Although more often than not email can be accessed directly from the Internet using a web browser, many people use Outlook as an email client. This allows them to have access to their emails in the ability to send and receive messages without having to use the web browser or having to log into a website. It is also very convenient because Outlook allows its users do you have access to their email inboxes from any kind of computer (whether laptop or desktop), from a smartphone, or a smart mobile device. Unfortunately, Outlook is not perfect and, from time to time, things can and do go wrong. One of the most common problems with Outlook is when users get the following error message: “Outlook data file cannot be accessed”.
Getting this particular error message and be quite alarming, particularly if you need access to your inbox. You will, in fact, be able to see what messages you have in your Outlook inbox or inboxes, you will be able to even continue to receive new emails. Luckily, none of these things are affected by this error message. The problem, if you do then try to reply to any of your emails or send a fresh new email. This is because this error message indicates or, rather, what it actually means is that you will not be able to send out any email messages. That is until you fix the problem. And this is where we come in.
In this tutorial article, we will go over this error and give you two different methods that will be sure to get rid of this error and enable you to go back to being able to send emails from Outlook again.
We suggest you read the whole tutorial before choosing which of the two methods you feel more comfortable with. Just a word of warning both methods involve some work. Having said that, it is not necessary for you to possess any prior knowledge or experience fixing any kind of problem with Outlook or any other software. If you follow our files to the latter you should be able to fix this problem in just a couple of minutes. It is important, and we cannot emphasize this strongly enough, that you do you follow all the steps to the letter without making any variation or skipping over any of them.
“The major advances in speed of communication and ability to interact took place more than a century ago. The shift from sailing ships to telegraph was far more radical than that from telephone to email!” – Noam Chomsky
So, read the rest of the article attentively, then decide which of the two methods that we will present will be better suited to your needs and choose the one that you would be more comfortable following. Then go back and follow the relevant method step-by-step. You could do this by either printing out the steps (this is not the most environmentally friendly option but it is an option), or, even better you could have instructions alongside (perhaps, even use a separate device such as your phone or mobile device). The important thing is that you are able to follow the steps one by one accurately and do this in the most convenient possible way for you.
And now, without much further ado, here are the two different methods for fixing this problem.
Methods to Fix Outlook Data File Cannot Be Accessed
The first method that we will present to you can be quite radical, which is why we suggest that you read it through carefully and then the second method that we will present to you and read that carefully too, before deciding which one could work for you best.
The reason why were saying the second method is radical is not to scare you off at all. We say this because this method involves creating a whole new profile on Outlook.
There are some different steps involved in changing your profile if you have never done this before (and we suspect you have not) then you will have to follow the next few steps careful:
- Grab the computer that you are using Outlook on.
- If Outlook is open you should close it.
- Once Outlook is closed, you should go to the control panel and open it.
- Within the control panel, you should search for Mail. This will then redirect you to your Outlook mail set up.
- There are a few different options, including email accounts, data files, and profiles. Focus your attention and profiles and ignore the other two.
- Click on the show profiles button under profiles. This should prompt a new window to open.
- In the new window, which as you will notice is called general click on the Add button. Again you will see several other buttons in sections but just because of your attention on the add button.
- Click on the OK button located somewhere along the bottom area of the general mail window. This action will prompt the auto account setup window to display.
- You will need to complete the fields on the auto account setup including, first and foremost, your full email address and the password (as it is pretty much always the case when it comes to Internet passwords, you will have to enter it twice.).
- Once you have entered details of your email account, click on the next button located somewhere along the bottom of that window.
- The next step is only applicable if you are using what is known as the POP3. If that is the case you will need to check the change account settings box before you can carry on with setting up a new profile. Regardless of whether you will need to check that box or not, you will need to click on the next button again (this, again, is located at the bottom of the configuring window).
- Then you will be directed to a rather intimidating looking account settings window. Do not worry about this, as all the field should be automatically populated so you will not need to do anything other than click the browse button. This browse button is located on the right-hand side of the window.
- Then you will need to delete your old profile or if you would like to keep the old one (it is up to you, of course, but remember that the old profile is not really working anymore). If you decide to keep both profiles (i.e., the old one and the new one that you are just in the process of creating, then you should check the dialog box that says always use this profile for the new one.
- Finally, you will have to restart Outlook.
Once you have restarted Outlook, check that you are no longer receiving that error message. If you do not then try sending an email just to test that everything is all right. If the problem still persists then with just you go back and check over all the steps again carefully or, if you prefer, you can check out the second method.
If you would like to maintain your old profile then the second method that works just about to explain is probably more your thing. In case you are not sure why you might want to keep your old profile or what difference it would make to you, we would discourage you from creating a new profile if you have a different email addresses linked to Outlook simply because it will take you quite a long time to set up different profiles for each and every one of your email addresses. That is the main reason why most people would choose one method of or the other.
Having said that and without much further ado, here are the steps for the second method that allows you to keep your Outlook profile:
- Grab the computer that you are using Outlook on.
- Go to your account settings (you might need to go to file first)
- Click on the change folder option.
- Then click on the new Outlook data file button located on the right-hand side of the window. This will allow you to create a temporary data file.
- Your next step will be to enter a name for this temporary data file. Do not spend too much time thinking of a name as this is just temporary so the name is the least important thing about it. I would suggest using something like test as a name.
- Once you have entered the name click on the OK button.
- Click on the new data file you have just created bearing in mind that you might need to expand it so you can see the inbox subfolders.
- Once you have selected it to click on the OK button to proceed
- Again, click on the change folder.
- Click on your data file and expand any subfolders that are maybe until you find inbox. Highlight inbox and click on the OK button again.
- Go back to data files on the tab and click on the remove button so you can remove your temporary file. You will recognize this file from the name you have given us. This is why it is important that you give it a name you will remember it does not matter what the name is.
- Finally just close your account setting.
Although this second method seems simpler, unfortunately, sometimes it does not work so you may need to go back and try method one which, as we said, involves creating a new profile.
If you have any feedback on this article or would like to share your own tips but our readers, please leave us a message in the comment section below!
Ryan is a computer enthusiast who has a knack for fixing difficult and technical software problems. Whether you’re having issues with Windows, Safari, Chrome or even an HP printer, Ryan helps out by figuring out easy solutions to common error codes.