Microsoft releases a fix for Outlook crashes after a problematic update causes issues for many users

Microsoft building in California

Microsoft's track record with updates for Windows has been a little wobbly of late, with many updates introducing problems, or creating more issues than they fix. But it seems that it is not just the famous operating system that is jinxed -- Outlook is too.

Following reports from users that the Outlook desktop app was crashing with a 0xc0000005 error, Microsoft launched an investigation. While the company is now in the processing of pushing out a fix, a workaround has been shared online for those affected.


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While Microsoft has not indicated which update it believes may have been to blame, the crashing issues only started on 15 July. The company does say, however, that none of the update release on this particular date are to blame.

On Twitter, Microsoft used its Microsoft 365 Status account to keep users updated:

Now on the Office support site, Microsoft says:

There is a new symptom of Outlook crashing on launch starting on 7/15/2020.   A fix has been published but will take time to propagate to worldwide availability.   Outlook will automatically look for the fix on launch, so if this issue persists through multiple launches please use Outlook Web Access (or your providers webmail interface) for an hour then try again.

This problem is not associated with any of the 7/15/2020 security patches so there is no need to uninstall them if Outlook will not launch.  If this issue persists beyond four hours please contact Microsoft Support by whichever means works best for you.

Additional details can be found in the admin center under EX218604 and OL218603.

As Microsoft explains, the fix may not be available to everyone immediately, so you can use the mobile or web-based versions of Outlook in the meantime. There is also a workaround that has been shared by

  1. Click Start and Type CMD
  2. Right Click CMD and choose “Run As Administrator
  3. Go to C:\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\ClickToRun
  4. Type, exe /update user updatetoversion=16.0.12827.20470
  5. In case you get the “Something went wrong” error message use this command instead of the one on step-4 exe /update user updatetoversion=16.0.12527.20880
  6. An "Updating Microsoft Office" prompt will now open up and the last stable version will be installed.
  7. If the above doesn’t work you can also try starting Outlook in offline or safe mode.

Image credit: Walter Cicchetti / Shutterstock

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