This Weird Microsoft Outlook Bug Is Uber-Frustrating

Email bugs are nothing new, but they don't tend to be as selective as one that is currently impacting some Outlook users. Though most people have transitioned to messaging apps for their daily conversations, email remains the best way to receive communications from businesses, including notices about account changes and, of course, receipts — in fact, many in-store payment terminals now give customers the option to receive an emailed receipt rather than one printed on paper. That's great and all, except when those messages happen to contain data that triggers a weird bug, sending an entire application spiraling into temporary dysfunction.

In this case, we're talking about Microsoft's Outlook, specifically the email application that can be installed and used to receive emails from different service providers — that is, we're not talking about the platform, which is Microsoft's alternative to Gmail. The company has detailed the bug in a new advisory, and if you're an Outlook user, there's a decent chance you've already experienced the glitch without realizing what caused it.

Uber emails are among the Outlook bug triggers

Microsoft published a support document that, at the time of writing, was most recently updated on July 29. In it, the company warns that emails containing "complex tables" may cause the Outlook application to freeze, forcing the user to end the task within Task Manager and then restart it to regain access to their inbox. Microsoft calls out emailed ride receipts from Uber specifically as a bug trigger, though some other emails that feature these tables have also been found to cause the application to crash. As if that weren't annoying enough, Microsoft says some tables are also causing Word to crash.

The bug is impacting users in both the current channel and current channel preview, as well as those using a beta version of the software. Microsoft is, of course, working on getting a patch out that will fix the problem, but until then, you'll either need to avoid content that causes the software to freeze or, if you're particularly desperate, roll the application back to an older version. If you're experiencing the bug on your work computer, it'd be best to ask IT to implement the rollback, but if you're on your own, you can find instructions on how to do that in Microsoft's related support document.