I have a computer with Outlook 2016 that randomly stops receiving email about twice a day. When this happens the little last connected to server at [Time] appears on the bottom of the Outlook window. Outlook can still send emails. A reboot or cycling the VPN off and on again fixes this issue temporarily.

Disabling cached exchange mode in Outlook fixed this for a few hours, but then in came back again.

Has anyone run into this before? Does anyone know of a permanent fix?

  • Is it an SMTP or Exchange account (either a normal Exchange email or hotmail.com/outlook.com)? Verify the Send/Receive options: File → Options → Advanced → Send/Reeive... → Check both the online and offline settings.
    – JW0914
    Aug 19, 2020 at 14:29
  • It is an exchange account
    – David
    Aug 19, 2020 at 14:32
  • When Outlook stops updating on VPN, is the VPN still otherwise usable?
    – harrymc
    Aug 19, 2020 at 14:50
  • Yes, VPN still seems to work fine.
    – David
    Aug 19, 2020 at 15:17

2 Answers 2


The most common cause I have seen of this issue is a VPN Timeout. Outlook pauses send/receive and VPN times out.

There are often two timeout values: Inactivity timeout (see if there is a rec-connect for this) and then timers in the Phase 1 and Phase 2 settings. Check these

  • Thanks John, where can I find these values?
    – David
    Aug 19, 2020 at 14:31
  • Look in your client VPN App and go through all settings. Look in (or ask the Office) what settings they have and what you should use.
    – John
    Aug 19, 2020 at 14:32

Do other users in the same working environment have the same issue as you?

After this issue occurs, if you manually Send/Receive All Folders, can Outlook sync normally? If yes, from the perspective of the client, you could change your send/receive settings to schedule an automatic send/receive every n minutes in Outlook and see if it could help.

  • Only a few users have this issue, there are quite a few that do not. The people with the issue have more email, but there are also people with the lots of email that do not have the issue. Manually doing a send and Receive and configuring Outlook to check for email every 5 minutes even when offline has no effect. Outlook maintains a connection to the server as per the connection status info under ctrl+right click on the Outlook Icon, but the inbox continues to update only sporadically. Adding an exclusion to the .ost in AV had no effect.
    – David
    Sep 8, 2020 at 21:51

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