Troubleshooting Methods for Outlook Rules Not Working

Summary: If you are facing Outlook rules not working, this can be due to many factors. With this article, we are trying to troubleshoot the issue, by understanding it. If you are looking for solutions, then you should stick around to learn more about the issue.

Content Table:

What are Outlook Rules?

Outlook rules are automation solutions from Microsoft for Outlook. This helps you automate lots of email management task, and help you save your precious time. You can optimize and organize your email tasks without manually making changes to them by utilizing the Outlook rules function.

Why is My Outlook Rules Not Working?

Outlook rules seem to be a lifesaving feature for Outlook users. That is why when it stops working, it became a tough situation. So, learn why the issue occurred by going through the common reasons given below,

  • Rules exceeding the size limit set for your mailbox.
  • Issues with your send/receive settings file.
  • Corruption in your POP or IMAP account.
  • Disabled Outlook rules.
  • The rule is set to run on a single system.
  • Corruption in Your Outlook data files.

How to Fix Outlook Rule Not Working?

Now that we have gone through the reasons for Outlook rules stopped working, it is time to discuss how we are going to repair the issue. Many solutions are available on the internet, but going through them all is impossible for anyone. Hence, we have curated some of the useful ones below. Please go through each carefully.

Method 1: Optimize the Size of the Rules

Most of the time, the Outlook rules stopped because the rules exceeded the allocated size. The default size limit for the rules is 256KB, but you can customize the limit between 64 and 256 KB. You can change the limit by following the steps,

  • Open Window PowerShell in administrative mode.
  • Now type Set-Mailbox -Identity <MailboxIdentity> -RulesQuota “<Size>” then press Enter.

Note: Replace MailboxIdentity with your mail id and the Size can be between 64 and 256 KB.

Follow the below tips to optimize the size,

  • Delete the rules no longer needed.
  • Use a smaller name for the rule or rename the longer ones.
  • Combine similar rules.

Method 2: Check Outlook Rules Enabled

Before going into any of the other solutions it is important to verify that the Outlook rules are enabled or not. Most of the time when you enable them the issue gets fixed. Follow the instructions to enable Outlook rules,

  • Open Outlook and click on File.
  • Now click on Manage Rules and Alerts to get to the Rules and Alerts window.
  • In the window, click on Email Rules and check the rules you want to enable.
  • Then click on OK and relaunch the Outlook application.

Method 3: Reset Send/Receive Settings

The other reason for the Outlook rule not working is the issues in the SRS or Send/Receive Settings file. The easy solution here is to reset it by renaming the SRS file. Follow these steps to reset,

  • Close the Outlook application.
  • Go to the location: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook.
  • Find the necessary SRS file and right-click on it.

  • From the list click on Rename then add .old to the filename and press Enter.

  • Now restart the Outlook application.

Method 4: Modify Email Download Settings

If you have set the download settings to not sync offline, then the Outlook rules stop working. Modifying the settings will fix them easily. Follow the instructions below,

  • In Outlook click on File > Account Settings > Account Settings.
  • In the window, select the account and click on Change.

  • In the settings window, change the Download email for the past to All.

  • Now click on Next and Done. Then restart the Outlook application.

Method 5: Turn on Exchange Cached Mode

Enabling the Exchange Cached Mode solves the issue of Outlook rules not working, by saving a copy of your mail in the system when you connect the exchange account. Below are the steps to enable exchange cached mode,

  • In Outlook, go to the Account Settings window by clicking on File > Account Settings > Account Settings.
  • In the window, select the account and click on Change.

  • In the settings window, select Use Cached Exchange Mode to download email to an Outlook Data File.

  • Then click on Next and Done and restart the Outlook application.

Method 6: Repair Corrupted Outlook Data File

If none of the above methods help you repair Outlook rules not working, then the issue is a corrupted Outlook data file. You have many methods to repair corrupted PST or OST files, but below we gave two methods.

Steps to Use ScanPST Tool

The first method to repair corrupted PST files is to use the ScanPST tool, a built-in inbox repair tool provided by Microsoft. You can find the tool at,

  1. Outlook 2019: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  2. Outlook 2016: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  3. Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15
  4. Outlook 2010: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14
  5. Outlook 2007: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12

Follow the instructions to use scanpst.exe to repair corrupted PST files,

  • Double-click on the exe file to open the tool.
  • Click on the Browse button to open the corrupted file.
  • Click on Start and begin the scan.
  • When the scan found any errors, click on the Repair
  • When the process is complete, restart the Outlook.

Note: This is time-consuming and may need to run a couple of times to resolve the issue completely.

Steps to Use SFWare PST Repair Tool

If you are dissatisfied with the result or the scanpst.exe is a time-consuming process, use a professional repair tool like the SFWare PST Repair tool. This user-friendly tool can manage any issues in the Outlook data file, either PST or OST file. Please download and install the software and follow the steps below,

Free Download for Windows

  • Launch the application and on the home screen, click on Open PST File.

  • Click Browse to select the corrupt PST file and click Next.

  • Now select the scanning method and provide a location to save the result.

Note: You can choose between Normal Scan or Smart Scan.

  • Now click on Repair and wait for the scan to complete.

  • After the scan and repair is complete, you can preview the result in the displayed window.
  • If you are satisfied with the result, then you can save the file.


Outlook rules help users to automate email management functions and save some time. But due to some reasons, they can stop working. With this write-up, we have given you solutions to deal with the issue. If you have any questions, let us know below in the comments.

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