Traditionally, technicians handle the job of localising problems by using what are called troubleshooting trees. Troubleshooting trees work well on many kinds of systems, from automobiles to software (or human beings, for that matter), as a way of sorting through symptoms en route to a diagnosis and solution. Trees present a series of yes/no questions, linked in a flow diagram, to which you respond based on your observations until you reach a statement of the problem and a recommended fix. Troubleshooting Microsoft Outlook
doesn't use troubleshooting trees in their traditional form, but uses flow diagrams as a means of directing readers to how-to procedures for Microsoft Outlook
and Outlook Express
. It's an effective approach to a perennial problem.
For example, a chapter on importing and exporting Outlook data opens with a flow diagram. The first box asks, "When you import data, do you get an error that says, 'Too many fields'?" The "Yes" leg of that question leads to a page reference; the referenced page contains a concise and accurate procedure that solves the problem. Since most of the flow diagrams consist of a single path and a series of page references, they are really just tables of contents--but it's sometimes easier to spot the relevant procedure this way than by reading a dry list of titles. Really obscure Outlook errors, such as those caused by corrupted index files, aren't covered here, but author Julia Kelly gets her readers well beyond the troubleshooting that appears in the online Help files. --David Wall
Topics covered: Problems that can pop up in Microsoft Outlook 2000 and Outlook Express 5, and recommended procedures for fixing them. Coverage touches on normal (but not routine) functions like backing up data, as well as problems related to importing, exporting, account management, synchronisation, formatting and more.