Q: Outlook 2011 for Mac: Error -16999 Problem Retrieving Message

Problem: When popping mail from Yahoo - Outlook stops and throws up error -16999 and will not retrieve any more messages from the server
Configuration: Running MacOS 10.6.8, MS Office 2011 14.1.12 (all patches upto date through July2 2011)

  1. I set up a new install of MS Office 2011 and then set up Outlook with my Yahoo credentials and the auto-config (with "leave messages on server" turned on) for incoming and outgoing servers.
  2. I have a large email box at Yahoo and Outlook proceeded to download a fair amount before it threw an error. : Problem retrieving message Details: Could not retrieve email.  Account Name: Yahoo.  Error Code -16999
  3. When I quit and restart, I can see status display telling me that Outlook logs into Yahoo,   Connecting Securely, Getting a list of Messages, Messages received 0/11168 and then throws the same error.
I've tinkered with the settings a little to see if that would make a difference but haven't hit a magic formula.  I've also used the Web Interface to Yahoo to move the messages around the date stamp of the last message that Outlook did retrieve into a new folder and tried to delete and empty trash on the next message in sequence that Outlook should retrieve but to no avail.

Pretty disappointing experience so far.   Thanks in advance for any help.



Here's what did it for me (worked for Mac Outlook 2011): 

Error 16999

The POP Server Returned an Unexpected Reply (16999) Error Message and You Cannot Receive E-mail

When you attempt to receive e-mail, you may receive one of the following error messages: The POP server returned an unexpected reply (16999) -or- Could not retrieve mail from the account, a connection failure has occurred, error:-3280

CAUSE This behavior can occur if a damaged message on your e-mail server prevents access to the rest of your e-mail.

RESOLUTION To resolve this behavior, use one of these three methods to get rid of the message that is causing the problem.

Method 1 If your Internet account allows you to interact directly with your e-mail account over the Web, this method is the preferred way to remove damaged e-mail messages from your e-mail server. For instructions about how to do this, refer to your Internet service provider (ISP) documentation about e-mail and e-mail services.

Method 2 If your Internet account does not let you interact directly with your e-mail server, you can ask your ISP to remove the damaged messages from your e-mail account. Make this request by phone so that you can immediately check to see whether you can now receive e-mail after the suspected messages are removed.

Method 3 NOTE: This method involves the use of a third party application or software and should be used after methods 1 and 2 are attempted. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding these products' performance, reliability or security. Delete the damaged message by using the tools that are available on the Internet. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the following Web site:
  2. Select Secure Login.
  3. Type your e-mail address and password in the appropriate boxes, and then click Check Mail.
  4. Click to select the check box next to the first e-mail message, and then click Delete Selected.
  5. When the confirmation message appears, click Yes.
  6. Try to receive e-mail in Entourage
  7. If the error message still appears, continue to delete e-mail messages, one at a time, and try to receive e-mail after each deletion until the error message no longer appears.

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I followed the instructions on this thread without success.  

RESOLUTION My resolution was simple, but not obvious.  In Outlook Preferences in the General section, I had checked the box for "Hide On My Computer Folders".  As soon as I unchecked that option, the error went away.

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

1 person was helped by this reply

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Views: 27,390 Last updated: July 10, 2018 Applies to: