing opens. Tried that a few times as well, but nothing. Also, nothing we tried changed the problem, still no message content in normal mode.

Question: do any of the add-ins have to be selected for their underlying technology to work? Can we uncheck everything?

Selected Add-ins List
ESET Outlook Add-in
join.me for Outlook
Microsoft Exchange Add-in
Microsoft SharePoint Server Colleague Import Add-in
OneNote Notes about Outlook Items

Thanks very much,
John Murray
Question: do any of the add-ins have to be selected for their underlying technology to work? Can we uncheck everything?
You can uncheck everything if you want.

if an addin is unchecked, it won't be loaded by outlook - eset and join.me will still work but won't offer email scanning or the ability to create meetings directly in the calendar. ESET will still scan mail for viruses as its opened and written to the hard drive - it won't do any spam scanning (if the addin supports that).

The other 3 are microsoft utilities - exchange addins helps with incoming meeting processing, sharepoint is not needed if you don't use exchange or sharepoint, onenote sends items to onenote. if you don't use onenote you obviously won't need that.
Though this would solve it, we unchecked and rechecked a couple of different groups, but now even after rebooting when we open the Add-ins dialog box and click on GO... the COM Add-ins list doesn't open.
so the button worked then it stopped working? if everything unchecked in the list?
Diane - sorry if this is getting worse. Opening Outlook in safe mode with the correct profile allowed me to reach the COM add-ins list. After unchecking everything, closing Outlook, rebooting, and opening in normal mode nothing had changed.

I noticed that scrolling down the Inbox (only place this happens, Sent and etc. still work correctly) when I got to 10/29 the messages began showing again. Looked for anything changed/installed on that date but no results. Ran scanpst (it did find a few errors) compacted folders, rebooted again, but no change. Tried an unrelated separate profile, it started showing message content again when I scrolled to 10/27. Whew! Helped my friend order additional memory and will try again Thursday.

Not sure where to go from here, really don't relish the prospect of rebuilding the system or even reinstalling Office.

All comments appreciated, thanks for your good help.
John Murray
Have you reset the view on the folder?
Hello Diane -

Well, more confusion. After Tuesday's Windows Updates, the computer worked correctly again. Then Wednesday, it "reverted back" to the same issue - no message content after October 29. I was there Thursday and reset the view, first for just the Inbox, then for all folders [Outlook /cleanviews] along with other clean up and tests. Nothing seems to help.

Question: if I completely uninstall and then reinstall Office 365 do you think there's a chance we'll solve this matter? I can backup first, then deactivate and uninstall this instance of Office, and then reinstall. Is it possible that will do the trick?

Sorry to hand you such an irritating challenge, hope you can see your way clear to keep going with this.
John Murray
Question: if I completely uninstall and then reinstall Office 365 do you think there's a chance we'll solve this matter?
It won't hurt to try, but i cant say for sure that it will fix it.
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