Today, I was facing an issue with my Outlook application and the Lync application in the office. While behaving normally for some time, I encountered strange behaviour. The Outlook application displayed a dialog box asking me to authenticate access to the server. On doing that, the Lync application displayed a similar dialog box asking for credentials. And then, on providing those, the Outlook dialog box popped up once again and they started going round and round.
After a couple of tries, I gave up, but I was unable to receive new email. I restarted Outlook, but this time, it refused to connect to the server. When I asked a sys admin about this problem, he asked me to reboot the system. When I did that, everything went back to normal.
Though this behaviour may have occurred because one of Outlook or Lync was not behaving properly, it illustrates something that I have observed with sys admins who support Windows installations. In many cases, their answer is “try rebooting the system to check if the problem persists”.
This is a much better solution that a solution that I have given and have also heard many times – reformat the computer and reinstall the operating system.