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Outlook Rules Not Working? Troubleshooting Guide to Fix It

kokou adzo



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Outlook is one of the robust email clients and provides many advanced features and functionalities. One such important functionality offered by Outlook is Rules, by which the users can perform specific actions on incoming emails by specifying conditions. It helps in streamlining the inbox and automating various actions. However, sometimes, you face a situation where Outlook rules not work. In this post, we will see how to fix the Outlook rules not working issue. Before troubleshooting this issue, let us understand the common causes behind this issue.

Common Causes of the Outlook Rules not Working Issue

Outlook rules may not work when the quota of rules exceeds the stipulated limit. Some other causes for the Outlook rules not working issue are:

  • Rules feature is disabled
  • Corrupted Outlook data (OST or PST) file
  • Large Cache files
  • Outdated Outlook version
  • Virus or malware infection
  • Damaged SRS file
  • Excess number of folders under rules
  • Corrupted send/receive settings file

How to Troubleshoot the Outlook Rules not Working Issue?

Follow the below fixes to troubleshoot the Rules feature is not working issue in Outlook.

Fix 1: Check and Enable the Rules

You need to first check if the rules are enabled in Outlook. Follow the below steps:

  • Step 1: Launch Outlook and go to Files > Rules and Alerts.
  • Step 2: In the Rules and Alerts dialog box, check if the checkboxes against the concerned rules are enabled. If not, select them.

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Fix 2: Reduce the Space used by Inbox Rules

The default quota for rules is 32 KB in Outlook 2003 and 64 KB in Outlook 2007 and 2010. If your Outlook rules exceed this quota, Outlook will not allow you to create new rules and existing rules may also not work properly. However, this quota can be increased manually up to 256 KB in Outlook 2007 and 2010. You can ask your admin to increase the quota.

If the Outlook rules quota limit is already 256 KB, you can reduce the space consumed by the rules. The consumed space can be reduced by merging similar rules, deleting unnecessary or old rules, and renaming the rules with complicated names to shorter ones.

Fix 3: Update Outlook

You may also face issues with various functions of Outlook, if the application is not up-to-date. Follow the below steps to update Outlook.

  • Step 1 – Launch Outlook.


  • Step 2 – Click on the File tab in the Home ribbon and then click on the Office Account tab.


  • Click on the Update Options button and select Update Now if the update is available.
  • Wait for the download and installation process to complete. Then, check if the issue is resolved.

Fix 4: Reset the SRS File

The SRS (Send and Receive Settings) file stores some customized settings in Outlook. Outlook rules may not work if this file is damaged or corrupted. You can reset the file to resolve the issue. Follow the below steps to reset the SRS file:

  • Step 1: Open File Explorer and enter the following in the address bar to locate the SRS file.



  • Step 2: Right-click on the SRS file and select Rename. Change the name of the file from “Outlook.srs” to “Outlook.srs.old” and hit Enter to save the changes.
  • Step 3: Close File Explorer and close all the Outlook-related programs. Then, open Outlook again.


  • Step 4: When you open Outlook again, a new SRS file named “Outlook.srs” will be created automatically.

Fix 5: Convert Client-Based Rules into Server-Based Rules

Outlook rules can be server-based or client-based. The client-based rules only work when the Outlook email client is running. If a rule does not work, it may be possible that the rule is client-based and Outlook is not running when the emails were received. If you want the rules to work even when Outlook is not running, log in to your account via Outlook web access and recreate the rules. If you have both, client and server-based rules, then server-based rules will be applied first followed by the client-based rules.

Fix 6: Disable the “Stop Processing More Rules” Option

Disabling the “Stop Processing More Rules” option can help in fixing this issue. Follow the below steps to stop processing more rules:

  • Step 1: Launch Go to File > Manage Rules & Alerts
  • Step 2: In the Rules Wizard window, select the rule that is not working properly.
  • Step 3: Click Edit Rule Settings and uncheck the box labelled as “Stop processing more rules”.
  • Step 4: Click Next and then Finish to save the changes.

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Fix 7: Delete and Recreate the Rules

The Outlook rules may be corrupted or damaged. You can delete these rules and recreate them. Follow the below steps to delete and recreate the rules:

  • Step 1: Close Outlook and open the Run window (Windows + R).
  • Step 2: Enterexe/cleanrulesin the bar and press the Enter key. It will delete all the Outlook rules.
  • Step 3: Now, recreate the rules in Outlook using the Rules Wizard.

If some of the rules are not working, you can only delete those specific rules instead of all rules. Follow the below steps to delete specific rules:

  • Open Outlook and go to
  • Click Manage Rules & Alerts and open the Rules and Alerts dialog box.
  • Select the rules that need to be deleted and click


Fix 8: Repair Corrupt Outlook Data File (PST)

Outlook data file is used to store your mailbox data. If this file is corrupted, you can experience issues, including Outlook rules not working. Follow the below steps to repair corrupted PST file using SCANPST.exe (Outlook Inbox Repair Tool).

  • Step 1: Launch File Explorer.
  • Step 2: Use the search box to find exe.
  • Step 3: Double-click the SCANPST.exe file and choose the Browse option to select the corrupted PST file.

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  • Step 4: Choose Start to start scanning your file for errors.
  • Step 5: Choose Repair to resolve the issues.
  • Step 6: Open Outlook to check if the issue is resolved.

If SCANPST fails to repair the PST file, an easy solution is to use 3rd party PST repair tool like Stellar. This is a perfect PST Repair Tool for fixing corrupted or damaged PST files and restoring all the mailbox data, including emails, attachments, calendars, tasks, notes, etc. It can repair severely corrupted PST files of all sizes and also recover deleted Outlook items. The tool also offers a detailed preview of all the recoverable items before saving them.


If the Outlook rules are not working properly, it is important to get the issue fixed as quickly as possible. As discussed above, many methods can be used to fix the Outlook rules not working issue. If the PST file is corrupt, use Stellar Repair for Outlook to repair the corrupt file safely and fix any issues related to corruption in just a few clicks.


Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at

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