Missing Categories in Outlook (2010 or 2013)

Posted: December 15, 2015 in Systems

Okay.  All of a sudden one day your custom Categories in Outlook are Missing.

There are a couple of solutions that will work depending on your scenario.  I recommend trying these prior to using WebDav and working with the message class object IPM.Configuration.CategoryList.

  1. The Most Common Solution to “Upgrade your Categories” after upgrading your version of Outlook the Master Category List is overwritten.
  2. Go all out and Restore the Entire Mailbox (don’t even try restoring just the calendar).  Restoring to PST and re-importing will work as well but I’ve experienced this not working too.
  3. Use an old OST File
    1. Search the local computer for *.OST (drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook)
    2. If you are lucky enough to have an older OST file from a date prior to the issue you can do the following:
      1. Close Outlook
      2. Rename your current active OST to .bak
      3. Rename the older OST to the name or your current active OST
      4. Disconnect from the network (disable network card or unplug)
      5. Open Outlook and you’ll see your old Categories.  Now you need to Backup Categories.
          • Create an new Note
          • Write “Categories” in it to give it a name.
          • Close the Note item.
          • Switch to your Notes folder
          • Right click on it and choose Categorize-> All Categories…
          • Select all the Categories which you want to backup.
          • Save the Note outside of Outlook as an msg-file Outlook via File-> Save as… or by dragging it out of Outlook and into an Explorer folder or onto your Desktop. By default it will be called Categories.msg


      6. Rename the OST back to the original
      7. Open Outlook and Restore Categories
        • Open your Notes folder
        • Drag & drop the Categories.msg file from Explorer into the Notes folder.
        • Switch back to the Mail Navigation
        • Right click on the top of your mailbox folder set and choose Properties.
        • Click the button “Upgrade to Color Categories”.
          Outlook will scan your mailbox for items with Categories which aren’t in the Master Category List yet and will add them.
      8. Connect to network and you are all set!

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