Clicking the 'Work Offline' button doesn't work; I'm still disconnected from server RRS feed

  • Question

  • How do I reconnect to the mail server in Outlook?  On the Send/Receive tab, I found that 'Work Offline' was activated. I clicked on it to work online. Nothing happened. I clicked several times. Same result. Then I googled the question, chose the Microsoft tech help link, and the top 2 answers were to "click on the Work Offline button" on the Send/Receive tab.  If that had worked, I wouldn't have googled the question.
    Saturday, September 6, 2014 5:10 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    When you click the "Work Offline" button, do you see the button changes from the highlighted state into a plain background status? Any error message or code?

    If you can use that email account with a website, such as Outlook.com, see whether you can connect to the mail server using that site. If you can’t, you might need to call your technical support or your email service provider for help.

    If your email account works well on the web-based mail access, then it might an issue with Outlook client or a problem with the mail account settings. Please try to install any available updates, and check the settings of your account, then try again.

    If still no luck, maybe your email account needs a fresh start. Try creating a new mail profile.


    Ethan Hua
    TechNet Community Support

    It's recommended to download and install Configuration Analyzer Tool (OffCAT), which is developed by Microsoft Support teams. Once the tool is installed, you can run it at any time to scan for hundreds of known issues in Office programs.

    Monday, September 8, 2014 7:19 AM
  • The op (sbari) never replied, but I will step in for the sake of other readers and say that I have the same problem, and no, there is no error message. Also, I am not offline: I can not only use my browser to access my mail account, but I can do anything else on the internet that I would want to on my machine.

    FWIW, I HAD had a network connectivity problem yesterday. And I switched from my regular wifi to using my phone as tethered/mobile hotspot wifi. And that's when Outlook went offline, detecting that it was a "metered connection". But even after disconnecting that tethered mobile hotspot wifi, and going back to my regular wifi, this problem remains.

    And to be clear, I have both restarted Outlook (guaranteeing in Task Manager that it went down, before restarting it), and also restarted my computer (and confirmed that I am not on any metered network).

    Yet still, the "work offline" button is "enabled" (and the status bar in Outlook indicates "working offline"), but nothing I can do seems to get it to be back "online".

    And the annoyance there is that the automatic send/receive doesn't work, so I have to remember to manually send/receive. Not the end of the world--and an especially small problem in the current pendemic, but while we can hope the latter will end soon, I see no reason to expect that this outlook offline status will end on its own.

    I do realize that this post if from 2014 (as is the last reply from MS), but the result of searching for the problem is the same: most answers just say "click the button", and then there's this one, with no real answer. :-( If others are getting the problem also, I hope they may chime in. Perhaps someone will see it and offer a solution.

    Tuesday, March 24, 2020 2:44 PM
  • Aha (following up my last comment, 15 mins ago), I did still more digging and found what worked, for me at least (and others). Doing the following, at the Windows command line:

    ipconfig /flushdns

    Readers can google to find more on what that does.

    And it makes sense, given the scenario I had described, of having had to swap networks during an outage. Obviously, Windows cached some DNS info, and that's what led Outlook to think it needed to be "offline"--and why the restart of it and Windows was not helping.

    I did restart Outlook after doing this, and after the several accounts in my send/receive group were processed, it did change on its own back to being online. (So it may well have been tied specifically to one of those send/receive accounts, for those who may want to dig still further.)

    Hope that may help others who find this.

    • Proposed as answer by carehart Tuesday, March 24, 2020 3:01 PM
    • Edited by carehart Tuesday, March 24, 2020 3:03 PM added next-to-last paragraph
    Tuesday, March 24, 2020 3:01 PM