Outlook not receiving emails? Here’s how to fix it easily

With over 400 million users worldwide, Microsoft Outlook comes bundled with handy features such as calendars, note-taking, and browsing to name but a few. With an extensive user database, errors can often occur to our frustration. One such frustrating issue arises when Outlook is not receiving emails. Troubleshooting will assist in finding out why this is happening. It illustrates or specifically alerts us of any problems prohibiting emails from appearing in the inbox or anywhere else in the account messages folders.

Causes of Outlook not receiving emails

The reasons that might be preventing you from receiving your emails in Outlook are as follows.
No Internet Connection
Clearly, an essential requirement of an email application is an active internet connection, and without this pivotal component, you won’t be able to receive your messages.
Messages go to the junk email folder
This problem can arise oftentimes when new emails are mistakenly directed to the junk or spam email folder.

A corrupt email profile

If your email has been corrupted due to malware, this could be a huge impediment in receiving your messages.
A lousy email rule
The sender might not be following the basic steps that will lead to Outlook not receiving emails.

Outlook is set to work offline

One of the most common mistakes is when a user changes their account settings to function in offline mode only, which will cause it to stop accessing the internet, thus hindering new emails from appearing.

15 tried and tested fixes for an Outlook not receiving emails

1. Restart Outlook

If Outlook stops abruptly or is not responding, restarting the program might help to reset it and offset the reasons that might be preventing the reception of the emails.

2. Check your junk folder

Make a habit of taking a look at your junk folder in your Outlook account often, as many important emails can sometimes wind up there in error. When this happens, mark the email as “not junk”, which will place it in the inbox instead. Sometimes messages can be directed to the junk folder due to internal mishaps on Outlook’s end, which is why it’s wise to frequently monitor what’s in there.

3. Check your internet connection

You might encounter error messages such “disconnected”, “working offline”, or “trying to connect” on the Outlook status bar. In this case, your internet connection might not be active, or your account is set to work in offline mode. To rectify this, deactivate the offline work mode in the preferences section of the send/receive tab.

4. Clean your inbox

You cannot receive emails if your inbox or storage capacity is full. You can alleviate this by removing unnecessary emails from the junk folder as well as the inbox. You can also delete multiple emails from a particular sender by using the sweep function, which keeps recent emails from the same sender. As well, consider cleaning the entire junk folder in one simple click by right-clicking on the junk folder and then choosing the empty folder option.

5. Check offline settings

If you face issues in receiving emails even when you have an active internet connection, this may be because the account is set to work offline. To change this, disable the work in offline mode, and the account will then function properly in all instances.

Outlook work offline

6. Check inbox filter and sort settings

If your inbox is filtering based on your preferences or the default sort order, you might not be able to see some inbox messages. The filtering and sorting functions are accessible at the top of your messaging list.
For filtering, select FILTER, then select the type of messages you want to access.
For sorting, select FILTER, choose SORT BY, and then sort the list according to your requirements.

Filtering and sorting in Outlook

7. Check the ‘Other’ tab

There’s a handy inbox feature in Outlook that separates your messages into two tabs —  Focused and Other. The Focused tab is a smart feature that predicts the type of messages and senders that are the most important and relevant to you, with the remaining messages winding up in the Other tab. You can determine yourself which messages should be kept in these folders.
This is crucial, because sometimes you might miss important messages when looking in one folder or the other. You can simply right-click on that message and move it to the folder of your choosing. There’s also an option to permanently move certain messages to the Focused inbox, ensuring that messages from particular senders are sent there, and won’t be missed in the future.

8. Check other devices

You may have inadvertently downloaded the email to another device that you are currently not using, and if the POP email in Outlook is not set to save a copy on the server, you’ll find your required email in the device you first accessed it from. You can fix this by enabling the “save a copy to server” option.

9. Check blocked senders

It can be wise to also check your list of blocked and safe senders if you are not seeing the emails you were expecting. You can access your block list by going into Settings, then View All Outlook Settings, after which you can select Junk Email in the Mail option. You can then sort who you wish to receive emails from and who to avoid.

10. Check if your account is blocked

Your account might become temporarily blocked or locked for a short period of time if Outlook detects any uncommon activity, such as unusual logins. You can recover your account after conducting a few safety measures. The Microsoft team locks the account to protect the user from fraud and malware that are incredibly prevalent on the internet.

11. Remove connected accounts

The maximum number of connected accounts you can have in Outlook is twenty. Therefore, if you have more than twenty accounts connected, Outlook cannot send or receive emails. To rectify this, make sure you have no more than twenty accounts linked to Outlook. You can remove the unwanted connected accounts under the Manage Your Connected Accounts menu.

Remove account from Outlook

12. Clear the Outlook’s cache

Your emails might get jammed in the receiving process due to unwanted extra space. Outlook stores these emails in a hidden ItemProcSearch folder. You can access these emails by clearing the cache in your inbox, which can help to reveal all missing emails.

13. Check email rules

Perhaps you’ve set specific rules that are causing the emails to be forwarded to another email account or to get deleted accidentally. In order to solve this, you must check your email rules and make the necessary changes to them.

14. Contact the sender

If you’ve exhausted every option and you’re still sure that everything is working fine, then you might consider contacting the sender as to whether he has sent the mail yet or not. The email may not have even been composed or sent by the sender yet.

15. Create a new account

If all else fails, or perhaps your account is permanently locked and you can’t access it anymore (this sometimes occurs after numerous security attempts), your only option may be to move on and create a new account on Outlook. You will lose previous emails, but sometimes it’s worth it to simply begin anew.

Outlook FAQ

How do I create a new Outlook account?

When you visit outlook.com, you’ll see a “create free account” tab. It will ask you to create a username that’s unique to you, and your new account will look similar to yourname@outlook.com.

How can I know whether my Outlook account is blocked or not functional?

If your account gets locked, it will ask you to recover your password. This is a good indicator of a locked account. After some short security measures like answering your secret questions that you made when you started the account, you can then set a new password for your existing email account and recover it.

How do I move emails from Outlook’s junk folder to the inbox folder?

First, open the junk email folder. Right-click the email message you want to move. Select the destination folder. Your email is now at your desired location and removed from the junk email folder.

What are Outlook email rules?

Email rules are a set of instructions that you set for your Outlook account about how to treat incoming and outgoing emails, such as which folder you’d like to see them in. To change the rules in your account, go to File, then open Manage Rules and Alerts. Check the boxes next to rules that you wish to modify. Click Change Rule and make the type of change you want to make.