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  • #2268694

    Outlook 2003 “the operation failed” error


    by ilya ·

    Hello, my boss gets very upset when he is replying to an email and when he clicks on send button, all of the sudden he sees “the operation failed” error . (This was a regular email, with no attachments)
    So outlook basically was not functioning. Every email that I was trying to open gave me an error “cant open this item”. Something has to do with Word maybe, since There is “Word” window on “the operation failed”. But I can’t disable Word in the Options because he likes to reply in red font. I reinstalled Outlook, and the problem persists. I recreated his profile and will see today if my boss gonna shoot me. I checked for spyware and fully patched this machine. his mailbox is on exchange and 5gb in size. i dont know what else can i try? bomb microsoft?

All Answers

  • Author
    • #2498024


      by ilya ·

      In reply to Outlook 2003 “the operation failed” error


    • #2537265

      Stop using Word as the editor

      by rasilon ·

      In reply to Outlook 2003 “the operation failed” error

      I’m not sure why you think you can’t disable Word. Under Tools/Options/Mail Format, uncheck the “Use Microsoft Word 2003….” options. Then set the message type to “Rich Text”. You/he can then format the note with any font/color you want. Frankly, IMNSHO, using Word as the e-mail editor causes more problems than it’s worth. Fr example, I’ve found that if you use Word, you lose the ability to insert hyperlinks to files in your e-mails…

      BTW, 5GB is a large mailbox…. Does he *really* need it that large?? One thing that affects the performance of Outlook is the number of e-mail items you have. This actually is more important than the actual size of the mailbox.

      Hank Arnold

    • #2537237

      His Mailbox is on Exchange

      by pnb51 ·

      In reply to Outlook 2003 “the operation failed” error

      Have you checked in Active Directory to see the limit on the Mailbox size?

    • #2535959

      Disable add-ins

      by aakash shah ·

      In reply to Outlook 2003 “the operation failed” error

      Disable all add-ins in Word and Outlook and close any other programs that might be using or linked to either Word or Outlook. If the problem does not occur after doing this, you will know that there is a conflict with one of the programs/add-ins you just closed.

      I had this happen to me once on a Windows 2000 + Office XP system. My problem turned out to be related to Acrobat Professional. After disabling the Outlook Acrobat add-in, the problem disappeared. I made the following change in the registry:

      Good luck!

      • #2766960


        by itsandip ·

        In reply to Disable add-ins

        Thanks aakash.its working 🙂

      • #2956220

        ADOBE add-in causes many problems

        by gerhard.diefenbach ·

        In reply to Disable add-ins

        Thank you very much for your reg key fix! It saved my a… tonight!! This ADOBE add-in is the cause for many Outlook and MS Office issues I had in the past.

    • #2537941

      “operation failed”

      by vamsichrisraj ·

      In reply to Outlook 2003 “the operation failed” error


      create a new profile and configure the account again..
      i hope u got me..
      CTRL panel–>mail–>show profiles—>
      new profie..>add a new account—>made that profile as default.


      make sure ur addins are not integrated with outlook.


      help->detect and repair in outlook

      try these steps.You will SUCCEED.

      thanks people,

    • #2598850

      check third party software

      by paxport ·

      In reply to Outlook 2003 “the operation failed” error

      If he can send and reply via OWA, it’s not the exchange server.

      If it’s only OUTLOOK, create his profile in another PC. If everything works, we know now, it’s related to this PC only.Please uninstall ( not disable) any third party software like SKYPE etc., which would grab the contact list. Restart Outlook or PC if possible!!

    • #2664322

      Outlook 2003 “the operation failed” error

      by yoyo2b ·

      In reply to Outlook 2003 “the operation failed” error

      I feel your frustration as well. I’m getting the same symptoms with 2 colleagues in the office.
      I replaced the machines, recreated the desktop profiles, created the outlook profile and still no luck.
      The only way to fix it is to close all outlook windows and restart it again, but as you can imagine, that’s a pain when you have 8 emails opened.
      I’ve searched high and low for a fix, even installed SP3 which didnt do anything.

      Please let me know if you find a fix.

      • #2664753

        Acrobat Pro Installed

        by aakash shah ·

        In reply to Outlook 2003 “the operation failed” error

        Is Acrobat Pro installed? If so, disable the add-ins for it. Or, better yet, if you can uninstall Acrobat Pro and then recreate the Outlook and desktop profiles, this will verify whether Acrobat Pro is the culprit.

        The reason I am asking you to rebuild the Outlook and desktop profiles after uninstalling Acrobat Pro is because in case Acrobat has made changes to either files in your profile or registry, recreating the profile from scratch will “undo” these changes allowing you to troubleshoot better.

    • #2911083

      Finder.exe culprit?

      by Anonymous ·

      In reply to Outlook 2003 “the operation failed” error

      I have had this problems for a while:
      I found that FINDER.EXE was the culprit.
      For instance, when searching for and then opening a contact,
      FINDER.EXE does not close down at the end of the process.
      It stays open and cause the failure message.
      When closed manually through Task manager, Outlook functions as normal.
      I have recreated and tested the situation multlple times with same result.
      Fix may be specific to my setup, but better than rebotting which was only other option. May be helpful for others, or lead to a
      proper fix.
      Geoffrey in Australia

    • #2919328

      fixing the operation failed 0x8004005 error

      by brain ·

      In reply to Outlook 2003 “the operation failed” error

      This happens when you have installed office 2003 over office 2007. Even when uninstalling office 2007, which usually is bundled as a trial version on prebuilt oem machines, it leaves certain files in the system which mess up the outlook profile.

      Search your system for mapisvc.inf, you will find a couple of them. close outlook, delete the profile from the mail icon in control panel, and delete or rename these mapisvc.inf files, and restart outlook, it will then say that it is running through the configuration process again. There, fixed!

    • #2986046

      Bad Contact

      by hzissman ·

      In reply to Outlook 2003 “the operation failed” error

      I had a similar problem. When I removed Word as my HTML editor I got the same “The operation failed” message only pointing to “Outlook” instead “Word”. I later saw a post in another forum that kind of pointed me in the direction of the “Contacts” since I was not experiencing the same issue with addresses in our company’s Global Address book.

      I decided to recreate the user’s profile and exported his Contacts to the desktop. When I recreated his profile and went to import the csv file I got a different error, “A file error has occurred in the Comma Separated Values (Windows) translator while initializing a translator to build a field map”. When I went to view the csv file in Excel it contained the header info but was devoid of contacts. This pointed me back to the contacts again. I had the user systematically delete one e-mail address at a time from his e-mail message until we finally isolated what appeared to be a single corrupt contact and the message with multiple contacts finally went through.

    • #2939535

      Outlook 2003: “the operation failed” error

      by jpfaguet ·

      In reply to Outlook 2003 “the operation failed” error

      This happened to me while travelling — couldn’t reply, forward, or compose a new message. I restarted the laptop to no effect. Running Outlook’s repair tool fixed the problem for only a short time. But then I stopped the out of office reply, and all went back to normal. Later on I reactivated it out of curiosity, and Outlook still works fine.

      • #2439685

        Reponse To Answer

        by jedbacca ·

        In reply to Outlook 2003: “the operation failed” error

        The user that I was working with was sending to multiple Distribution Lists that were created by her personally.

        Sent a test email to each individual DL the client had created
        One single DL came up with the “Operation Failed” error
        Opened the DL under the clients personal contacts
        Click Update Now
        There was a new error message stating there were errors present in the DL, ran the fix tool
        Click Save and Close
        Functionality restored

        This was after profile recreation and not restoring the Microsoft folder within the Application Data folder, deleting all profiles, restarts, relogs. After all was said and done the user.dat file was not an issue nor were the files contained within the Microsoft under Application Data (This houses the n2k file which stores the old emails the client would have sent emails to at one time.).

    • #2888331

      Uselessly Vague Error Message

      by n4aof ·

      In reply to Outlook 2003 “the operation failed” error

      I found this thread while searching for any information about the “The Operation Failed” error that I was getting when attempting to send an email attachment via Outlook 2003 using the Send To… Mail Recipient function in Windows Explorer.

      Several people here have identified this error with totally different causes in a variety of situations. Clearly the error message is totally useless since it does not provide any specific information (not even one of MS’s cryptic error codes).

      In my case, it doesn’t matter wether Outlook is open or not. Starting from Windows Explorer, I select one or more files (total around 1 MB), right click, and choose Send To Mail Recipient. Up until earlier this week, this would open Outlook (if not already open) and create a new email message with the files attached, ready for me to add the addresses and change the subject line from “Emailing: xxx” to something more useful. Suddenly this process started giving me the “The Operation Failed” error message almost every time. If the files being attached are pictures, I get the size dialog box first, THEN the error message as soon as I click Attach. If the files are not pictures, I get the error message as soon as I click Send To Mail Recipient.

      The mailbox has exactly 3 Messages (totalling about 3 MB) in the Sent Items folder and all the other folders are empty.

      If I open Outlook myself, create a new email myself, then drag-&-drop the files to attach everything works as it should.

      I am running Office 2003 under Windows 7. This configuration has worked for nearly two years. I suspect that the last Windows Update is somehow responsible (that is the only thing that has changed on this machine)

    • #2431573

      Its easy to solve

      by paventhan89 ·

      In reply to Outlook 2003 “the operation failed” error

      You just need to enable the “User Cached Exchange Mode” for your mail so that you will not get those problem again

      for details check tis out :

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