Take command of Microsoft Office Outlook

If last week’s Outlook Configuration Analyzer hasn’t helped to sort out your Outlook problems then you’ll probably need to resort to the usual manual troubleshooting approach, which for instance might involve launching the program with one of its command line switches.

You’ll first need to figure out which switch is appropriate, though, and then manually apply it to your copy of Outlook, which isn’t exactly convenient. But fortunately the free and portable OutlookParameterGUI does a good job of simplifying the whole process.

If you’re unfamiliar with these command line switches then you might start by browsing them via the program’s Parameter tab. Each one comes with a brief explanation, so, for example, you’ll read that starting Outlook with the /cleanprofile parameter “removes invalid profile keys and recreates default Registry keys where applicable”. Which sounds like a useful option if your installation has been damaged for some reason.

You really do need to read these explanations carefully, however, because some of the options will delete your Outlook customizations (/cleanviews will delete your custom views, say, while /cleanrules deletes client and server-based rules). But if you’re happy that a particular parameter suits your needs, then just click the Start button and OutlookParameterGUI will launch Outlook with it.

And as a bonus, there’s also a handy pane with some useful information about your Outlook setup: its architecture (32 or 64-bit), version number and service pack details, serial number (if you click Options > Show Serial) and more.

There’s nothing too out of the ordinary here, and you could of course manually apply the various command line switches yourself without downloading any extra software at all. OutlookParameterGUI does make the process easier, though, and at a mere 673KB won’t exactly get in your way, so on balance it more than justifies a place in your portable troubleshooting toolkit.

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