When Outlook’s RSS Reader Dies…

I use Outlook 2007 at home. It has a lot of nifty features, but the new feature that I use most often is its built-in support for RSS feeds. I subscribe to a couple dozen RSS feeds, and I really like having the feeds delivered to my Exchange mailbox (which means that I can access them from anywhere using OWA).

However, on Wednesday I noticed that one of the feeds wasn’t being updated. I just shrugged it off, thinking the site might be having problems. But then other feeds stopped updating. I didn’t really notice this until today because when you subscribe to a couple dozen feeds, and when most of those feeds have 100 (or more) posts in a single day, it’s easy to lose track of which feed isn’t working.

I tried several simple fixes but none of them worked. So then I tried searching the Microsoft newsgroups and several other online sources. And while I could find several people having the same issue, none of the fixes they offered seemed to fix the problem. At this time, there doesn’t appear to be any “quick fix” for this issue. I did find a solution for the problem, but you’re not gonna like it:

1) Open Outlook and go to File > Import and Export > Export RSS Feeds to an OPML file. Choose a destination for the OPML file (I suggest saving it to your desktop), then save the file.

2) Click on Tools > Account Settings > RSS Feeds and highlight all your RSS feeds and press the DELETE key (or click the “Remove” button in the toolbar).

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have any feeds that are downloaded to a non-default location, you will need to manually copy the non-standard feed’s URL to a Notepad window BEFORE you delete the feed. Let’s say you have all your podcast RSS feeds delivered to a PST file, but the rest of your feeds are delivered to your Exchange mailbox. So BEFORE deleting the non-standard location feed(s), go to the properties of each one and manually copy the URL to a Notepad window.

3) Close Outlook.

4) Re-open Outlook and click File > Import and Export > Import RSS Feeds from an OPML file. Click the “Browse” button and select the OPML file you created in step 1, then finish the wizard.

5) Outlook will download any available feeds from your OPML list. Sadly, it will also create duplicate folders for your RSS feeds, like the “Feedname (1)” folders in the picture below:

Outlook 2007 RSS

6) Move the feeds in your “original” feed folders into the new “(1)” folders. Delete the empty folder from your old feed. Also, right-click the new “(1)” folder and rename it to the original name (if you’d like).

7) For any feeds that normally include attachments (like podcast feeds), you will have to manually add click the “Download attachments for this feed” in the settings for that feed under Tools > Account Settings > RSS Feeds.

8) If you have any feeds that were delivered to a non-default location (see the note in step 2), you will have to add these feeds back manually.

That doesn’t seem like a lot of work, but I can promise you that it is. It took well over an hour to get everything back the way I like it. I’ll see if I can report the “bug” to Microsoft on Monday. Given how many people this seems to be happening to, they’re probably aware of it and are (hopefully) working on a fix for it.

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