Spell Check in Outlook Express stopped working?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Ken K. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I can't seem to get my Spell Check to work in Outlook Express. Whenever I try to run the spell check, Windows gives me an error message. I don't know how to correct this problem. Can you help? "

My Response:

Believe it or not, I've been asked this question many times.

My own experience when searching for the answer to this question has always turned up quite a few results using Google -- most of which contained outdated information.

I decided to do some thorough digging and eventually came across two Microsoft Knowledge Base articles (#178328 and #224176), which appear to be related to this issue:

  • #178238: Spell Checker or Custom Dictionary Errors in Outlook Express This is applicable to MS Outlook Express versions 4 ~ 5.5 (Windows 95, 98, 2000).
  • #224176: Spelling Checker Does Not Run on Message in Outlook Express 5 This is applicable to MS Outlook Express versions 5 ~ 6 (Windows NT, 95, 98, 2000, and XP).

Without reiterating everything that is listed on both these pages, here's a quick run-down:


Spell check suddenly stops working for no apparent reason, and an error message is displayed that the operation could not be completed.


A value in the Windows Registry needs to be reset.


Modify values in your Windows Registry, as outlined in either of the above MS Knowledge Base Articles (#178238 or #224176). Note: Before playing with your registry, back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore it if a problem arises.

How to back up, restore, and edit the registry

There is a Microsoft Knowledge Base Article which outlines how to go about using the Windows Registry if you've never done it before:


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