Outlook Unable to Start With an Exchange Account

I had set up a new Exchange Server 2010, and was trying to connect to my account on that server using Outlook 2010. However, I kept getting this error and Outlook was unable to start.

"Cannot open your default e-mail folders. You must connect 
to Microsoft Exchange with the current profile before you 
can synchronize your folders with your offline folder file."

The computer I was using was in the same Windows Domain as the Exchange Server, and I was able to access (remote desktop) the Exchange Server without any issues. I was also able to access my account using the OWA interface without any issues. The only problem was that I could not access it via Outlook.

There are a plethora of blog posts and forums online where users have experienced the exact same error message and many different solutions have been suggested. None of them worked for me until I finally found this one.

While the solution proposed in the post itself did not work for me, one of the comments on the post proposed a solution that did. Waseel Akbari had the following comment:

It worked once for me but later the same problem started again, after too much struggle I found a solid solution and that is:
Go to Exchange server ::> Services ::> Check if this service is started (Microsoft Exchange RPC Client Services) if it’s started give it a restart

This made the most sense to me given the error message and the fact that Outlook uses RPCs to communicate with Exchange Server (whether it is using MAPI RPCs or RPC over HTTPS). You can read this great article about Outlook Anywhere (which is another name for Outlook’s RPC over HTTPS functionality).

So I remote desktop’d into my Exchange server -> Start -> Run -> services.msc and looked for the “Microsoft Exchange RPC Client Access” service and sure enough, it was not running. I started it, and voila, I was able to connect to my Exchange account using Outlook.

Outlook Unable to Start With an Exchange Account