14 June 2018

Office 2016 Outlook Cannot Log On Upon the First Launch

While building the new Windows 10 image with Office 2016 along with exchange 2016 on the backend, I got the following error message every time I tried to open up Outlook for the first time.


What was so frustrating about this issue was that if I went into Mail, within the control panel, and deleted the existing profile, Outlook would open and configure with no problems.

The first thing I did was to check with the exchange admins to make sure autodiscovery was enabled. It was. The second thing was to make sure the newly imaged machine could ping the exchange servers and it could. While going through the troubleshooting process, I learned that even though the creation of PRF files exists in the office customization tool, it is not valid for office 365/2016. At that point, I went back in and removed the PRF content from the customization tool (.MSP file), and the issue persisted. Finally, I found a PRF file in the following directory: c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\. After making changes to the contents of the file, the problem still persisted.

The final fix was to delete that PRF file (OutlookProfile.PRF) shown below. The may or may not exist in other environments. How the file was being created, I have no idea. I did not find it anywhere in the directory tree of the office 2016 installer. The MSP file had been completely recreated from scratch to make sure no remnants were left over from the original MSP file that did contain parameters for generating a PRF file. The only other fix, which I did not want to do was to possibly create an entirely new installation tree with a fresh download of Office 2016. My fix was adding a line to my PowerShell installer to delete the PRF file. It may also be possible to include that deletion within the office customization tool.


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