A Potential Fix for the Outlook 'General Failure' Error

Back in July I promised to help track down a solution to the "General failure" error that appears in Outlook when you click a link embedded in an e-mail. Judging from the number of pleas for help I continue to get from readers, this problem hasn't gone away. And it appears to affect users of all browsers, not just Firefox or Internet Explorer.

I've been trying to locate the right person at Microsoft who can address this issue, and hopefully provide a fix, but no luck so far. (Don't worry--I'm not giving up!) In the meantime, a helpful reader steered me to a solution he said worked for him. And based on what I've discovered in some user forums, it has helped at least a few others as well.

One caveat: I haven't tried this myself (because I'm not experiencing the error), so I can't say for sure it'll do the trick. But it seems like a totally safe thing to try, so I have no qualms about recommending it. Here's what to do:

1. Close Outlook.

2. Launch Internet Explorer.

3. Click Tools (which in later versions of IE is the little gear icon in the upper-right corner), then Internet Options.

4. Choose the Security tab, and then click Reset all zones to default level.

5. Close Internet Explorer.

6. Restart Outlook, then open any e-mail that has an embedded hyperlink and click it.

If all goes well, your browser should pop open. (Obviously this solution is intended for IE users, but it may help even if you use another browser as your default.)

Well? Did it work? Whether it did or didn't, leave a comment letting me know. And if you're still getting the error, stay tuned--I'm making progress on the Microsoft front.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.com, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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