POP3 Mail Users Report Problems in Outlook After Office 2016 Update (FIXED)

February 25, 2016 at 12:30 pm 3 comments

NOTE:  Around March 7, Microsoft released an updated build of Office 2016, build no. 6568.2036, that fixed the issues described in this post.  To apply this build, or a later one (if available at the time you read this update), click the File tab in Outlook or any other Office 2016 program, then click “Office Account” or “Account.”  Navigate to “Office Updates” at the right side of the screen.  If the version shown is earlier than 6568.2036 – i.e., a lower number – click “Update Options” and then either click “Update Now” (if shown) or click “Enable Updates” and then click “Update Now.”  Be aware that (1) you might have to allow the duplicate messages to download one final time; and (2) the update might take a while.  Also, the update will be applied to all of the Office 2016 programs.

* * * * *
Some Outlook 2016 users who have POP3 mail accounts – including me – are reporting an issue involving multiple (i.e., repetitive) downloads of previously downloaded e-mail messages after the latest Office 2016 update. This issue appears to affect only users who have chosen to leave messages on the server, rather than deleting the messages from the server after downloading them.

The update, which occurred automatically sometime over the past three or four days, applied build (version) number 6568.2025.  (This is the version number that is displayed at the right side of the screen under Office Updates when you click File, Account or File, Office Account.)

I noticed the problem yesterday.  Whenever Outlook automatically checked for new messages (or when I manually clicked “Send / Receive”), it downloaded not only new messages, but also hundreds of messages that had already been downloaded.  (Oddly, the issue affected only one of the two POP3 accounts that I use with Outlook 2016.)  And it did so repeatedly.  Fortunately, I could delete the duplicate messages by clicking “Unread,” selecting all with Ctrl A, and pressing the Delete key (which did not affect any of the “Read” messages already in my Inbox).

That temporary fix wasn’t particularly satisfactory, since duplicate messages continued to download throughout the day and evening.

A preliminary search on the Internet revealed only a few exchanges in which users complained about the problem.  A Microsoft MVP (an expert user who is not an employee of Microsoft) eventually wrote to say he could confirm the issue and would report it to Microsoft.

Today, I found additional help in the form of a couple of web sites that provide instructions for rolling back to a previous build / version of Office 2016.[1]  It took a while – I got error messages at first – but with the help of those two sites, I was able to roll back to the previous Office 2016 update, which applied build 6366.2068.  When I first launched Outlook, the program downloaded a huge batch of duplicate messages (more than 400!), which I promptly deleted. But since then, Outlook has worked normally. That is to say, automatic and manual downloads produce only new messages, not duplicates of messages that have already downloaded.

If you have experienced the issue with duplicate e-mail messages after the latest Office 2016 update, you can try to roll back to an earlier update.  CAUTION:  I would recommend doing so only if you are a fairly advanced user – someone who is comfortable configuring your own computer.[2]  Also, I would recommend closing out of Office 2016 while performing the steps.  You do need to be connected to the Internet, however, so that Microsoft can download and apply the previous update.

Before attempting this procedure, you must disable future updates.  From within any Office 2016 program, click File, Account (or File, Office Account) and then navigate to the Updates section, click the “Update Options” button, and choose “Disable Updates.”  NOTE: if you disable updates, you will have to check for and download the next one, due sometime in late March or early April, manually (by enabling updates again from the same screen in your Office 2016 program).

After you disable updates, you will open a DOS command prompt (as an Administrator) to apply the previous update.  In both Windows 8 and Windows 10, the simplest way to open a DOS command prompt as an Administrator is by right-clicking the Start button at the left side of the Windows Taskbar and choosing “Command Prompt (Admin).”

Next, you’ll enter a text string with commands for downloading the previous Office 2016 update.  To simplify the process, I’m just providing links to the two sites that I found helpful. The one I’ve listed immediately below offers relatively straightforward steps that worked well for me.

These instructions are based on information contained in this MS Outlook Info site run by Outlook “MVP” Robert Sparnaaij:  Uninstall Office… Click-to-Run Updates

After I opened a DOS command prompt in a separate window, I simply copied the example text from the MS Outlook Info page and pasted it into the command prompt.  In particular, I began by copying (and pasting) the text under “Office Repair,” Step 3, #1 (below “Office 2016”). Then, leaving the cursor in the same position within the command prompt, I copied (and pasted) the text under Step 4, second example (second bullet).

After pasting the entire text string, I pressed the Enter key, and a Microsoft window appeared with a message about downloading an update.  I let it run.  Afterwards, I opened Word and Outlook and checked the build number (File, Account in Word / File, Office Account in Outlook).  Lo and behold, the build number had reverted to 6366.2068.

Be sure to read the instructions carefully – more than once – before you begin.  And as always, proceed with caution.

As a reference, I also recommend this post by the venerable Diane Poremsky of Slipstick Systems:  Uninstall Updates in Office ‘Click to Run’ (and also see Diane’s February 26 post about the POP issues related to the Office 2016 update, Outlook 2016: POP Problems After Last Update).

Good luck!


[1]  Many thanks to both of the site administrators (Robert Sparnaaij and Diane Poremsky) for providing such helpful information and instructions!

[2]  Also be aware that these steps are designed for click-to-run versions of Office 2016.  Most people have click-to-run versions, but it’s possible that the rollback procedure won’t work if you happen to have a version of Office 2016 that doesn’t fall into that category.




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