Cannot add account to new Outlook: reasons and solutions

Struggling to set up an account in the new Outlook? We've put together a handy guide to troubleshoot common issues and their solutions.

If you're encountering an error while trying to add an account to the new Outlook app, there could be several reasons behind it. Here are some common issues and their potential solutions:

Unsupported account type

Reason: The account type you're trying to add is not supported by the new Outlook app.

Solution: Ensure that your email account is among those supported by the new Outlook for Windows.

The new Outlook app supports a variety of account types. But if you attempt to add an account that isn't supported, you'll receive an error message: "We couldn't reach the email server. Please try again." or "You didn't sign up. Please try to add your email account again." Unable to add an account in the new Outlook because of an unsupported account type.

Microsoft 365 work or school account lacks desktop app license

Reason: If your Microsoft 365 organizational account (work or school) doesn't include a license to desktop versions of the Office apps, you cannot use it with the new Outlook.

Solution: Purchase a qualifying license, or create a primary account properly licensed for desktop use, or move to Outlook on the web as an alternative.

To be able to use your Microsoft 365 work or school account with the new Outlook, you need to purchase a plan that includes the desktop version of Outlook (and other Microsoft 365 apps).

In case of multiple accounts, the new Outlook licensing is based on the account that is set as primary. If your primary account has rights to the desktop apps, that license will apply, and you will be able to add any secondary email accounts regardless of their licensing status.

When attempting to add a Microsoft 365 account that does not have the required desktop software license, you will see this error: "This account is not supported in Outlook for Windows due to the license provided by your work or school. Try to log in with another account or go to Outlook on the web." This account is not supported in Outlook for Windows due to the license provided by your work or school.

To resolve this, ensure that your primary account has a qualifying license such as Microsoft 365 Personal, Family, Business, Educational, Enterprise or Government that includes desktop versions. If your current account does not meet these requirements, contact your administrator or consider using Outlook on the web as an alternative.

For more information, please refer to How licensing works for work and school accounts in the new Outlook.

Incorrect account details

Reason: The email address or password you entered is incorrect.

Solution: Double-check the email address and password you're entering. If you have forgotten your password, use the account recovery options provided by your email service.

If you've accidentally made a typo while entering your email address, Outlook will promptly ask you to enter a valid one :) An account cannot be added because of an incorrect email address or password.

IMAP / POP not enabled for third-party email accounts

Reason: Unable to add a third-party email account like Gmail because IMAP or POP access is not enabled in the account settings.

Solution: Ensure that IMAP / POP access is enabled on your email provider's website to allow third-party clients like Outlook to add the account. For Gmail, follow this guide: How to enable IMAP access in Google. For other email providers, consult their help resources to enable IMAP or POP3 access accordingly.

Authentication problems

Reason: Some accounts, especially Microsoft 365 work or school accounts, may require additional authentication steps. If these aren't completed correctly, the account won't be added.

Solution: Follow any additional authentication prompts carefully. Refer to your email provider's instructions on how to set up an app-specific password or complete the Two-Factor Authentication process. For work or school accounts, you may need to follow specific instructions provided by your IT department.

Windows Single Sign-On (SSO) issues

Reason: If your organization uses Windows Single Sign-On (SSO) and there are configuration issues, it might prevent account addition.

Solution: Contact your IT department to ensure that SSO is configured correctly and that there are no issues with your corporate account.

Access to new Outlook is disabled by admin

Reason: Your organization's administrator may have disabled employee access to the new Outlook app for security or policy reasons.

Solution: Contact your IT administrator to verify if access to the new Outlook has been restricted. If access is indeed disabled, discuss the possibility of enabling it or seek alternative solutions that comply with your organization's policies. For more information, see Enable or disable employee access to the new Outlook.

Admin prevents adding personal accounts

Reason: Your administrator may have configured policies that prevent end users from adding personal accounts to Outlook once their work or school account is added.

Solution: Check with your IT administrator to see if such a policy is in place (the PersonalAccountsEnabled parameter of OwaMailboxPolicy is set to $false). If the policy exists and cannot be changed, you will only be able to add your organizational account to the new Outlook app.

Multi-factor authentication is enabled for Microsoft 365 account

Reason: You cannot add a Microsoft 365 account to Outlook because your Exchange administrator has enabled multi-factor authentication (MFA) for your account but has not enabled modern authentication for the Exchange tenant organization.

Solution: Contact your administrator to disable MFA for the account in the Microsoft 365 admin center. For more details, see Why Microsoft 365 account cannot be set up in Outlook.

Outdated Outlook app

Reason: Using an outdated version of the new Outlook app can cause compatibility issues.

Solution: Ensure that you are using the latest version of the new Outlook app. Check for updates in the Microsoft Store and install any available updates.

The new Outlook is a Windows app, and normally it updates automatically. However, if you've turned off automatic app updates on your computer, it won't update by itself. In this case, you can manually check for updates by following these steps:

  1. Click the Start button, type "Microsoft Store" in the search bar, and hit Enter. The Microsoft Store app will appear.
  2. In the bottom-left corner of the app, click Library.
  3. At the upper right corner, click Get Updates.

This will download and install all the available updates for your apps, including the new Outlook. Get updates for your Microsoft apps.

To avoid issues caused by an outdated version in the future, you may want to enable automatic updates for all Microsoft apps. Here's how:

  1. Click on your profile in the upper right corner of the Microsoft Store and select Settings.
  2. Under Settings, toggle App updates on.

This way, you can ensure that the new Outlook, along with your other apps, will always stay up to date without the need for manual checks.

Server or network problems

Reason: Occasionally, the email server itself may be experiencing issues, preventing Outlook from adding the account. A poor internet connection or network problems can also hinder Outlook from connecting to the email server.

Solution: Verify that you have a stable internet connection. If you're using a VPN or proxy, try disabling it temporarily to see if it resolves the problem. For work or school accounts, check with your network administrator if there are specific IP address restrictions that may prevent access. If the issue is with the email server, wait for a while and try adding the account again later.

By troubleshooting these common issues, you should be able to successfully add your email account to the new Outlook app and enjoy its wonderful features 😊

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