Mar 10, 2008

Banishing Pesky Outlook 2007 add-ins

I'm ashamed to admit that for about three months I've allowed myself to be chastised by a broken add-in every time Outlook 2007 starts. I can't remember exactly what happened but at some point EVERY time I launch outlook I get an error dialog that pointed out that the ORStuffit OL Extension failed to start. I tried uninstalling the offending program and reinstalling it but on reinstall Stuffit kindly lets me know that I don't have any Office programs. Won't Word, Excel, Outlook and Access be surprised when they find out! I tried all the normal alpha-male approaches to this problem (although I did stop short of breaking out the duct-tape and WD40.) including messing around with the registry. I managed to neither fix nor damage anything. That whole registry warning thing seems to be on par with that threats to life, liberty and the pursuit of peaceful sleeping that are printed on those mattress tags. Nothing bad ever seems to happen when you rip one off (not that I've ever done that). However, the warning itself makes you consider the risk/reward ratio and you temporarily start to think more like Gallant than Goofus (Kevin Kling knows what I'm talking about here). OK, you've waited long enough. Use the Tools->Trust Center menu item. I've never once been in this dialog. In the list on the left hand side click on the Add-ins item. Now hold on, like me you probably are thinking sh**, that m*** f*#$#$* extension isn't even here. Think of this like beating one of those boss guys in Metroid, once you finally think you've won, it morphs into one last bad-ass that you have to vanquish. Here's your secret weapon: Look for a popup at the bottom of the dialog with the wonderfully descriptive label Manage. Select the Exchange Client Extensions. My favorite part of this is that I don't even use an Exchange server so it took me a while to even bother with this option, but hey these hard video games never make sense. I mean what kind of mutant is Mario that he can grab a coin that he hits with his head? If you're lucky you now see your exension in the little modal dialog that just appeared. Clear the checkbox and you're home free. Interestingly, once you click OK, not only does the dialog dissappear but so do all the dialogs you opened to get here. Just goes to show you that the engineers at Microsoft are making up new human interface guidelines on a whim. In my case the offending add-in never shows up in this dialog again. In other words I couldn't re-enable it if I wanted to. That is probably a good indication that the add-in was really removed but Outlook never knew it.

About Me

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Tod Gentille (@todgentille) is now a Curriculum Director for Pluralsight. He's been programming professionally since well before you were born and was a software consultant for most of his career. He's also a father, husband, drummer, and windsurfer. He wants to be a guitar player but he just hasn't got the chops for it.