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Help Solve the Outlook 'General Failure' E-Mail Error

My original solution to this vexing problem doesn't work for some users. So I'm taking it straight to Microsoft!

Just over a year ago I wrote a post on fixing the "General failure" error that appears in Outlook when you click a link in an e-mail message. (The full error reads something like this: General failure. The URL was: "http://www.webaddress.com" The system cannot find the file specified.)

In recent months, I've heard from a number of users who tried the fix (which involves a Registry tweak) but had no success. Indeed, it seems like I get a new plea for help with this problem at least once a week.

Alas, I can't quite pin down why the fix works for some users and not others--or what's causing the error to occur. In fact, I initially thought it affected only Firefox users, but at least one reader says she's having the same issue with Internet Explorer as her default browser.

My plan, therefore, is to find an Outlook product manager at Microsoft and get a viable fix for this bug. It may take a little time, but I promise you I won't give up.

And you can help. I want to share as much information as possible with Microsoft's people, so I'm asking anyone affected by this error to send an e-mail to hasslefree@pcworld.com. Put Outlook E-mail Error in the subject line, and include the following details about your system:

Windows version

Outlook version

Your default Web browser

The exact error message

Even if you've already written to me about this, I'd appreciate a follow-up e-mail with the aforementioned info. The more data I can gather, the easier it will be to get help from Microsoft. Let's crowd-source this pernicious problem out our lives forever!

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.com, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums.

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