Outlook 2013 - How to Fix unable to send to New Email address

If you are getting an error in Outlook when trying to send emails to new email addresses and getting an error We cant complete this because we cant connect to the server right now then here's a possible solution for you.

The Fault

Whenever you try and copy and paste (or type in) a new email address and click Send you get a Pop-up in the bottom corner of your screen that states something along the lines of:

We cant complete this because we cant connect to the server right now

You may also not be able to setup new contacts with an email address in them?

Sending emails to existing contacts works absolutely fine!

The Reason

This seems to be a "bug" in Outlook when you have an Exchange Server account configured, but then that account is either disconnected or discontinued for whatever reason (maybe you had a Free Trial of Exchange Server setup but never renewed it, or have moved to a new email provider?)

Whenever you try to add a new email address (either in Contacts or an Email itself) Outlook tries to connect to the Exchange Server first (presumably to check if it is a known contact or perhaps to check "online" status of that email user) which promptly fails because the server is now online.

A Possible Fix

In this scenario we don't want to loose all the emails, contacts etc that existed on the discontinued Exchange Server account so we cant just delete it, so here's what we did.

Note: you could also archive off the old mailbox, using the auto-archive feature, but we also wanted to keep the Contacts and Calendar items.

Step 1 - Create a new PST file to hold all your old data

Navigate to

File -> Account Settings -> Account Settings

Then click the Data Files Tab and choose Add

Select the Outlook data file (.pst) option and then click OK

You will then be prompted to select a location and name for your new file, leave the location as default (typically your "Documents/Outlook Files" folder) and name the file (ours was old-emails.pst)

Step 2 - Drag and Drop everything you want to keep

Once the new .pst file is created it should become visible in your folder list on the left hand side of Outlook. We then simply dragged and dropped each folder that we wanted to keep into this new folder list.

Left Mouse drag will Copy the folders, Right Mouse drag will give the option to Move the folders

The benefit of doing this (even though its a bit long winded) is that it should then keep all your views and other preferences for each folder.

Note: Default folders such as Inbox, Deleted Items etc may not be Copyable/Moveable in which case go into these folders on your Exchange server account and Select All Messages (CTRL+A) and drag and drop them to your old-emails Inbox.

Do the same for Contacts and Calendar Items (you may need to change the view for the calendar to a List) Select All and Paste/Drag them to the relevant folder.

Step 4 - Delete the old Exchange account

Once you are confident you have backed up all the information you want (double check and then check again!!!). You can then navigate to

File -> Account Settings -> Account Settings

Under the Email tab, look for your unwanted Exchange Server account and choose Remove. You will be prompted that this:

will be irreversible and that any cached content will be deleted

choose Yes

Just to be sure, close and re-open Outlook, but you should now find that you can add new email contacts and send emails to new email addresses without the error, and you still can search through your old emails when you want to.

Job Done!

photo credit: Outlook - jak usunąć limit rozmiaru załącznika via photopin (license)

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