Outlook Hangs (stops responding) Opening Email Messages Sent from PayPal


Outlook hangs caused by PayPal messages template fault

imageIn just the last few days, I have started experiencing some issues with Outlook when opening messages sent from PayPal.
This is happening with the recent versions of Outlook, including Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2007.

Some of the indications of the problem include.

  • Outlook taking longer than normal to open.
  • Outlook with “Reading Pane” on
  • Outlook Stops Responding when clicking on an email from PayPal.
  • If you wait a long time, it will come good, and even show the email message.
  • If you are impatient and cancel out of outlook, your reading pane is gone when you next open it.

When loading Outlook you receive a message about and address: Contacting: \\102.112.207.net\b\ss\paypalglobal\1\G.4-NS

Background information

It appears that the cause of this is some malformed tracking cookies being sent from PayPal.
While it could be argued that Outlook should handle this invalid link much better than it does… We all know that Microsoft is responsible for Outlook, so really we should not expect too much in the way of “graceful error handling”. (After 20+ years of Windows system events, they still don’t have an online library of error codes and meanings.)
At the bottom of the message, there is a hidden tracking image. Instead of this image pointing to a web server, it is pointing to a non-existing network share. As it is pointing to a network share and not to a web server, Outlook’s “Internet picture blocking” functionality doesn’t kick in and tries to retrieve the content.

So what to do what to do?

First, I know for a fact that PayPal is aware of this issue, and while it is literally a 10 min fix for the right person, we know that finding the right person probably means contacting the dev team out of India that they hired last month, and asking them to fix their crap!
Oh I have been doing this too long!
Really… what to do!

  1. Nothing… If you are patient when opening email messages from PayPal while this issue happens, then they will open.
  2. Delete all recent messages from PayPal permanently form both your inbox and deleted items.
  3. Turn off the reading pane in Outlook.
  4. Turn your Outlook into plain text preview
  5. Redirect the invalid call using a modification to hosts

    1. Start Notepad as an administrator.
      You can do this by right clicking on the Notepad shortcut in the Start Menu and choosing “Run as administrator”. If you don’t see this option, hold SHIFT while right clicking on it.
    2. Choose File-> Open… and open the following file;
    3. Add the following line at the bottom.        102.112.2o7.net
    4. Save the file and close Notepad.

    4. Save the file.

  6. This will basically route 2o7.net request back to your computer, which will reject it, allowing you to read your emails quickly and in peace once again.
    This fix will work on 32/64 bit versions of both Vista and Win 7

If you still have a problem

In Microsoft Windows, use the command ipconfig /flushdns to flush the DNS resolver cache. Open the command prompt and type the following:
C:>ipconfig /flushdns
Windows IP Configuration
Successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache.


Corporate solution for all computer clients at once

If you are in a corporate network, your system administrators can fix this for everyone at once by adding a Forward Lookup Zone (Primary Zone) for the 102.112.2o7.net domain. Then add an A host record without a name and have it resolve to

After PayPal fix the issue.

The invalid link when fixed will not fix messages already sent with the issue. So unless you permanently delete message with the problem, you will see the trouble each time outlook references them for reading. This is because the reference is totally invalid, not just temporarily down.


78 thoughts on “Outlook Hangs (stops responding) Opening Email Messages Sent from PayPal”

  1. Same problem, Outlook stops responding when opening PayPal emails, started Wednesday with PayPal emails – given that it took PayPal a month to fix their Reports that returned wrong totals, I do not hold out any hope of a quick fix for this problem

  2. I am also facing the same problem since last 2 days if any one has the solution please let me know. shall i contact the paypal team about it

    1. As per the post. PayPal have been contacted and acknowledged that the problem is real. Now we play the waiting game till the fix. Or follow the suggestions in the post about this.

  3. Hmm, I have just reinstalled the whole of Office 2010 and reimported my email in an attempt to fix this, thanks for the tips, at least I now know its not my system corrupt.

    1. The temptation to re-install a Microsoft product is as strong as a cat’s instinct to avoid water. Although the trigger is crap code from PayPal, the true cause is crap code from Microsoft in the way that Outlook fails to gracefully handle an invalid resourced network path. You would think that after 10 years of evolution of Office that it would be a lot more mature!

  4. Ditto.. Even I started facing the same damm problem sine last couple of days and was going insane to figure out why outlook is facing problem to read emails particularly from paypal email account.
    All other email accounts and their emails can be accessed easily without any problme. Just that when trying to read paypal emails, Outlook goes crazy and takes its own damm time to come back to senses.
    Thanks for this usefull post. Atleast we know its not our system that is a problem here.

  5. Quick solution:
    add new line to the
    C:\Windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts 102.112.2o7.net

  6. Glad I am not the only one having this problem…I was running all sorts of virus and malware checks, scanpst multiple times, deleting rules and basically going nuts because of this.
    Thank you PayPal.

  7. Here is a fix I found that does work for now until PayPal fixes their email payment notifications.
    Question: opening outlook 2010 i get a message “contacting: 102.112.207.net\b\ss\paypalglobal\1\6.4–ns” and outlook never opens. any thoughts?
    Reply: I highly recommend editing your hosts file to block that address. Press Windows key + R to open the run command and paste the following line in the field then press enter.
    C:\WINDOWS\system32\notepad.exe C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\HOSTS
    type or paste this into the hosts file and save. 102.112.2O7.net
    Outlook should time out faster with this entry in hosts and you will not be sending webbugs back to paypal in the future.
    I did discover you will need to save the file to another location, remove the .txt extension and then copy or cut the file and paste the file back into the folder:

  8. I found this on another website and I can confirm it works.
    This basically has to do with the Paypal HTML email having a tracking pixel in it from Omniture, which owns the 102.112.2o7.net server. (note 2o7.net, it’s the letter O, not a zero).
    If you don’t care about contributing to Paypal statistics, as I’m sure most won’t, the easiest, most permanent fix is to:
    1. Start Notepad.exe as Administrator (right click notepad, and choose “Run as Administrator”).
    2. Open this file, or create it if it does not exist: C:\Windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
    Assuming you installed Windows in the default location, if not substitute C:\Windows for wherever you installed it.
    3. Add this line to the end of the file: 102.112.2o7.net
    4. Save the file.
    This will basically route 2o7.net request back to your computer, which will reject it, allowing you to read your emails quickly and in peace once again.
    This fix will work on 32/64 bit versions of both Vista and Win 7

    1. Thanks for the info. Had I put a little more thought into it, I might have suggested that one. It is a good solution. I had just resorted to deleting paypal messages with an iPad (Apple know how to write code).

  9. Thanks everyone!! Adding the 102.112.2o7.net to the hosts file works and I am happy!!

  10. Thank you so much for this blog – I’ve been tearing my hair out since yesterday. I’m a pretty poor computer savvy person – but even I managed to follow the instructions.
    And yes I had tried uninstalling re installing etc.
    It’s going like s**t off a shovel now 🙂

  11. Soooo glad I found this site, have had the same issues and didn’t realise at first it was linked to paypal until figuring out this morning it only hangs on paypal emails. Your solution worked thanks a ton – major life saver!!!!!!!

  12. @Bruce
    I tried this but it did not fix the problem. Do I need to start the line with a hash mark like the other lines? This is what the file looks like after I added the line.
    # Copyright (c) 1993-2009 Microsoft Corp.
    # This is a sample HOSTS file used by Microsoft TCP/IP for Windows.
    # This file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. Each
    # entry should be kept on an individual line. The IP address should
    # be placed in the first column followed by the corresponding host name.
    # The IP address and the host name should be separated by at least one
    # space.
    # Additionally, comments (such as these) may be inserted on individual
    # lines or following the machine name denoted by a ‘#’ symbol.
    # For example:
    # rhino.acme.com # source server
    # x.acme.com # x client host
    # localhost name resolution is handled within DNS itself.
    # localhost
    # ::1 localhost 102.112.2o7.net

  13. The good news is that it is not caused by anything wrong with my computer. I have just reinstalled MS Office and right away the problem shows up again. The bad news is we can do nothing until PayPal figures out solution. wait…wait…wait….

  14. What a childish Microsoft bashing comments again…sigh. Oh wow, they had a bug….like every program has or do you really believe that there is software out there of this substantial size that has no bugs? Grow up!
    From a programmer for over 17 years.

    1. Are you kidding me? This bug, has been there for 10 Years! After 10 years and 4 major version releases, around 16 minor releases you can pretty much call this a FEATURE!
      I can’t believe anyone with experience can excuse such tarty error handling as this. If it was a small dev company that struggled perhaps, but not Microsoft. It just is not right!
      I happen to know very well how they report, collate and allocate resources to fix bugs, and it is shameful. They just don’t care about a known bug if it is not getting enough users lodging support requests. Heck I can still crash Word 2010 when scrolling fast in a table of contents view just like I could 10 years ago and in every version ever since. I say if someone deserves bashing, get out the Dr. Martens and get stuck in!
      Until that dope Ballmer gets the chop, I know I will be bashing rather than appreciating their work! From someone living and breathing MS for at least 17 years!

  15. Bruce, what you have done is correct. A “#” is used to comment out anything after it on the same line.
    Read this bit:
    # Additionally, comments (such as these) may be inserted on individual
    # lines or following the machine name denoted by a ‘#’ symbol.

  16. absolutely fabulous. this has been driving me crazy and i kept thinking my PST was corrupt so i kept using scanpst.exe to no avail.

  17. 102.112.2O7.net
    its working after pasting the above code to the host file.
    I can access all my emails , outlook is working fine but the “send receive” , its stays in “progress” since half and hour. i restarted the outlook but the same.
    do I need to delete the paypal email from last two days.

    1. That is strange. If they are not important, I would suggest that you remove them with a Shift Del, to drop the altogether. If the problem is still there, then I would revert the host file to how it was, and see if that fixes it. If it does, then one of the other options like waiting for outlook to respond (give it time) may be a solution till PayPal fix this.

  18. You are a <> I looked at this message many, many times and I did not see that the ip octect “2O7” had an upper-case “O” and not a “0”, zero. Once You opened my eyes the rest was easy. I like the hosts modification to move the problem to a place where it doesn’t affect me. Goo work!

  19. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I’ve spent days trying to fix this. Because of the preview pane I didn’t even realize it was a PayPal email message issue until now (I wasn’t showing any type of error, just “NOT RESPONDING”). I ran pst scan repair, registry repair programs, disabled all my add-ins, messed with security settings, was getting ready to try a restore point when I found this gem that fixed the problem in seconds. I don’t know which I hate more, Paypal or MS.

    1. Think you should run with Microsoft. I know for a fact that they have been aware that outlook does not handle invalid references since 2000, just that not enough people complained to get it on their “lets fix it radar”. They work off this extremely “bean counter” bug fixing process, were only to commonly reported bugs get addresses in new releases. Really dumb when something like this has the ability to bite them in the ass. They should have fixed it, just that it is not in their nature to fix anything that does not piss off a lot of customers. Go figure!

  20. Geez mahn! After two days of suffering through this with endless hangs (I sell online so I get a horde of PayPal emails) finally a solution! Thanks you so much! Now if someone can find a quick fix to this why can’t PayPal?
    Use to have a similar issue with outlook being slow when I had indexing on and a network share attached. Even having a second drive will make indexing slow as molasses and make outlook slow to open and hang. Turning off indexing or removing network shares from indexing and any extra drives will cure the issue.

    1. Actually the fix for PayPal is less than a 30 second fix. Some place they have a template file that they use for email messages. In that file a a reference to one of their local resources, kind of like when you create an HTML file and reference all the images on your local hard drive, but when you upload it to the web, no one see any of the images because “you’re a beginner and did not put in web based image references”. PayaPal have made the same beginner mistake and left in a reference to a local resource. You can imagine how easy that is to actually fix. Open the template in notepad and remove the reference or update it to the correct one.
      No doubt, part of the is getting the correct person aware of the problem. Their support people level know of the issue, but getting that to the person who can edit the template will take some time… is my guess.

  21. I tried the above but says access to host file is denied? Says I need admin rights? Please help as this is a major bug for my business?

    1. To work around this issue, follow these steps:
      Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Notepad, and then click Run as administrator.
      If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Allow or Yes.
      Open the Hosts file or the Lmhosts file, make the necessary changes, and then click Save on the Edit menu. If using Windows 7, you will need to click Save on the File menu.
      This video explains clearly about UAC. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80sWifG40B0

  22. This is the best fix I can think of? Is their any comebacks at all? And the Paypal thingy is still loading? How can I stop this? I have a paypal website ecommerce site so I obviously like Paypal but not to the extent its taking over my computer (outlook)?
    How to stop this in total would be nice?

    1. Well it is actually a problem with Outlook and the way that Microsoft handles links to resources that are invalid. All paypal have done is make an error with the linking to a resource in their email template. Kind of a beginner error, and something that you would not notice if it were not for the fact that paypal send people lots of messages.
      This is a bug with outlook that has been there since 2000. Microsoft have known about it since then, but the way MS work is kind of like a child. If none is poking them to get of the Xbox with a stick, they will not bother. So now that this is a big issue, because of PayPal making their error, perhaps Microsoft will “Get off their XBox and fix the know issue”. Would be nice if they were proactive not reactive!

  23. Problem comes back this morning (Sunday.) This is on two PCs that I have fixed by editing HOSTS and been working for two days. I am in the process of troubleshooting. Hope I don’t have to spend another 1 day or 2 this time. I think paypal needs to pay me back the time I have spent last week.
    Anyone experiencing the same this morning?

    1. That is interesting. Makes me think that there may be more than one bad link in their junk. One way to look for it is to view the source of the email and look for other invalid links possibly starting with \\

  24. Thanks for this tips – after researching a couple of days ago I thought I was the only one with this problem! The host file edit worked the best.

  25. Thanks for posting this, it was driving me insane!
    I ebay (with Paypal) regularly and over the last few days, Outlook just wouldn’t opening anything from Paypal. After running virus scans, PST scans, etc. I found this and nailed it.

  26. I was bitten by this too. Many thanks for taking the trouble to publish the result of your investigations – clear, accurate and timely!

  27. No one else experiences the same problem coming back since yesterday (Sat) even after the HOSTS fix? Ping 102.112.2O7.net gives me but opening those paypal payment email still very slow (one min at least) even after reboot or ipconfig /flushdns. Am I the only one?
    I looked at the source and I see a my.fp205.qa.ebay.com which I could not resolve to any ip address. I then put it on the HOSTS to resolve to but opening these emails still give me the same problem.
    Oh man, that why I never trust leaving a cent on my paypal.com account. NO WAY PAYPAL!

  28. The hosts fix worked for a while, but as of yesterday new emails are once again hanging outlook. I think PayPal may have implemented a ‘fix’, but it didn’t work and has now broken the hosts file edit fix?

  29. I get this with Virgin Media bill emails as well as PayPal (not had one of those recently though).

  30. contacting img.alicdn.com tps
    I’m facing the problem with outlook. its stuck while opening the outlook itself, showing contacting img.alicdn.com tps and loading. That’s in no action after this process.

  31. Interesting this issue is still occurring but under difference circumstances for me. My problem is with multiple users in Outlook 2013 where they are simply clicking to preview an email and when that email has images they get the Contacting: popup. The exact wording is “Contacting: cid:imagee9870d.PNG@eab72.4d970eff” and it seems to be different after the cid:image for every user. Any ideas for this one? Can I add this string to the host file to block it?

    1. Only idea is that the email some place has a URL or reference that kills outlook. My preferred solution these days is to use a Mac. Problems like app crashes just go away. Failing that, you can try logging into the Exchange server and accessing webmail to manually remove the suspect email. Or, try using outlook in non cached mode.

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