We’ve all been there, expecting an email to come through and then panicking as the hours tick by and it never arrives. This situation may cause you to send a few emails out asking for confirmation or even phoning the individual who sent the mail, just to find out that they indeed sent it. If your Microsoft Outlook is not receiving emails, there are numerous reasons behind why this may be happening, and several fixes that you can use to solve the problem easily.
Why is Outlook not receiving emails?
If someone has sent an email to your Outlook.com, Live, or Hotmail account but you can’t find it, the first thing you should do is use the search bar at the top of the application to search for the specific email, the contact who sent it, or the files the email contained. If it does not show up on this list, you may be encountering one of the causes below.
- There is a network connection problem with your computer.
- There is a system component blocking the incoming emails to Outlook.
- The emails may be hitting your spam folder rather than your inbox.
- Your email account isn’t properly synced to Outlook.
- The Outlook email client may be unavailable, or the server is down.
- An Outlook plugin is conflicting with incoming emails.
- Your email profile may be corrupted or configured wrong.
- Your Outlook email client is set to work offline.
- Wrong Outlook email login credentials have been entered into your account.
You can do some advanced query searches to refine the results, which you can view here via Microsoft’s support page. However, if you are encountering one of the reasons above, and your Microsoft Outlook is not receiving emails, then it’s unlikely that an advanced search is going to help.
14 proven methods you can follow to fix the Outlook not receiving emails issue
It is important to note that the issue of Outlook not receiving emails can occur on both the Windows operating system, macOS, and in the online version of Outlook. As a result, some of the steps below may appear differently to you, depending on what Outlook version you are using. The general recommendations stay the same, though.
1. Restart Outlook
There’s a reason why turning a piece of software or hardware off and then on again works. Sometimes Outlook can get hung up, either because it is trying to process too much information or because conflicting programs might be running. As a result, this may cause Outlook to stop altogether and not receive your emails. Try shutting down all programs on your computer, then close and re-open Outlook to see if emails start rolling in.
2. Check your internet connection
If your internet connection is down, Outlook isn’t going to receive any emails. You can check your internet status by looking at your WiFi or Ethernet connection. You can also view the status bar in Outlook itself. If the status bar says that you are in the “working offline” mode, are disconnected, or are “trying to connect,” then this indicates there is a problem with your connection.
We have published numerous troubleshooting articles related to internet connection issues. Read the article from the list below that matches the problem you are experiencing and restore your network access in no time:
- WiFi connected but no internet
- Laptop not connecting to WiFi
- No internet, secured
- Slow internet on Windows 10
3. Check your offline work settings and disable it
If you are connected to the internet, but find that your status bar says that you are in the “work offline” mode, then this is the reason you aren’t receiving any emails in Outlook. The “work offline” mode disconnects you from the Outlook server, preventing you from receiving any emails.
To disable the work offline mode:
- Head to the Send/Receive tab at the top of Outlook.
- Then click on the “work offline” mode under the preferences section.
4. Make sure your account credentials are configured properly
If you are working with a new Outlook account that has just been set up, verify that your account credentials are correct.
- Head to your Account Settings.
- Then check the email identifier and password to ensure that these are the ones you originally signed up with.
5. Check your spam folder in Outlook
A common mistake that people make is not checking the spam folder. This oversight typically happens because you’ve previously received emails straight to your inbox, so checking the spam seems like it would provide an unlikely find. However, sometimes emails do get marked as spam, so double-check.
To check your spam:
- Launch Outlook.
- Under your folders section, click on junk email.
- If you find the missing email in the junk folder, right-click it to move it into your inbox.
- Tell Outlook to trust emails from this sender.
6. Check if your inbox is full
This root problem is one of the most commonly overlooked causes of the Outlook not receiving emails issue. If your inbox is completely full, you will not have enough space for Outlook to receive more emails. The easiest way to fix this is to delete any old or unwanted emails from your inbox or junk folders.
You can also use the Sweep feature on Outlook to set ground rules for handling your emails. An example would be to use the sweep function to automatically delete all incoming emails from a particular sender after 10 days. There are many different ways you can use sweep, so it is recommended to check this feature out if you are constantly struggling with large inboxes.
7. Check your “Other” folders in newer versions of Outlook
The newer versions of Outlook have two default folders beyond your inbox, the Focused and the Other folders. Outlook will always prioritize emails flowing into the Focused folder. As a result, some emails may get lumped into Other instead.
Check the Other folder and if you find the missing email, select it, right-click it, and move it to the Focused folder. You can also set it so that all emails from this particular sender get sent to the Focused folder.
8. Review your email rules
Have you set up any email rules to automate certain processes in Outlook? If you have a rule set that works with received emails, this could be why your Outlook is not receiving emails.
To check if you have any rules set, do the following:
- First, head to your Outlook Settings.
- Click on the Mail option.
- Then choose Rules from the list.
- Are there any rules in this section? If yes, find the rules that modify your incoming emails and delete or disable them for the time being.
9. Make sure that the sender isn’t blocked
Another potential reason why your Outlook is not receiving emails is because the sender is actually blocked, and thus, their emails are getting rejected automatically.
You can check your block list and remove the sender by doing the following:
- Click on the Home tab at the top of your Outlook.
- Look for the little person icon with the blocked symbol on them.
- Click it and choose the Junk E-mail Options.
- Head to the Blocked Senders tab.
- Find the person’s email address that you’re expecting an email from.
- Click on their email address, then click Remove on the right-hand side.
- Refresh your Outlook and wait a few minutes to see if the email comes in.
If you are on Outlook Online rather than the direct client:
- Head to Settings, Mail, then Junk email.
- At the top of the window, you should see your blocked email addresses.
- To the right of each email address, there will be a Trash can that you can use to delete the address from the blocked list.
10. Clear the Outlook cache
If you have Outlook downloaded directly to your PC, the cached files could be interfering with Outlook’s regular operations. You can manually fix this issue by simply clearing Outlook’s cached files on your computer.
To clear the Outlook cache, follow these steps:
- In your Windows computer’s search bar, type in “Run”. Alternatively, press the Windows key + R to get the Run dialogue box.
- In the Run dialogue box, type in:
- Hit Enter and find the RoamCache folder.
- Open the RoamCache folder and delete all cached files within it.
- Restart Outlook and see if you receive new emails.
11. Reset your inbox filter
If you’ve taken time to prioritize your emails, you may have set different filters across your inbox and junk folders. If this is the case, a filter may be the reason why your Outlook is not receiving emails.
To check filters:
- Simply click on your Inbox.
- Then in the top right-hand corner of the field, look for the word Filter.
- Click it, and check the Unread option to reset the filter.
- You can also sort your emails by subject, to, from, date, and so on.
12. Enable automatic inbox refresh
For most email servers, there is an automatic refresh option that refreshes your inbox folder automatically in the background to give you real-time updates on when emails come in.
If your Outlook is not receiving emails, ensure that this automatic refresh option is turned on. To do this, simply head to the Send/Receive group settings and turn it on.
13. Disable all add-ins
If you are a fan of customizing your programs and have done so with add-ins for Outlook, these could be the root cause for why your Outlook is not receiving emails. Add-ins, especially those that are out of date, can cause issues with how Outlook operates.
To figure out if an add-in is causing the problem, run Outlook in safe mode to disable all add-ins. On the desktop client, you can run safe mode by doing the following:
- In your computer’s search menu, type in “Run” or hit Windows key + R.
- Type in “Outlook.exe/safe” into the Run dialogue box.
- After pressing Enter, reload your Outlook to see if you start receiving mail.
14. Create a new profile and repair corrupted .PST files
If you have tried all of the above methods and your Outlook is still not receiving emails, then you may have a corrupted profile. At this point, we would recommend that you create a new profile for Outlook to see if it fixes the issue.
If it doesn’t, then it indicates that your Outlook has a corrupt .PST file that must be fixed using the Outlook Inbox Repair Tool called ScanPST.exe, which is found in your Outlook installation directory.
To create a new profile, do the following:
- Launch your Outlook and head to your Account Settings.
- From there, choose to Manage Profiles.
- You can view the current Outlook profiles by hitting Show.
- On the profiles screen, click on the Add button.
- Enter a name for your profile and follow the on-screen instructions.
- Tell Outlook to always use this new profile and hit Apply.
- Finally, relaunch Outlook and see if you begin receiving emails to your new profile.
While this is a rather extensive list of potential fixes for your Outlook not receiving emails, there are other solutions that you can try, like verifying your server settings, disabling your antivirus or firewall, and ensuring that your account isn’t blocked from accessing email on Outlook’s server.
The above solutions are the ones that most commonly fix the issue, so please do let us know if another solution works for you or if one of ours does.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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 the rules that you wish to modify. Click Change Rule and make the type of change you want to make.