Outlook Server-Side Rules Not Working [Fixed by Experts 2024]

Written By Farhan Max

The concept of Microsoft Outlook’s server-side rule still fascinates me a lot. Even though you are on vacation or away from the keyboard, your important emails don’t wait for your action to move forward — it’s totally automated.

Isn’t that amazing?

But to burst the bubble, Outlook rules don’t work every time as you set them. Sometimes, email forwarding/exchange rules fail functionality due to server glitches and other fluctuating issues.

Since you landed on this page, that issue of Outlook server-side rules not working will be long gone. And as a bonus, I will guide you create a full-functional server-side rule for Microsoft Outlook.

So, what are you waiting for?outlook-server-side-rules-not-working

How to Fix Outlook Server Side rules not Working

If the PST- Personal storage tablet file is damaged or corrupted, the server-side rules on Outlook won’t respond. On the other hand, when the rules exceed the rules quota — fixed for your mailbox, side rules won’t work. Corrupted settings files of server rules can also trigger the issue.

However, in most cases, when your POP3/IMAP account data gets corrupted, you are most likely to encounter this grim situation. How does that work? It’s quite important for you to understand those terms.

POP3 downloads all the emails to your computer and, at the same time, deletes the emails from the server. In contrast, IMAP gathers the emails to a server and helps to deliver them on multiple devices.pop3-imap

The problem occurs when one of the protocols (sometimes both) fails to complete the assigned tasks.

Don’t get woozy to notice such complex reasons. Every situation can be solved. Just read through the article.

Before you initiate the troubleshooting process, I strongly suggest checking the internet connection. Then you can move on to further sections.

Also, check out our separate post on how to fix Outlook can’t create file error when opening attachment.

Here are the methods to resolve outlook server-side rules not functioning: 

1. Optimize the Rules Size (Quota-Wise)

Outlook allows you to set rules for receiving and forwarding emails. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can place hundreds of rules and take a world tour, assuming Outlook will disburse the emails for you.

It doesn’t work that way. You have limitations in setting the rule, e.g., how many commands you can apply in one rule, the size of the rules file, and so on.

Usually, your rules file can’t exceed 256KB in size. After reaching 256KB, you’ll get a notification.

However, this quota only applies to enabled rules. You can use as many commands as you want for the disabled rules.

2. Reset the SRS Files

Damage to SRS file — send and receive settings file is also an important reason for server-side rules not working. Resetting the SRS file/ renaming the file should solve your issue.

Here are the steps to reset the Outlook SRS file:

  • Launch Microsoft Outlook from your computer.
  • Press ALt + Ctrl + S simultaneously to open the Send/Receive group.
  • Click on rename from the right panel.click-rename
  • Add .old at the end of the group name. add-old

That will reset the SRS file. Exit the Outlook client for a few minutes and check whether your incoming emails automatically move to the selected path.

Check out the easiest way to Enable Read Receipts In Outlook.

3. Stop Processing More Rules

If a rule doesn’t work properly, that’s because you probably enabled the stop processing more rules option. Disabling it will help your server-side rules work correctly.

Here are the steps to disable processing more rules:

  • Launch Outlook from your computer.
  • Click on the File tab from the top left corner.
  • Select Rules & alerts from that menu.rules-alerts
  • Go to the rules list and select a rule.
  • Click on the change rule from the right next.change-rule
  • Select edit rule settings > click next.
  • Untick, stop processing more rules from there. stop-processing
  • Click Next > Finish to complete the process.

You’re all set. Check if the issue persists. Try the following solution if it is continuous and you can’t think of better solving methods.

4. Delete .ost File

OST file is an offline folder that helps you work offline and synchronizes offline data with the Outlook server. If the server-side rules are not working because this folder gets corrupted, you can delete and recreate this folder to elude the irregularities.

Here are the steps to delete and recreate the OST file:

  • Search for the control panel in the Windows search box and click on the result.
  • Navigate to User account > Mail (Microsoft Outlook).control-mail
  • Click on Email accounts from the next window.email-account
  • Go to the Data files tab and select open file location from the dashboard.data-files
  • Right-click on the relevant .otr file and delete it.

Relaunch your Outlook client to check whether the server-side rules are working correctly.

Check out our separate post on how to view message headers in Outlook.

5. Create a New Outlook Profile

If nothing from the above solutions could resolve your issue, creating a new Outlook profile will reset the rules. Though it’s not the ideal solution, you can recreate new rules for the server-side Outlook client, which is the last resort, in my opinion.

Here’s the procedure to recreate an Outlook profile:

  • Exit from the Outlook application to start this process.
  • Press Windows + S to launch the Windows search box.
  • Type control panel and hit Enter.
  • Navigate to User account > Mail > Show profiles.show-profile
  • Click on add to build a new profile.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

Launch the application once you open a new profile for Outlook. Don’t keep the previous client rules if you want to start from the beginning.

Your Outlook server-side rules will be applicable once you implement the methods I described here. However, if you want to set up an Outlook server that really works as per your command, you should read the following section.

How to Set up Operational Server Side Rules in Outlook

Setting up a functional server-side rule isn’t that complicated if you keep it simple. Instead of filling up hundreds of criteria, you can tick on the options that are an actual necessity.

Sounds doable? Let’s see how you can do that.

Here are the steps to set up Outlook server-side rules:

  • Launch Microsoft Outlook from your PC.
  • Click on File from the dashboard and select Automatic replies.auto-reply
  • Select rules option from the bottom left.rule
  • Click on Add Rule.add-rule
  • Tick on the Send directly to me option.
  • Add a subject as the picture shows (the subject of the email you want to forward), e.g., 10-scopes-files.
  • Tick both on copy to and forward option.
  • Click on OK when you notice the assigned rule is functional.final-save

That’s how you set up a server-side rule. Nothing complicated, right? Plus, you can add other rules following this simple method. I think you’re skilled enough to assign server rules in this manner.

Now, if you have any other queries about Microsoft Outlook’s server-sided rules, there’s a dedicated section right below.

Follow our guide to fix Outlook can’t create file error when opening attachment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to edit a rule in Outlook?

Launch Outlook > File > Manage Rules & Alerts > Tick on the box next to the rule you want to edit > Click on Change Rule.

How to clear all rules in Outlook?

Launch Outlook > File > Manage Rules & Alerts > Select all the rules > click on Delete.

How to Repair Outlook Rules?

Select File > Manage rules & alerts > Click on box of the rules in red > Click on rules description > edit the rules > select ok.

The Bottom Line

Microsoft Outlook is one of the earliest products that people around the world use to manage their email. So, I think it’s manageable to find a few irregularities while using the application. As per we are here to resolve your Microsoft client issues, you can relax a bit.

If any solutions seem difficult, even a little bit, contact me via the comment box. My team will try the utmost to eradicate your issue.

About The Author
Farhan Max is a tech geek with a particular interest in computer hardware. He's been fascinated by gaming since childhood and is now completing his undergraduate studies while researching and testing the latest tech innovations. Alongside his love for all things geeky, Farhan is also a skilled photographer.

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