How to fix the Oops, the system encountered a problem Gmail error
Gmail is one of the most popuular email clients, helped in no small part by the massive popularity of its parent, search monolith Google. But the Mail User Agent (MUA) is not without issues.
One pesky issue some users have had to battle is the ‘Oops the system encountered a problem‘ error.
There are several possible causes for this error. But essentially, the error prevents you enjoying the conveniences you have come to expect from your email client.
For some people, the issue crops up somewhat infrequently, it works well for a stretch and then, out of the blue, the Oops! message comes back again.
However, for others, it happens so frequently that they literally lose access to their email. This is not good and may mean you miss important correspondence, with serious implications for your work.
Different users report the error circumstances when the error crops up on their Gmail like when:
- Opening messages,
- Deleting old emails, and when
- Moving emails to folders.
How to fix the Oops the system encountered a problem error
- Check your Internet connection
- Switch to the Basic HTML version of Gmail
- Clear your browser’s caches and cookies
- Disable browser extensions and add-ons
- Switch to another browser
- Temporarily disable anti-virus and other internet security programs on your PC
Just as there are many possible causes for this error, there are several fixes you can try to solve it. We will go through the usual suspects, as well as the sneakier ones, which aren’t as easy to isolate.
You will want to consider and check off each one until the problem is fixed.
Before you try the fixes we will consider here, do you access your email through your browser or a desktop application? If it is the latter you may want to check if it is still properly configured.
You could even uninstall it and reinstall a more up-to-date version.
Solution 1 – Check your Internet connection
Some Gmail features struggle to load if your internet connection is particularly slow. If there is something you can do to improve your internet speed, try that first.
Or you could try switching to an Ethernet, wireless, or Wi-fi connection, depending on what you use currently, just to see if this is the source of your problem.
But in most of the cases, this is rarely the issue. When it is, you can tell by the slow speed at which the Gmail application itself loads on your PC. If this is true for you, consider this next fix.
Solution 2 – Switch to the Basic HTML version of Gmail
Gmail is a feature-rich application that takes quite a bit of time to load fully. Because it is mostly plain text, the HTML version is lighter and usually loads faster and uses lesser of your computer’s resources than the Standard version.
The HTML version was developed for slow internet connections as well as for legacy and unsupported browsers. Use this link to switch to the basic HTML version of Gmail.
However, there is a downside to using this plainer version of Gmail. By opting for it, you will miss out on features such as Spell checker, Chat, rich formatting, keyboard shortcuts, and others.
Solution 3 – Clear your browser’s caches and cookies
Both caches and cookies are meant to improve your browsing experience. But both can sometimes hurt it.
Caches, which are files that store information on the individual pages you visit so the browser won’t have to make database calls and load page objects the next time you visit the same page.
This reduces the time it takes your browser to load pages. Speaking of which, if Google Chrome is low, follow the steps listed in this article to speed it up.
But a consequence is all these caches will end taking too much of your disk space, including information from unimportant pages and, in some cases, malware. You thus need to clear them regularly.
Cookies, on the other hand, are applications websites use to store your browsing information every time you visit the site. This is information they can then use to personalize your browsing experience, including the ads you see.
Both cookies and caches can get corrupted and end up causing this ‘oops the system encountered a problem’ error.
Clearing cookies and caches will also help solve other Chrome issues, like ‘the page is not responding‘ error.
Every browser has its own steps you should follow to clear your caches and cookies. In Chrome, you can follow these steps;
- Click the three stacked dots in the top right corner of your screen from your Chrome browser,
- Navigate down to and click the Settings option,
- Click Advanced right at the bottom of the page,
- Click the Clear browsing data subfolder,
- Uncheck all the boxes, excerpt the Cached images and files and Cookies and other site data.
Clearing cache and cookies data from your browser will hopefully get rid of all the corrupted data that could be causing the ‘Oops the system has encountered a problem’ error.
If that doesn’t fix it, consider this next possible solution.
Solution 4 – Disable browser extensions and add-ons
A possible solution we are going to discuss next is to switch to another browser. But before you do that you may want to first check if the problem isn’t being caused by an extension you have recently added to your browser.
Third-party software, including browser extensions and add-ons, can sometimes interfere with the other software and applications on your PC.
Sometimes a patch or update on old compatible software can cause glitches that did not exist before, like this ‘Oops the system has encountered a problem’ error.
Make a list of all the extensions you added around the same time you started experiencing this problem. Disable them one by one, checking after each one to see if the issue is still there.
Proceed to the old extensions and add-ons you have always had. There is a chance an update on one of those may be causing this problem with your Gmail.
For a list of all the extensions on your browser, click the three stacked dots in the upper far right corner of your browser and follow these steps;
- Navigate down the list of options and click More tools,
- Choose the Extensions option,
- A list of all the extensions on your browser will appear. Uncheck those marked as Enabled to disable them.
Solution 5 – Switch to another browser
If clearing cookies and cache data from your browser do not resolve the problem, the next best option may be to switch browsers.
Try installing any one of the major browsers like Firefox, or Chrome, etc. For Windows PC users, Internet Explorer will already be preinstalled in the Windows OS.
If you aren’t using Chrome, consider switching to it. Some using have reported the problem going away after they migrated to the browser. Maybe Gmail is just more compatible to Chrome than other browsers since they are both Google products.
After installing, try accessing Gmail from a tab on your browser. Check if you still get the same error. If the error goes away, then you know it is a browser problem.
If you still want to continue using your old browser an option would be to download and install the current version. Or, if you don’t want to install your extensions from scratch, check for any new updates for the browser.
If you are using Chrome, click the same three stacked dots and look for More tools. Click that tab and check for Update Google Chrome.
If you don’t see the option it means you are on the latest version. Proceed to this next fix.
Solution 6 – Temporarily disable anti-virus and other internet security programs on your PC
Some people who have faced the ‘Oops the system encountered a problem’ in Gmail have reported the problem going away after disabling their internet security software, like your anti-malware and anti-viruse tools.
This is a solution worth trying as well.
The good thing is, like you have done with your extensions, you won’t have to disable your internet security software. Simply disable them one at a time and check if the error still recurs.
In fact, the Avast anti-virus software has been reported by some users to cause this problem. Luckily, you may not have to disable it.
Some of the users of the Avast software reckon they have found the fix for the problem. They advise to bring up your Avast icon’s main page and locate the settings icon, which is under your name in the top right corner.
Click the settings icon and a list will appear. The first item on the list should be your Avast signature. Simply uncheck that and the ‘Oops the system encountered a problem’ issue will be fixed.
If you are using the Avast anti-virus fixing this problem should hopefully be as easy as following the steps we discussed above.
But if you are using any other anti-virus, replacing it may be the only viable alternative if you discover it is indeed the culprit behind the problem.
There is no specific fix for the ‘Oops the system ecountered a problem’ error
Isolating the real issue behind the ‘Oops the system encountered a problem’ error in Gmail is difficult as it manifests in different ways. People have also reported different fixes as having solved the error for them.
The best option, before Google can come up with a more permanent solution, is to try all different solutions that have worked for others, as we have discussed here.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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