Why Does Outlook Ask for a Username & Password Every Time I Open It?
By Danielle Fernandez
There are a number of configurations you can use when you set up an email account in Microsoft's Outlook email client. For example, you can enable the storage of your username and password so that the data is automatically entered upon software launch or when additional security is needed -- such as when sending or receiving mail. When this option is not properly configured -- or if your Outlook profile settings are faulty -- you may find that you are repeatedly prompted to manually enter your password information.
Incorrect Password Stored
If the stored password is not entered with the correct series of alphanumeric characters, it will not be able to properly log you into your email provider's server. As a result, Outlook will prompt you to enter the corrected password every time you open the software. Even if you are certain that the password has been set up, try reentering it and saving the configuration again. By reestablishing the settings with an accurate password, you can potentially eliminate the prompt so that your software can automatically log in.
Change or Update Automatic Password Settings
To change your account's password settings, first launch Outlook, then select "File" and then "Account Settings." Click "Account Settings" one more time, select the account you wish to configure and then click "Change." Type -- or retype -- your password in the "Password" field under "Logon Information." Be sure that you have enabled the "Remember Password" check box so that the information is stored for automatic entry by Outlook.
Create a New Outlook Profile
If reentering your password information does not solve the problem, Microsoft suggests that you create a new Outlook profile. First, close Outlook and launch the Control Panel. Double-click on "Mail" and then click "Show Profiles." Click "Add" to create a new one, and when you are finished, ensure that "Always Use This Profile" is selected so that Outlook doesn't instead revert back to the old profile.
Disable COM Add-Ins
Another possible culprit for password prompts upon Outlook startup is a third-party service that is not working properly with the email client -- for example, add-ins or anti-virus software. Attempt to disable add-ins and see if that solves the problem. To do so, launch Outlook and click "File" and then "Options." Click "Trust Center" and then "Add-Ins," and then click "COM Add-Ins" and "Go." Clear any enabled checkboxes and then click "OK." Restart Outlook and see if you're still prompted to manually enter your information.
As a last resort, Microsoft suggests backing up your registry and removing the user account information from the "Protected Storage System Provider" subkey (see Resources). This is an advanced process and should only be implemented if you have exhausted all other steps -- Microsoft also only suggests it for tech-savvy users. Once the registry has been backed up and your user account information reset, you can proceed to reenter the password options in Outlook.
Based in Tampa, Fla., Danielle Fernandez been writing, editing and illustrating all things technology, lifestyle and education since 1999. Her work has appeared in the Tampa Tribune, Working Mother magazine, and a variety of technical publications, including BICSI's "Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual." Fernandez holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of South Florida.