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When I make a rule in my Outlook 2016 inbox, it fails with this error message

"The operation failed because of a registry or installation problem."

What could be causing this and how can I resolve it?

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According to Microsoft, this may be a bug and to fix (or workaround) it you can follow the steps they suggest—which I've referenced and quoted below with slight adjustments and only included what I believe are relevant detail to your case or otherwise important in general.

As noted, there are two bugs and one is actively being worked on so you'll have to check the post for further updates periodically later if the fix doesn't fully resolve once applied and the system is rebooted. If needed, there is a workaround mentioned that you can use in the meantime.

Outlook Error: "The operation failed..." when selecting Manage Rules & Alerts

ISSUE

When you click Rules > Manage Rules & Alerts..., the following error occurs:

enter image description here

Error: The operation failed because of a registry or installation problem. Restart Outlook and try again. If the problem persists, reinstall.

The issue may occur after installing the following perpetual updates:

STATUS: FIXED (See Note)

Note: The issue and error can be caused by two different bugs. In most cases, the fix released on January 8th will resolve the issue. However, if you continue to experience the problem, you were also affected by the second bug. The second bug fix is currently in development. We will update this page when we have more specifics on this second fix.

To fix: This issue is fixed in Monthly Channel Version 1812 (Build 11126.20196) and higher. To get the latest update immediately, open Outlook and choose File > Office Account > Update Options > Update Now.

Still Not Fixed Workaround

If you still experience the issue and error after applying the January 8th update...:

If you installed the January 8th update and the problem persists, you are likely experiencing the second bug. We will update this article with more specifics once we have it. In the meantime, as a workaround, you can manage rules in Outlook Web Access (OWA). If you use Outlook Web Access to edit the rules, please avoid running Manage Rules & Alerts... in Outlook or the error will return.

Source

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