Rules do not work automatically

One of my rules which I have configured in Outlook does not work automatically. However, it does run fine when I choose “Run Rules Now…” manually. I don’t do anything fancy with the rule as all it does is moving the message to another folder. How do I get this rule to run automatically?

This usually indicates a corruption of either the rule or within the mailbox. It could also indicate a corruption in the send/receive settings file (srs-file) of Outlook.

Reset srs-file
Resetting the send/receive settings can be achieved by renaming the srs-file of your profile to .old. You can find the srs-file for your mail profile in;
Windows Vista and Windows 7: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook
Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

To easily locate the folders for you, you can also use OutlookTools (free!)

Fix corruption when using a POP3 or IMAP account
When you use a POP3 or IMAP account and the above fix doesn’t work, you can reset your rules and test your mailbox for corruptions with the steps below.

  1. Start with deleting the rule via Tools-> Rules and Alerts…
  2. Use File-> Data File Management… in Outlook to determine the location of your pst-file
  3. Close Outlook and run scanpst.exe against your pst-file to check it for errors
  4. Start Outlook again
  5. Recreate your rule.

Fix corruption when using an Exchange account
If you are within an Exchange environment, you can see if it works when you disable Cached Exchange Mode and then recreate the rule. If it does work now, locate the ost-file for your mail profile and rename it to .old and then enable Cached Exchange Mode again.

To determine the location of your ost-file and/or turn off Cached Exchange Mode;

  1. Right click on the root of your mailbox-> Properties-> button Advanced…-> tab Advanced
  2. Here you can enable/disable Cached Exchange Mode
  3. Click here on the button Offline Folder Settings… to see the location of your ost-file.

Note: to force a deletion of all your rules at once, start Outlook with the /cleanrules switch
Start-> Run; outlook.exe /cleanrules

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