Outlook 2003, faulting module outllib.dll in Windows XP

I got a call today where one of our clients was unable to open Outlook (2003)

She would open it and get the standard “we’re sorry but Outlook needs to close” error. She would restart and unless she went into safe mode it would just keep doing the same thing

The event log entry basically said “faulting module outllib.dll” (not very helpful!)

The first thing i thought was that there was an add-in or something preventing it from loading so i disabled all of them via safe mode….no good

So i used some of the Outlook 2003 switches such as /cleanviews /cleanprofile (full list here)….still nothing

I created a new profile and it still crashed, before it asked for the profile. I then used the “create item switches” (e.g /c ipm.note) which worked fine which got me thinking it must be something to do with the “user interface” as it crashed before it really got anywhere during the load (my hunch would prove to be correct)

I then logged in as a different user and this worked fine so it must be something user specific

I opened the “C:\Documents and Settings\– YOUR USER-\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook” folder and basically moved all the files out.

Outlook opened fine!!

After a bit of trial and error i found out it was the Outcmd.dat file causing the problem. This file stores all your toolbar customisation settings. If you delete (or rename) this file a new one gets created and your problem is sorted

Just as a note, the switch /nocustomize would have spotted this for me…..

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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11 thoughts on “Outlook 2003, faulting module outllib.dll in Windows XP

  • Andy, Nice post. By chance does the /nocustomize prevent the toolbars from changing position? I am looking for a way to prevent my notebook users from draging their Outlook toolbars around.

  • Hi Rusty

    Thanks for your comment

    The nocustomize switch doesn’t prevent users dragging toolbars. It just bypasses the saved settings for any changes they have made

  • Hi Andy! Thanks for your diligence – My Outlook has been crashing like that for 3 weeks now and it looks like your solution did the trick. I appreciate your posting it! Also, thanks for the handy list of outlook switches.


  • It didnt fix the problem for me, it still crashed the same. I renamed the Outcmd.dat file to Outcmd.dat.OLD but even though Outlook took a bit longer to open, like it was refreshing its files, it still has the same crash error! Argh! I think this only happened after a windows update too and Outlook 03’s been running fine on my vista for at least 5 mths 🙁

  • I dont understand, if you create a new profile, your C:\Documents and Settings\- YOUR USER-\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook will be a new one too, so Outcmd.dat will be a new one… dont need to rename it.

  • Hi Mart

    Thanks for the comment

    Your correct in that if i’d created a new USER profile would mean there would no need to rename anything

    What i meant by profile here was a new OUTLOOK profile

    I probably should have made this clearer in the post

  • Hi Andy,
    Thanks for this solution, really nice one, it saved me a lot of time!
    Keep up the good work! Regards

  • Holy $hit! Thank You!

    I have been trying to get Outlook running for 2 days. I have been on 20-30 forums and tried the same number of proposed fixes. I have uninstalled and reinstalled Outlook. Nothing worked, until I found this simple fix. It must have been a different file for me in the same folder since I tried renaming outcmd.dat and that didn’t work. I cleared out the directory and it worked.

    the symptoms of my failure were on opening Outlook, I would receive the message that you mentioned above. Outlook has encountered…..needs to close. Sorry…. I would nver even get off the starting blocks.
    In the event viewer I would see the following: (posted here so that others can find it when searching)
    “Faulting application outlook.exe, version 11.0.8217.0, stamp 480f95d9, faulting module outllib.dll, version 11.0.8217.0”

    Once reading your post, I went into my guest account and was able to use Outlook. After that I knew you had me on the right track. I went back and renamed outcmd.dat but that didn’t work so I got nervous. I then moved everything out and it worked.
    Thanks for the post! I wish I found it 2 days ago. 🙁

  • thanks a million … I’ve been trying to resolve this problem for hours and finally came across your post which fixed it immediately. I’m so grateful.
    thanks again!

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