Outlook 365 - Folder pane list clears

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Blofeld

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Outlook version
Outlook 2016 64 bit
Email Account
IMAP
I am using Outlook 365 on Windows 10 64bit all up to date with the latest updates.

My issue is that regularly (a number of times a day) the list of folders in the folder pane clears. Sometimes everything disappears, sometimes the odd folder remains. When I mouse over the list, it refreshes but often doesn't show the number of unread items in a folder. Sometimes clicking on a visible folder refreshes the whole list, sometimes not. The only sure way the refresh the list properly is to select, say the calendar, and then return to mail. This has been happening for months and I have been trawling the internet for a solution, but I have seen nothing similar. There is nothing weird about my set up that I am aware of. I have 6 IMAP accounts listed along with the default Outlook.

Recently I was forced into doing a clean install of Windows 10 and a fresh install of Office 365 to go with it. I was sure that would cure any glitches that had crept into the machine, but NO, shortly after installing afresh it came back. Here is an image of the partial list:

2860


Any suggestions as to what is going on here and how to stop it?
 
So, this has been viewed over 100 times with no 'me too' posts - I guess this is maybe a one off. Actually when I said that I did a clean install I actually did a reset whilst keeping files and settings, so not totally clean and I suppose whatever caused this glitch has survived the reset and is something that I am going to have to live with until I do a proper clean install :-(
 
The symptoms point to a corrupt navpane. The fix is opening outlook with the /resetnavpane switch, which wipes out any customizations. Or rename the file so you can see if the profile is solved by a new navpane. It's and xml named for your profile at %appdata%\microsoft\outlook

Close Outlook. Right-click on the Start button and choose Run or press Windows key + R to open the Run command. Type or paste the following into the Open field and press Enter or click OK to restart Outlook. (There is a space before /.)

outlook.exe /resetnavpane

Note: This will wipe out all folders on Favorites in Mail module and reset the Calendar and Contacts modules to the default format.
 
Hi Diane,

I think that I have tried all the suitable switches for Outlook previously. I used /resetnavpane as you suggested and it seemed to work for a while, but just now the pane cleared again. Is the use of the switch a one-off or do you need to do it regularly or even on every initial startup of Outlook by modifying the shortcut? I might try the file renaming and see if that has a more permanent effect.
 
it's one-off - so you'd need to do it regularly or figure out what is causing it to become corrupt.
 
So, I did the rename of the profile .xml file and that lasted about 30 minutes :-( So irritating!
 
The Folder Pane displays all folders in Outlook. If the Folder Pane is minimized, you won’t be able to see your folders. Here’s how to view all of your folders in Outlook.
  1. Expand the Folder Pane to see all of your folders by setting the Folder Pane view, and click View > Folder Pane.
  2. Click Normal.
    Tip: Click Minimized to minimize the Folder Pane or Off to remove it from the screen.
    Note: You can change how Outlook arranges folders by clicking Folder Pane > Options.
Alternative method
Sometimes the Folder Pane inadvertently gets minimized. Or, sometimes you might want to see more of your inbox and temporarily hide the Folder Pane. If your Folder Pane is minimized, here’s another way to see it.

  1. Click the arrow at the top of your Folder Pane to display all folders.
  2. To keep the Folder Pane open and have Outlook show folders the next time you open it, click the pushpin icon. This has the same result as the procedure above.
Tip: Folders that contain subfolders also have an icon next to them. This expands and minimizes the subfolder view. Click the icon to display any subfolders for that folder.
These steps will help you with Office 365 business as well.

Regards,
Lewis
 
The Folder Pane displays all folders in Outlook. If the Folder Pane is minimized, you won’t be able to see your folders. Here’s how to view all of your folders in Outlook.
  1. Expand the Folder Pane to see all of your folders by setting the Folder Pane view, and click View > Folder Pane.
  2. Click Normal.
    Tip: Click Minimized to minimize the Folder Pane or Off to remove it from the screen.
    Note: You can change how Outlook arranges folders by clicking Folder Pane > Options.
Alternative method
Sometimes the Folder Pane inadvertently gets minimized. Or, sometimes you might want to see more of your inbox and temporarily hide the Folder Pane. If your Folder Pane is minimized, here’s another way to see it.

  1. Click the arrow at the top of your Folder Pane to display all folders.
  2. To keep the Folder Pane open and have Outlook show folders the next time you open it, click the pushpin icon. This has the same result as the procedure above.
Tip: Folders that contain subfolders also have an icon next to them. This expands and minimizes the subfolder view. Click the icon to display any subfolders for that folder.
These steps will help you with Office 365 business as well.

Regards,
Lewis

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for taking the time to reply. Unfortunately my issue is not with the pane either being or becoming minimised. It remains in place the whole time it is just that the content disappears and I am left with a blank pane as per the screenshot in my first post. I have 3 PCs running with the same version of outlook client and only one of them is afflicted with this issue, so I do think that it is a 'special' case and it looks like I will have to live with the problem for the time being.
 
I see this same issue on a regular basis. My IT department doesn't have any recommendations at this time. So, I'd love any advice I can get. It's really annoying.
 
What are you guys using for security / antivirus? I wonder if its being scanned and is getting corrupted.

Or a backup utility that is trying to read it while outlook has it open?
 
Diane,

Interesting thought. I use Kaspersky Total Security and Acronis to backup overnight. I don't think the backup is the issue because I can 'fix' the issue and have it reappear before the next backup, Kaspersky, on the other hand, I will investigate although I use the same application on machines that don't exhibit this problem.

Thanks
 
I don't think the backup is the issue
It would / should only be even considered if you leave outlook open during the backup. If outlook is closed, it is not a problem.
 
Thanks Diane,

I tend to leave outlook open 24/7 although I could create a scheduled task to shut it down before the backup. Is there a way to shutdown outlook.exe from the command line elegantly? Would 'taskkill' be too heavy handed?
 
You might be able to use powershell to exit it more elegantly -i'll check. taskkill is a bit abrupt, but shouldn't be an issue if you only have exchange accounts.

I have not tested the script here (yet) to see if it still works in current versions of powershell - it should respond to any 'do you want to...' dialogs with a Yes. (save drafts, empty deleted)
 
That script works and will answer Yes to any open dialogs. Save it as *. ps1, either from the powershell ise or paste into notepad and save with that extension.

Use this as the arguments - the required arguments are in bold. Use quotes around the file path if it has spaces in it.
-NoProfile -NoLogo -NonInteractive -executionpolicy bypass -file C:\pathto\the-file.ps1
2019-11-20_10-05-58-0000.png
 
Since technet forums will be going the way of the dodo bird, the code I tested is below.

Code:
$isOutlookOpen = Get-Process outlook*
if($isOutlookOpen = $null){
    # Outlook is already closed run code here:
    }
else {
     $isOutlookOpen = Get-Process outlook*

     # while loop makes sure all outlook windows are closed before moving on to other code:
         while($isOutlookOpen -ne $null){
            Get-Process outlook* | ForEach-Object {$_.CloseMainWindow() | Out-Null }
            sleep 5
            If(($isOutlookOpen = Get-Process outlook*) -ne $null){
            Write-Host "Outlook is Open.......Closing Outlook"
                $wshell = new-object -com wscript.shell
                $wshell.AppActivate("Microsoft Outlook")
                $wshell.Sendkeys("%(Y)")
            $isOutlookOpen = Get-Process outlook*
            }
        }
        #Outlook has been closed run code here:
    }
 
Thanks Diane,

I saw that snippet of code in my Googling, but thought that it was too complex for what I needed. So I tried the single line powershell command in the original

link that you shared. The problem I found was that '.CloseMainWindow()' only works when the application is viewable on screen, if it is minimised it seems to do nothing. I am assuming that in this snippet the line $wshell.AppActivate("Microsoft Outlook") actually opens the window and gives it focus so that then the '.CloseMainWindow()' command does actually work. I will play with your solution and see how I get on, but I am not sure that blindly responding in the positive to a dialog is the correct way to go.

Shame there isn't a /shutdown switch to do this for you :)
 
You can blindly answer No to the dialogs... but in most cases, if you are blindly doing something, Yes is the way to go, otherwise you can loss data. (BTDT.)

If you aren't in the habit of leaving messages open you are composing, No may not be a problem.

(And it works with Outlook minimized... did not try it minimized to tray, just the simple minimized)
 
We use Symantec Endpoint Protection. No backup application that I'm aware of. I boot my computer first thing in the morning and shutdown at the end of the work day. So, Outlook is cycled regularly.

For me, the problem happens randomly. Sometimes I'll go a couple days without it happening. Then I'll have a day where it will occur at least 5-10 times. I can "resolve" the issue by slowly dragging my mouse down the blank list and each folder will appear when the cursor gets there. Or, sometimes switching to another view (e.g. calendar) and back will cause the whole list to pop back.

This would suggest it's not linked to anti-virus, because I would expect it to happen on a regular basis if that were the case. And, since I don't have backup software running (we use one drive), that's would appear to be out as well.
 
For me, the problem happens randomly. Sometimes I'll go a couple days without it happening. Then I'll have a day where it will occur at least 5-10 times. I can "resolve" the issue by slowly dragging my mouse down the blank list and each folder will appear when the cursor gets there. Or, sometimes switching to another view (e.g. calendar) and back will cause the whole list to pop back.
Those are exactly the same symptoms that I have except mine is fairly consistent in happening randomly all the time. The other difference is that I am connected to multiple IMAP accounts whereas you are on Exchange. What ever it is it is clearly not a significant issue since you and I are the only ones to come forward with this.
 
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