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Issue #690: October 11-17, 2020

Q: I use Outlook to receive e-mail. Every morning I have to go to programs Office 365 and do a quick repair to receive any mail. During the day if the computer goes to sleep I have to do the quick repair again. This is an every day problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

– Larry J.
Mullin, Texas

A:  I must admit, I’m not a great fan of Microsoft’s subscription model for Office.  I personally run only fully-installed versions, and don’t see myself switching any time soon.  Since I don’t regularly use Office 365, your question about a “quick repair” (lower-case) briefly threw me.  Only after Googling the issue did I realize that Quick Repair (upper-case) was an intrinsic function in the software.  As a Software Engineer with nearly 35 years of experience designing and writing complex software solutions, I’ll reserve the temptation to comment on software that needs a built-in self-repair feature as a common part of its functionality (Thanks, Bill!), especially one that doesn’t seem to work in all cases.  That leaves me to wonder where one goes to repair the Repair function when running Repair fails to repair that which is in need of repair?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that in your case, I doubt that running Quick Repair is doing any actual repairing.  There may not even be anything wrong in the first place.  Let’s assume for a moment that the problem actually lies in whatever it is that performs the self-test on the software.  It throws a false-positive, and tells you to perform a Quick Repair.  You do so, which “checks the box” and the software proceeds to run. That is, until the next time the self-test runs, at which point you get another false-positive and start the same thing all over again.

Even though the above does offer a possible explanation for the problem you’re experiencing, in the absence of any proof, it is still wild speculation.  There are limited things that you can attempt to see whether you can expose some culprit, but first, you must get your Office 365 app running without having to do the Quick Repair.  Office 365 has a “Safe Mode” that allows it to start it up even in the presence of certain problems.  You can enable Safe Mode by pressing and holding the Ctrl key while you launch the Office app, then click “Yes” when a window appears asking if you want to start in Safe Mode.  Once it’s up, try disabling add-ins one at a time, to see if you can identify one or more that may be misbehaving and causing the problem.

There was plenty to read online about this issue. It seems it’s affecting a lot of users. Since something is obviously awry, and the software is incapable of repairing itself, even using the built-in function designed to do exactly that, the logical approach to repairing it is to take the nuclear option and perform a complete re-installation of the software.  From what I’ve read, this seems to be the go-to choice for stubborn situations.  To give this the maximum chance of fixing your issue, it’s critical that every last trace of Office gets removed before performing the reinstallation.  The Control Panel’s Uninstaller will remove the app, but is not reliable enough to sweep away every last vestige of it.  I suggest a Microsoft-supplied tool designed to remove the product in its entirety, which I will provide below.

Before you begin, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need to perform the reinstallation.  That includes the installer program, or a weblink to it, and your software license key.  You needn’t worry about the files created by Office applications (documents, spreadsheets, etc.) but depending on whether your e-mail is stored locally, or on the e-mail server, you probably want to back-up your e-mail before proceeding.  I’ve tracked down a Microsoft-supplied support article to help you with that.  You can read it at

When you’re ready for the uninstallation, follow the procedures at  This should remove all traces of Office, including trial offers, and older versions that may be lurking around that could be the source of your problem.  Once it has completed, reboot, then proceed with a fresh install of Office 365.  Hopefully, you’ll find that your problem is gone once and for all.  Good luck!

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