How to fix the issue when Outlook prompts for username and password

In this article, the fix to the issue very commonly encountered by the users in a corporate environment has been highlighted. It serves to be a very useful article. Please see the troubleshooting carefully to fix it.


Outlook usually works on the credentials provided by the user for logging into the network. These domain credentials serve as an open gate for the outlook to work as it synchronizes with Active Directory where the domain IDs of the users is created. If an issue occurs where Outlook is prompting for ID and password, it's a clear indication that the password for the domain of the user has either gone bad or needs a change or it has been locked.

All you have to do is check if the domain account of the user is locked on the domain server by any chance. Only administrators can unlock it so this issue is usually fixed by IT help desk analysts if the account is locked. However, common users can consider changing the password for the domain and give the new password in outlook and it should accept and stop prompting repeatedly. Yes, if the account is locked or password needs a change, the outlook keeps on prompting for credentials even if user enters it multiple times. This often locks the account of the user as well.

This also happens when user happens to change his password by working on VPN. The domain password has to be changed every 90 days and last day it says the password has expired and needs a change. If user happens to be working remotely by connecting through VPN, if prompted for password change, if he happens o change it, the password sometimes doesn't sync with office network. Al though it works fine when is on VPN, but starts prompting for credentials when at office.

In the above scenario, user will have to change the password again after coming on to office network and enter it into the prompt to make it work.

In this article, I have outlined the steps to unlock account or reset password for the user by using Active Directory. The need of resetting password via AD arises when user won't be able to change his password himself.

A user can change his password by pressing ctrl+Alt+Del. Once a user presses these three buttons collectively on the keypad, he would get an option to change the password. He can click on the option and change it. Lock the computer, unlock it with new password, close and re-open outlook, it must be fine. But if it doesn't work, sometimes user might need to enter the new password once to make it work. However, sometimes it doesn't work.

That's when user would contact administrator and admin team will have to manually unlock the account and reset the password via AD. Please see the below steps to perform this activity.

Step 1 – Take the domain ID of the user and search it in AD.

Step 2 – Right click on the name of the user in AD and click on Properties

Step 3 – Click on Profile tab from the list of the tabs in AD.

Step 4 – You can easy make out if the account is locked. There would be a check box beside "Account is Locked" which will be checked, you just will have to uncheck it for unlocking the account

Step 5 – If the issue still doesn't resolve, after searching the name of the client in the AD, right click on it and click on "Reset Password"

Step 6 – Reset the password of the user and make sure to check the box saying "User will have to change the password at next logon".

Step 7 – Give the temporary password reset by you to the user and verify with him if he gets a prompt to change it.

Step 8 – Once user changes the password, the new password given by user will work and outlook will stop prompting for credentials.

Note: Always a complex password is recommended to be given as a temporary password and the user is also advised to follow the password change guidelines to ensure that the password is complex based on your Organization's IT policy. Some Organizations also have an authentication verification process where a user is asked to set a security question and administrator will have to verify the correct answer from the user to the question set before releasing temporary password or unlocking password. This is followed to prevent phishing or unauthorized usage of users' account to steal confidential company data.


Please make sure that the steps and tips given in this article are followed in sequence to avoid any kind of duplication of efforts. Hope this article would help the people in understanding the scenario and technicality hidden behind a simple issue when an outlook prompts for credentials.

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