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Outlook 2007 is slow, RSS broken

Users are reporting that Outlook 2007 is slow – much slower than Outlook 2003, which it is meant to replace.

Experiences vary, but the worst affected are those with large mailboxes. Large in this context means thousands of messages and several GB size. Looking at the newsgroups there may be a particular problem with Outlook on 64-bit Windows. I’m not impressed; though it’s not yet clear how widespread the problem is. I’d be interested in comments.

Confession time: I have a huge mailbox. That means I can easily find old email correspondence, and that’s a feature I value. Furthermore, I lack the time or patience to sift through and delete what is no longer required. Unfortunately, the most effective advice for those suffering from slow Outlook 2007 installations seems to be: reduce the size of your mailbox.

While there may be good organizational reasons for doing this, it seems odd that it is needed on today’s machines, with vast amounts of RAM and disk space, and unspeakably fast CPUs. And if you use Exchange, be sure that you archive to a server location, otherwise you can end up with several little archives littered over every machine you use, and they likely will not be backed up.

Why should users have to prune their mailbox because the very latest Outlook cannot cope with it as well as the older version? Surely it is not that difficult to query and display emails from a local database?

I’m also disappointed that, for all the talk of user experience, the new Outlook does not slow down gracefully. You know the kind of thing: you start the application and an unresponsive, semi-painted window appears for a while. You click to change folders and the application appears to hang. You click to drop-down a menu and the application freezes for several seconds. Isn’t this the kind of thing that background threads are meant to help with?

As for RSS, I can’t make sense of what Outlook 2007’s designers were aiming at here. Note that I think the RSS central store, installed with IE7, is a great idea. However, “central store” in this context means central to the local machine. What Outlook seems to do is to copy the contents of this store to your mailbox and then keep it synchronized. I think that’s a mistake: mailboxes are big enough already, and Outlook would do better to query the central store dynamically.

The real problem comes when you use Outlook with Exchange. Many users take advantage of the server-side mailboxes in Exchange by using Outlook on several different machines, all pointing to the same Exchange mailbox. For me, this is the primary advantage of Exchange and Outlook. But what if those several different machines have different RSS feeds in their central store, or even the same ones?

So far, it appears that Outlook cannot cope. I end up with duplicate feeds, I end up with feeds showing in the RSS feeds folder that are not listed in Tools – Account Settings – RSS Feeds; in fact this list is empty on my desktop machine, Sync is turned off, but I still have a ton of feeds in the Outlook RSS feeds folder.

It seems simple to me. Either Outlook’s RSS integration should be 100% local, in which case you just see what is in the central store on your current machine. Or it should be 100% server-based, in which case Exchange should handle the RSS updates. Mixing the two is just silly.

Tip for improving Outlook performance: if you are happy to do this, go into Tools – Account settings – Microsoft Exchange Server – Change – More settings – Security, and remove the checkbox from “Encrypt data between Outlook and Exchange”. Other factors may be search engine integration (Microsoft’s or other), A/V integration, or other add-ins.

Bottom line: I suggest caution before rolling this out over a network.

Update: other tips you can try

A few other things that have helped people:

  1. Exchange users: Remove Outlook 2003 and do a clean install of Outlook 2007, making sure that a new offline store is created from scratch.
  2. Run on Vista.
  3. Turn off indexing. Tools – Options – Search options – uncheck all folders. It’s a shame to do this as the indexed search is useful.
  4. Let indexing complete. Might be worth leaving the machine running overnight.
  5. Reduce the size of your mailbox (of course).

The above will not solve all the problems, but can mitigate performance issues.

Further update

Microsoft has posted some official workarounds. See here for comment and link

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Related posts:

  1. Why Outlook 2007 is slow: Microsoft’s official answer
  2. Slow Outlook 2007: the comments keep coming
  3. The mystery of the slow Exchange 2007: when hard-coded values come back to haunt you
  4. Outlook HTML is better broken and safe, than rich and dangerous
  5. Hi, got a Dell? Outlook slow? Let me fix it

196 comments to Outlook 2007 is slow, RSS broken

  • Running Office 2007 Enterprise RTM on a top of the line Toshiba Portege M400, 2GB of RAM, 2Ghz Dual Core Centrino, etc. Generally, this machine is top of the line in laptop terms.

    Windows Desktop Search is definitely part of the slowdown, which is a real shame as the Outlook search function works really well when you’re looking for something. However, even with the email searching/indexing functionality turned off, Outlook is painfully slow doing a send/receive, appears to hang when rendering previews and generally takes forever to do common functions!

    So far I’ve been impressed with Word and to a lesser extent Excel (haven’t really used it yet), but WTF happened with Outlook 2007! They didn’t even fit it in with the main Office application UI design philosophy.

    Got to total agree with the RSS feature – wot a waste of time. What were they thinking of?

    The first service pack will be here very soon me thinks!

    I’m just glad to find other people who are having similar, and in some case worse problems than me.

    Pain and aggro is our reward for being early adoptors!

  • Only last night I remove Office 2007, and am now back in Office 2003! I love using Outlook period, but damn, Outlook 2007 is way too slow.

    Like John said, am glad am not the only one…

    So, I suppose we’re all waiting for a SP…

  • Ed T

    I’ve found that OL 2007 was hopelessly slow for about 2 days, and suddenly has picked up and is running faster than OL 2003 was before on the same high spec (4GB ram, 2.4GHz dual core) PC. Presumably there is some sort of indexing going on that took 2 days to work through my 1GB mailbox…

  • Tim

    Ed,

    > I’ve found that OL 2007 was hopelessly slow for about 2 days,
    > and suddenly has picked up and is running faster than OL 2003

    Indexing is a factor, but I still find it much slower than OL2003 even after finishing indexing and running on Vista (which is faster than XP).

    So I guess it varies.

    Tim

  • I’ve read so much about this, this past week. So, last night, I uninstalled Office 2003, and the installed Office 2007, again (before I did an upgrade)…

    So far, it’s working a lot better than it did the first time. My PST file size is 1.5GB. Opening HTML emails still takes about 3-5 seconds, but I think I can live with that. Before it was taking at least over a 30-40 seconds…

  • Are you sure you don’t just need more RAM? It can be amazingly frustrating to upgrade software and discover you machine is unusable until you add RAM.

    The 2003 version sometimes took up to 20 minutes if I’d been gone for a month. I discovered that the best thing to do was use Outlook Web Access until the end of the day, and then start Outlook as I was leaving for the day.

  • Tim

    > Are you sure you don’t just need more RAM?

    I have 3GB RAM and have problems.

    Tim

  • Turning off all RSS feeds completely and de-installing WDS 3.0 seems to help somewhat. Outlook 2007 is at least usable with those gone, but still slower than Outlook 2003.

    Hopefully Microsoft will do the right thing and fix this on Windows XP. I’m worried they will improve things on Vista but leave everyone trying to stay on XP — at least until things like itunes and other software start to work on Vista — stuck in slowsville.

  • Jamesd

    Hi,
    Just installed Outlok 2007 on a new Sony Vaio (2Gb RAM). Mailbox for the user is 4Gb and it runs like a dog. Outlook 2003 is fine and ran fine but what is the story here, any work arounds anyone?

  • Guys,

    In Lookout 2007, try turning on Enable Logging (Troubleshooting) in Tools/Options/Other/Advanced Options and take a look at the POP3 logging. (Temp folder should contain log). See all those “AUTH ” commands. 🙂 What a joke – most POP3 servers do not understand “AUTH”. OL 2003 does not send AUTH, it correctly sends “USER” as first command. Anyway thats just part of the OL2007 fiasco. The UI sure locks up during send/rec and other operations. Forget the size of your PST. Go back to OL 2003 until MS fix OL 2007.

    Ring0
    ———-
    KeBugCheck(42);

  • I’m using OL2007 on Vista, was using it on XP briefly. I’ve got my mail split between two .PST files — a regular one and an archive which holds everything more than 3 months old. After some issues with the indexer (I had to disable it for Outlook, then turn it back on again), it now runs like a charm. The archive PSTs are indexed, so I don’t have trouble finding stuff in about 800MB worth of mail spread across both PSTs.

    Creating a new mail profile and migrating to a fresh PST also seems to help.

  • George

    i’ve finally done it. Enough is enough. Outlook 2003 is the best. It’s just a simple uninstall, and re-install of office 03, and all the email accounts were kept. I am now completely satisfied. sorry OL2007, not for me.

  • Chris Schmauch

    Has anyone tried turning the junk email filter OFF? I didn’t see anyone mention this as a possible slowdown during send/receive…but it seems kinda obvious.

    I turned mine off since I use 3rd party junk-filtering anyways, just to see if it would speed things up…and, well, there you go.

    Hope this helps some of you…

  • Simon Harris

    I have Outlook 2007 on a new Vista (dual boot) installation and it’s so slow that I am thinking of going back to 2003 (until MS fix things) – I do have a question though, prior to installing office 2007 I only had Word 2003 on the new Vista installation, not outlook 2003 – so how do I do a downgrade from outlook 2007 to outlook 2003 whilst keeping all my email account settings ect? Should I uninstall first or just insert the Office 2003 CD? Thanks! Simon

  • Sam

    I spent 2 hours with Dell Tier 3 support and have fixed the problem. You need to open outlook as an administrator (by right clicking on the exe file in the Office 12 folder). Then, go to tools/trust center/addins. then click on “go…” at the bottom. I would uncheck outlookaddins. That solved all of my problems! To be extra safe, and to maximize speed, I unchecked everything except indexing (which is the only useful one). That solved my problems. Good luck to everyone!!

  • Phil

    This really is unbelievable. The hanging happened to me on Enterprise Office Outlook 2007 on ‘clean’ Vista Business.
    How can anyone run their business with no email service like this.
    After reading the posts, I uninstalled OL2007, installed OL2003 – same problem, yet my XP machine on the network with OL2003 downloads it all fine in seconds.

    Ok, so I then formatted, reinstalled Vista, updated, installed Office 2007 wth a branD new clean pst, set up one of my email accounts and – IT STILL HUNG!!!!

    I recommend and build PC’s for small businesses, have two to do next week both wanting Vista & Office 2007 and I will talk them out of it. How can Microsoft allow this to go live with so many people complaining about the hanging on send/receive.

    CAn we have some hope from an official at Microsoft who can tell us this is being hotly looked in to?

    Regards
    Phil

  • Simon Harris

    Sam’s fix speeds up the mail checking slightly for me but it still dosen’t solve the issue of general slowness with the program and that during a send and receive everything else hangs. It seems that this version of outlook simply can’t multitask? Also it is taking forever to display the graphics on HTML emails, this was all instantanious with outlook 2003

  • Phil

    SOLUTION FOR HANGING SEND/RECEIVE

    Folowing my earlier post, our wholesale hosts who are Microsoft Gold Partners solved the solution for me

  • Phil

    SOLUTION FOR HANGING SEND/RECEIVE

    Folowing my earlier post, our wholesale hosts Netcetera http://www.netcetera.co.uk who are Microsoft Gold Partners solved the problem for me ON A SUNDAY!!

    This code in the procedure below cured it immediately:

    Go to programs, accessories then right click command line and select run as administrator.

    At the prompt type

    netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=disable

    I cannot thank them enough, with over 60 websites we run, they have provided first class support for over 4 years – and this was a gem.

    Regards
    Phil

  • George

    Phil
    I have a feeling that the same script may not do much for WinXP users of outlook 2007.

    Simon Harris>
    You have to uninstall OL2007 and then install OL2003. Hopefully your Profile should have stayed around with your account settings. Just to make sure, you may want to backup your outlook profile settings in:

    HKEY_USERS\S-……..\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\Outlook\

    (it might be easiest to search for the Profiles key)

  • Phil

    Hi George
    The fix is for Vista only.
    I have received many posts where I have placed this on other forums, all saying the command is not recognised by XP – this is a shame.
    Perhaps some clever techie can work out what it does and produce a similar line for XP.

    Regards
    Phil

  • Got to completely agree with the previous commenter:

    “In Lookout 2007, try turning on Enable Logging (Troubleshooting) in Tools/Options/Other/Advanced Options and take a look at the POP3 logging. (Temp folder should contain log). See all those “AUTH ” commands. What a joke – most POP3 servers do not understand “AUTH”. OL 2003 does not send AUTH, it correctly sends “USER” as first command. Anyway thats just part of the OL2007 fiasco. The UI sure locks up during send/rec and other operations. Forget the size of your PST. Go back to OL 2003 until MS fix OL 2007.”

    I’ve checked and also have the AUTH errors being generated. I wonder what the RFCs say in relation to this?!?

  • >>>I’ve checked and also have the AUTH errors being generated. I wonder what the RFCs say in relation to this?!?

    I’ve check and there is an RFC that says the AUTH command is legitimate and the err response is acceptable.

    Although undesirable to have errors, it isn’t this that is causing POP email to be so so bad!

  • Matt

    I too am having the same issues running on XP with high performance laptops or desktops with 2GB of RAM. Three of four users that we have installed 2007 have large mailboxes. Reducing these is not an option. The fouth user is a new employee and therefore his mailbox is very small.

    I too can’t believe the product was released in this condition. We really like the improvements of 2007 but the slowness is killing us.

    Is anyone running Outlook 2003 with the rest of the apps being 2007?

  • Niek

    I believe it Outlook 2007 my problem is caused due to a large ost file because of a large mailbox. I am unable to deselect folders that I do not need offline; I might be able to filter but not deselect totally.
    I ran outlook in non cached mode without any problems.

  • Whit

    Outlook 2007 fix –
    On a new Dell 640m with Vista I had a problem with delayed response in all aspects of Outlook 2007 and no other program. Every 10 seconds or so the program would be unresponsive for a second or two and then resume. It affected everything – composing emails, scrolling, clicking, etc.

    I called Dell for a fix. It involved uninstalling the program Outlook Addins Setup (Cyberlink). Outlook worked perfectly immediately after removing that program.

    Hopes this helps anyone with this particular problem.

  • jttaynton

    I’ve been having the slow send/receive issue with OL2007 and XP now for a few days. I’ve been searching for an XP solution to no avail. It seems to be a case by case basis since some people are having no issues and others are.

    I must say it is becoming increasingly frustrating to have my whole system hiccup for 10 seconds at times at the end of send/receives.

    I’ve turned off windows search/indexing, turned off add-ins, separated and compacted my PST files, and made sure my HD was nice and defragmented. What a pain.

  • Checkout my blog entry for some fixes.

    My own copy of Outlook has dramtically improved by following the renaming of certain Outlook files that have become corrupt during the upgrade from Outlook 2003 to 2007.

    Here ya go:
    http://www.roundtripsolutions.com/blog/2007/02/19/208/problem-with-outlook-2007-email-receive-is-broken/

  • Bruno

    Hi everybody!
    Guys, I really tried everything and followed ALL your advices on this blog but… no success. My S/R is now a bit faster but compared to OL 2003, it’s a snail. And it still prevents the other applications to respond correctly while in S/R process.
    I’m really thinking about downgrading to 2003.
    Does somebody know what to do to keep my accounts (24!).
    Thanks!

    Dan

  • Hello Dan,

    Sorry to hear you are still have trouble.

    What happens if you run Outlook in safe mode?

    Start -> Run -> outlook /safe

    Regards

    John
    Roundtrip Solutions

  • Hello Again Dan,

    I take it that you upgraded from 2003 to 2007?

    What size are your PST files?

    So you’ve tried the creating a new mail profile?

    Can you go into the Send/Receive settings and set-up a new group that only checks one or two email accounts and see what performance is like then. Ensure you disable the default send/receive group. We want to see how it performs if you are only checking

    As long as you didn’t upgrade any PST files to the Outlook 2007 format then you should be able to uninstall Office 2007 and reinstall 2003. I don’t recall anyone saying it was a nightmare to do the downgrade. You could ask on the Microsoft Outlook public discussion group.

    As I said, give Outlook a go in safe mode and see if it behaves any better.

    Regards

    John
    Roundtrip Solutions

  • I should have also said that Microsoft UK are going to be looking at my blog posting. If you’re experience problems and the standard fixes aren’t working then feel free to pass comment on my blog. It will catch their eye and we can work on getting your set-up working.

    Should also have stated that creating a new profile will end up being a nightmare for Dan as he imports or recreates all those email accounts. I thought 6 was bad! 24 – really? 🙂

  • jttaynton

    I have also tried the 3-4 fixes floating around the internet and still have the same issues. It is absolutely ridiculous to have my whole system stutter for 5-10 seconds at the end of each send/receive and takes far too long to download even small groups of emails.

    I am giving it a couple more days to find a real solution before going through the hassle of going back to 2003. What a waste of time.

    btw – my main mail file is around 1.9 gig … it was originally over 3 but I moved things into other pst files and compacted.

  • Bruno

    Hi again,

    To give you some details: I did not UPGRADE from 2003 to 2007. I installed everything from scratch on a brand new Centrino Duo. But I retrieved my 2003 PST (1.5 GB) and saved it in the new 2007 OL format.
    Another thing is that I temporarily deleted my PST and started to work with one single account on the new and EMPTY PST. OK, it loads faster at startup but it takes up to 30 seconds to download my e-mail from just one account.
    Cheers

    Dan

  • Bruno

    And… (sorry)
    Yes I ran Outlook in /safe mode. Humm, it seems to take even more time than before.

    Dan

  • Tim

    > OK, it loads faster at startup but it takes up to 30 seconds
    > to download my e-mail from just one account.

    It does seem that there are several distinct problems with Outlook 2007. There is the issue we know about, which is that large personal stores which worked fine in Outlook 2003 choke the new software. But there seems to be a separate issue with POP3 mail collection, for which we have not yet nailed down the cause. If it is specific to certain POP3 servers it could still be related to the AUTH issue I guess.

    Tim

  • We need to get people to enable logging and report their results to a send/receive cycle. This will show if the AUTH problem is choking Outlook.

    I’ve got the ear of senior UK managers at Microsoft so the more info we can get to them the better the chances it will be fixed super fast.

  • While writing up my blog entry it occurred to me all the steps I’d taken on the road to getting Outlook working successfully. So to summarise elsewhere:
    – Created a new mail profile
    – Recreated the account settings
    – Imported old PST
    – Created new PSTs (x5) and sorted email from the main PST into those
    – Compacted the main PST
    – Removed the old profile
    – Disabled plugins
    – Turned off various options
    – Renamed the Outlook configuration files outlined above

    Large PST files are a killer by the looks of it. I found anything above 600MB could be troublesome. This is a real pain as I had to create and sort messages into multiple PST files.

    For people that are having problems with small PST files then we need you to do the logging step and report your logs. Details on my blog entry on how to do this.

    We’ve got to start somewhere!

    Regards

    John

    p.s. Sorry Tim, managed to screw up my close tags. Please delete the previous comment.

  • Ming

    I’ve the exact same problem before with extremely slow running Outlook 2007. My pst file is less than 100 MB.

    Today, I updated the Windows Desktop Search to 3.0, and suddenly Outlook 2007 is running at normal speed again.

  • Microsoft have appointed a new Outlook marketing spokesman.

    See him HERE.

    Enjoy :-D.

  • Windows Desktop Search got the uninstall a long time ago! It was appearing to slow down things too much on Windows XP.

    That is another thing to check for all those people with problems.

  • Another thing struck me today!

    Are people using Business Contact Manager?

    This is something we didn’t install as the previous version wasn’t without its problems!!!

  • Ming wrote:
    “I’ve the exact same problem before with extremely slow running Outlook 2007. My pst file is less than 100 MB.

    Today, I updated the Windows Desktop Search to 3.0, and suddenly Outlook 2007 is running at normal speed again.”

    Windows Desktop Search 3 is the only version that will work properly with Outlook 2007. Previous version will cause all kinds of problems!

    Download Windows Desktop Search 3 here

  • bruno

    Hey Guys!

    Don’t lose the focus here! Several cases happen on brand new (and powerful) machines, with fresh installations of Office 2007 (no upgrades) and small PST files. Even in these ideal conditions, we still don’t reach 10% of the performances we had in OL 2003. Speaking about “Windows Destop Search”, “Business Contact Manager” or any other MS add-in or Complement is a mistake. They may have a bad influence on performances… as long as they are installed. And for some of us, it is not the case.

    So, let’s go back to the beginning!

    – The performance of the machine is not the main cause (I have a Centrino Dual Core 2 GHz with 1 GB of RAM).
    – The upgrade process is not the main cause (I have a fresh installation).
    – The add-ons or Office Complement are not the main cause (I have none).
    – The PST size is not the main cause (I created a new empty PST with a single mail account. It lasts for ages to get my mail).

    So what? After two weeks looking for a solution, I simply believe that Outlook 2007 (and the whole Office 2007 Suite by the way) is far from being ready. With my new installation, which is 50% more powerful than the previous one, I’ve lost (in average) 50% of the performances I had before. Office documents take sometimes up to 30 seconds to open when I double click on them, I have much more application crashes, I ruin my eyes with the new ClearTyped fonts and I loose hours reading and writing desperate messages in forums.

    At least, I found a new name for Microsoft Office 2007: “Microsoft Office Gotcha!”. But I’m still not sure if they could be interested…

    I’m downgrading to 2003.

    Cheers

    Bruno

  • jttaynton

    I am going to downgrade as well. The performance of Outlook 2007 is RIDICULOUS. I’ve lost so much productivity over the last week – not only because of Outlook being ridiculously slow but taking time try to fix it and search for solutions. It is obvious from searching the net these problems existed in the BETA but were not fully addressed prior to launching to the world. That is completely unacceptable.

    I have never actually had to downgrade Office. Can someone fill me in on what steps need to be taken?

  • Clint

    Hello all,

    After having read everything here, here is what I figured out, at least with my setup.

    I have experienced similar slowness with poor add-ins that I didnt know were being installed in Outlook 2003. That being said, here is my experience.

    Current Machine: Dell Inspiron 6400, 2.0 gHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, 160 GB HDD, XP SP2, Office 2003; 30 Days old.

    New Machine: Same Setup (exactly), Vista Business, Office 2007 Enterprise.

    I had experienced similar slowness with my 2GB pst file, in RPC over HTTP Exchange Mode. Almost unsuable. Since I had a similar feel of slowness in 2003 with a poor spam filter addin, I tried disabling them. Several would not allow me to disable, until I went to the Outlook program executable properties (As outlined above) and had it run as administrator all the time.

    Since then, I disabled several addins that I will probably not use. Indexing is still intact, and my outlook now performs exactly as it should.

  • Clint

    Update: I have one by one re-enabled the addins, with the exception of One Note, and the cyberlink Media Direct plugins, and have 0 problems.

    I also uninstalled BCM, and had an additional performance upgrade.

  • John

    we should move to star office. Office 2007 is an insult. It is so slow, we had to remove it and will never install it again.
    shame on microsoft , they are just the worst company with incompetent programmers

  • Like most applications wait until the service pack before making any damning decisions.

  • Rodrigo

    I just got a new Dell laptop, 2GB Ram, Centrion Duo 1.6GHZ with Vista Business and Office 2007 pre-installed.

    I’ve had the same general slowness, although not the POP issue. I tried taking my .pst from 800 MB to 250 MB through archiving but it didn’t help.

    Uninstalling the “Cyberlink Outlook Addin” that Dell installed worked though! I uninstalled through Control Panel. Now Outlook is pretty much like 2003, certainly it’s useable now unlike the first week of misery…

    It looks like there are a variety of issues affecting Outlook 2007 but for me removing the Dell/Cyberlink addin did the trick.