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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196 comments to Outlook 2007 is slow, RSS broken

  • hiall

    Hi. I got this error only after upgrading to Office 2007. I can not send any external mails. It says you do not have the permission to send the mail. I checked the permissions and all seems fine. I uninstalled outlook 2007 and installed outlook 2003 and everything is fine. This has baffled me a lot. We have an exchange server and plan to deploy outlook 2007 throughout our organisation. But after me getting this error, we put the delpoy on hold. Can anyone suggest any solutions?

    Thanks.

  • Al

    Hi there
    I’ve just installed windows vista home premium and then installed Microsoft Office 2003 Professional to find that when I open MS Outlook select tools I no longer have the option to set up rules and alerts. Anyone know why?
    Many thanks

  • Al

    My appologies for posting under outlook 2007 is slow.

  • Tim

    My appologies for posting under outlook 2007 is slow.

    That’s OK :-) This probably isn’t the best place to get an answer though. I suggest the Outlook newsgroup/official Microsoft forum.

    Tim

  • Colin..non geek

    Found the answer by accident..dont all send money at once ..its simple….got to
    Outlook…option…other….advanced….coms add ons…..cancel
    itunes and Norton..whizzo…back to normal..whoppeeee..Colin W

  • Rob

    Outlook 2007 has aggrevated me soooo much that I now use IMAP with Thunderbird to get my email. My anger with M$ over Vista and Office has pushed me to the other side. I purchased a MacBook last week, and I run Thunderbird and OpenOffice. Parallels for OSX runs Outlook 2007 equally fast as it would in Boot Camp. If you’re in the market for a new PC, get a Mac with Bootcamp / Parallels. If you’re an MSDN subscriber like me, the copy of XP or Vista is “free”, and you can run all the VM’s you want of this piece of crap OS. You can build one separate one, solely for Outlook 07 :)

  • I have a small software development company with a couple of employees. We have a number of clients and MANY Outlook folders to sort out engagements. I’m running a new 3GHz Core Duo with 4GB RAM and fast disk running XPpro SP2, connected to our POP3/SMTP-based MDaemon mail server. PST file runs between 1 and 2 GB. I move folders regularly to another mounted archive PST. I loved when Outlook expanded PST sizes to 20GB, but it’s kind of pointless now, as performance is really awful, as everyone has said, particularly during send and receive. It’s inconceivable that anything could bring a loaded dual-core CPU to its knees like this.

    With due respect to Todd, it’s just not practical to keep our PSTs down to 100MB. The whole point of my Outlook folders is to maintain a history of client communications. If I have to chop up folders every couple of weeks, I’d bet better off just find another email client.

  • James Printer

    I found that an upgraded Office 2003 to Office 2007 was painfully slow, but a fresh install on fresh Windows XP is refreshingly fast, even on an EFS file system.

  • CBryan

    I have no idea why Microsoft has not publicized this. It has proven the most ridiculously effectively cure imaginable. All you have to do is open Outlook 2007, click the ‘tools’ tab/ trust center/ add-ins/ “go” (at the very bottom)/ and uncheck ‘outlookaddin.’ That’s it! Hope this helps.

    That worked for me, LiamK! Sped it right up and solved the type-lag problem instantly. Thanks!

  • Oraclesmarts

    One other thing you can try which may help in certain circumstances is to run SCANPST from within windows against your Outlook data files to repair any data corruption (be sure to close Outlook first). SCANPST is found at PROGRAM FILES\MICROSOFT OFFICE\OFFICE12.

    Unfortunately for me, none of the solutions have solved the intermittent slow email downloads. It checks mail quick like a bunny about a third of the time and the rest of the time hangs at receiving email for a couple of minutes (even if there is no email to receive). It does this even with a minimal size compacted pst file. The sad thing is, it ran great for the first couple of months under Vista.

  • robstuart

    This blog helped me. I migrated to Outlook 2007 from 2003 and it was UNUSABLY SLOW.

    The solution, in the end, was simple. My configuration has 4 PST files loaded (data split by year), and each of these is over 500MB. Because of the history these were in Outlook 97-2002 format.

    I imported each one in turn into a new file in new Outlook format and suddenly Outlook ran really fast.

    The mistake I made — hope this tip helps – was not exporting rules before building the new files. It is easier to export any rules and then import them when the new default file is built.
    Hope it helps someone.

  • patty

    Thread #114 worked for me (Thanks, Martin!)

    I have XP. My problem started with Outlook 2003, so I fresh-installed 2007 and had the same hangs at send/receive — CPU would run at 100% and I’d need to reboot each time.

    I worked with Research at Microsoft for many hours over 6 weeks. We did everything in this blog except what Martin suggested — go to run – msconfig – in the services and startups tabs show only non-microsoft stuff, disable them all, then one by one enable each.

    My culprit was Guardian Monitor, which records key strokes. I didn’t even have to uninstall Guardian Monitor — I just put its disc in and overrode the current installation.

    Whew!

  • u2bix

    PROBLEM:
    Windows XP, SP2, with MS Outlook freezing for minutes after mail open, send/receive, or mostly any action. Process offlb.exe running in the background. Impossible to work.

    REASON:
    The archive file is too large. My archive.pst was about 1.8GB.

    SOLUTION:
    Quit MS Outlook, rename archive.pst to archive_somedate.pst, restart Outlook and let it create a new archive file. Since then, all back to normal.

    I hope this works for some of you too.

  • Pitoe

    I had the problem of Outlook 2007 hanging when receiving e-mail from an Exchange server. I tried to repair first, reinstall after, upgrade from Outlook 2003… nothing. It still hanged up. Then I realised that the problem started when I reinstalled McAfee… Uninstalling McAfee Antivirus solved the problem of hanging up… Now I must wait and see if this do last… Or if it hangs again…

  • Darryl

    I am so angry I could scream – I am using MS Outlook 2007 on WinXP SP2 and have been for the past couple of months. I now have a problem (which appears to be very common across both Vista & XP) where I am totally unable to send / forward emails without experiencing a “hang” – at the time of the hang Outlook uses between 95 & 100% of my CPU and just sits there forever. I have tried creating a new profile (both Windows & Outlook), starting with a brand new PST – reinstalling office entirely – going to the office update site and updating everything – removing all these updates – tried changing ……..I now give up. If there is anyone out there who has found away to fix this problem please please please help.
    I am forced to find a copy of 2003 and install this and crack it

  • Mike

    I found a solution that worked for me. I was getting a very long delay opening e-mail messages with Outlook 2007. I have very large .pst files. I removed the Add-In “OneNote Notes about Outlook Items.” STEPS: Tools/Trust Center/Add-ins. Near bottom selected Go to manage COM Add-ins. Unchecked the box for “OneNote Notes about Outlook Items” and pressed OK. I am not sure that it was necessary but I restarted my machine. When I came back in everything was very quick after the initial opening load of Outlook. Hope this helps some of you…

  • Patty

    I responded before (thread #162), but I now realize I should have been clearer on the process that worked for me. I tried all of the exact same remedies as Darryl (thread #165), plus I increased RAM, rid all programs of add-ins, ran scanpst, exported my data to another computer and renamed it, went to CastleCops to clean out my startup menu, uninstalled all but a few programs, and still had the same hang.

    Try this: Start – run – type msconfig – in the startup tab, write down everything with a checkmark, and then uncheck them – click apply – click ok – click exit without restart – then again – Start – run – type msconfig – in the services tab check “hide all microsoft services” – again write down everything with a check mark, then uncheck them, click apply, then ok, then restart the computer. Upon restart, if your Outlook works fine with no hangs, you know it was one of those entries. One by one, recheck the boxes you had unchecked and restart after each. I think you will be able to find your culprit that way. I really do.

  • jouni

    Outlook 2007 on my Dell laptop, which is running Vista, kept on hanging many times a day, usually at a point where I closed an email reading window or when I finished writing a new email and clicked the send button. I looked for a solution on the web but none of the suggestions I found helped with the hanging problem (but some of the solutions suggested here made Outlook significantly faster, although not super fast – thanks folks!). Finally, about 2 weeks ago, I decided to try disabling the preinstalled McAfee antivirus Outlook add-in (Select “Trust Center” fron the Outlook “Tools” menu, select “Add-ins”, make sure that the “Manage:” drop down list has “Com Add-ins”, click “Go”, disable “McAfee Outlook Add-in” and click “OK”). Outlook has been stable ever since. Now I just have remember to scan any email attachments manually. Nice work McAfee – not!

  • I had trouble disabling some add ins by unchecking the boxes, or selecting the Remove button (I received a message box saying it could not be done).

    I recalled using a very useful tool when on XP and Outlook 2003 and decided to see if it worked on Vista Ultimate with Office 2007 – it does:

    OfficeIns v1.03 – Office Add-ins Manager

    This tool does not require installation (it runs when you click on the icon), and makes fiddling with Office Add Ins very easy.

    Go here:

    http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/officeins.html

  • Rufo

    Outlook 2007 was also extremely slow for me- moreso when opening an email. What worked for me was – Tools|Trust Centre|Attachment Handling – Check the box to “Turn Off Attachment Preview”. This sped up opening of emails.

    I am however still having a slow response when opening an Office 2007 attachment. Troubleshooting that right now.

  • I confirm this to.
    Outlook 2007 on Windows XP with Exchange server is terrebly slow. Often no longer responding an dusing 100%CPU, killing only the offlb.exe process often gets the cpu back to normal. I also have a big OST file (1.9GB).
    Creating a new profile does not help. I now turned of encryption between outlook and EXCHSRVR, that should help a bit.
    I believe that since I installed Office 2007 my computers boots very slowly, I already came back from 10 minutes to 4, but that is still slower than normal. I also have a lot of out of system resources errors in others applications while having outlook open. Seems that Outlook uses u huge amount of handles (between 7000 and 8000 of them).
    I do have multiple mailboxes open in Outlook (I believe 6 or so).
    On same computer I have a dual boot with vista and Outlook 2007 with sames mailboxes. Don’t have these kind of problems on Vista. Looks like a Sales pitch to me to sell more Vista :-(

    Vista and Office 2007 are probably the worst version I have ever seen on the level of stability and performance.
    I do find that from the user point of view they listened very well to customers suggestions and developped Vista and Outlook with that in mind.

  • OL 2007 is horrible. It’s very very slow – particularly when starting up. Almost none of the new features improves the experience. I’m so dissapointed with Microsoft. Again.

    I gues I use 15-20 minutes each day waiting for OL to start, to react to my actions or restarting it just to get it moving.

  • Well it’s been over a year now and OL2007 still brings a system (even high end) to a complete halt while doing a recieve. A few things seem to make it a bit better, but even with indexing turned off it still hangs for long seconds. With indexing and other add-ins turned off OL2007 does nothing that OL2003 did not do. You would think MS would have commented by now with plans for a fix. Anybody heard anything? Instead they seem strangely quiet. The interesting thing is this leaves me totally dissatisfied with office2007, Vista and my new fancy laptop. So corporately we have stopped buying new hardware and will not install Vista, or office on anything. Only benefit is we have saved lots of $’s, but our harware software replacement cycle is completely out of wack. GOt to be a fix comign somewhere.

  • GenetiX

    Even after installing Office 2007 SP1, the slow send/receive still isn’t fixed.

    Outlook seems to hang when receiving certain e-mails. Most of these e-mails are hmtl based. Sometimes, when I delete such an blocking e-mail trough my webmail send receive goes smooth after that.

    It just seems Outlook can’t handle (complex) html e-mail, such as news letters etc.

  • sherry smith

    Same here… I have done all the ‘cures’ listed here, wasted hours upon hours and Outlook 2007 still locks up. The only unique thing to add is that in addition to dog slow POP3 send/receive, I have to force a receive first or I get, “Relaying denied. IP name lookup failed” errors. (I assume that has to do with the “AUTH” commands issue.)

    I’m out of patience and no OL2003 for me, forget it. Gmail anyone? Too bad I have to take a vacation to switch (6 email accounts and important archives).

  • I tried everything on here and finally found the issue, not listed here. I have a new Dell desktop PC with Office 2007 and Vista business. Loads of issues (read my blog at http://www.thefinanser.com and this entry http://www.thefinanser.co.uk/2008/02/finally-solved.html on this issue), and found the answer was to uninstall Business Contacts Manager. PC works great.

  • I do not have Vista but I did make the mistake of investing in Office/Outlook 2007. Have gone through my free 90-days with no charge help (made approximately 20 help calls/6-7 separate case numbers). To this day I have to start Outlook by itself (usually 2 t0 3 times before it works) and as soon as I open a browser, forget it – - OUTLOOK LOCKS UP. I can’t make myself pay to have Microsoft help me fix something that has never worked. All I can do is get an Apple computer ASAP.

  • Jerad J

    After struggling with Outlook 2007 and Vista in a Server 2003 environment, I burned one of my Microsoft Partner cases on this one. They had me run the following command and it instantly speed up my Outlook and Public Folders…my cost is your gain, run the following with administrative priveledge:

    netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=normal
    (same as above) with autotuninglevel=disable

    Hope this helps!

  • Dave

    Experiment ongoing: didn’t have the add-ons, and no antivirus yet (new build on a new machine). I tried to uninstall SP1, but it was not listed in Add/Remove Programs. So I removed Office 2007 entirely, reinstalled, and w/o SP1 the new profile snapped open immediately and everything worked.

    After re-install, then followed-up with SP1 – and it seems to be working.
    Hope this helps someone.

  • CW

    Same here we’ve had serious issues rolling out Office 2007 even with SP1. Outlook 2007 SP1 freezes for several seconds routinely when trying to compose emails or work through your email account.

    I’m not an M$ hater as someone earlier blindly put on this thread. However it does seems a pretty consistent problem with much of the current generation of Microsoft products that seem to stem from them losing touch and not listening to their customers needs. Surely someone at Microsoft must have evaluated and noted the serious performance issues with Office 2007. But what the hell we’ve reached the end of our allocated product development cycle so let’s get it out of the door.

    In addition the interface and functionality of MS software now seems to be entirely based around what MS decides is best for customers which results in often established and succesful methods being discarded for something new. Vista’s useless search facility that only searches for items Microsoft have decided you want to search for by default is a typical example.

    I guess product differentation is ultimately more import to MS than meeting customers needs. After all how many times can you repackage a word processor or email suite?

    We’ve reached the point where we are seriously considering switching to a Linux platform rather than paying for Microsoft’s ever more expensive license model that just seems to deliver defective software.

    The WOW starts now!

  • Richard

    The answer given in post 178 is correct for Vista / Outlook 2007 combo, which is great – however, this does not work for XP, as XP does not recognise the command. Anyone know what the equivalent command for XP is please?

  • tim

    Anyone know what the equivalent command for XP is please?

    I don’t think there is one, since that exact problem probably doesn’t exist on XP. There are multiple reasons why Outlook 2007 is slow.

    Tim

  • John

    HI,
    Got the problem when Outlook takes a long time to send/recieve and also will only open one email at a time.

    I have a vista business machine (Dual core 2GB) running a clean install of OFfice 2007. WHen I login under my own account it works OK. When I login under another user, it exhibits the behaviour above. I’ve tried the TCP fix and disabling add-ins. There is now Dell Program as previously mentioned (though it’s a Dell PC).

    I have lost faith with Office 2007. Can someone in Microsoft fix this?

  • Here’s a workaround which is *amazingly* effective for me. When Outlook 2007 on Vista freezes up when trying to save a contact or an appointment or send an email, go to the icon in the bottom right corner of the taskbar and right click. Select “Cancel Server Request.” Works perfectly!

  • Nathan

    Outlook has always been slow. It takes up massive amounts of computer memory. the only G*d Damn reason I keep this thing is because it syncs up to my phone…

    I can easily change my mail software to Mozilla’s (the maker of FireFox) Thunderbird, but I can’t change how my phone syncs up with my contacts.

  • Sorely disappointed with OL 2007. I use IMAP and specifically bought the new version of Outlook to replace Outlook 2003, because I was looking for improved IMAP performance. Outlook 2007 on my XP system is dead slow to start, then gets to 81% of my (4 Gig) IMAP folders and… dies. Gad, Thunderbird is even more useless for IMAP – what am I gonna do? But, for sure, this is just one more nail in the coffin for MS on my machines; I’m running a business, no bloatware cemetery.

  • avk

    i got a huge performance improvement after using contig -v -s %userdir%/local settings/application data/Microsoft/outlook

    My 2gb OST file was in 1500+ fragments before. Contig managed to assemble it to 5 fragments and now OL2007 is tolerable.

  • Benjamin C.

    OMG -I have been dying from this issue. I looked for a solution for three weeks, and tried everything and then today I found it!

    This only applies for outlook 2007 using a pop 3 to download mail. Go to Tools>Trust Center> Addins> Manage>Go, and deselect all the add ins in all three drop downs including Exchange Client Extensions” Once this is done restart outlook. I dont remember it being this fast, next, reenable one add in at a time,(only the ones you need).

    BTW – logging into safe mode might not tell you this will work since safe mode enables the exchange client extensions.

    I also found the following URLS helpful
    <a href = “http://www.roundtripsolutions.com/blog/2007/02/19/208/problem-with-outlook-2007-email-receive-is-broken/”

    <a href = “http://www.slipstick.net/outlook/ol2007/slow.htm#more” >

    Hope this helps

  • Your web page does not correctly work in safari browser

  • Tim Anderson

    @Sireuniogeose

    Can you be more specific? On Mac or Windows? What looks wrong?

    Tim

  • My Outlook 2007 started to duplicate incoming mails.

    My ISP suggested removing my e-mail account from Outlook 2007, which I did.

    Whilst I stopped receiving duplicates, I still received e-mails addressed to the account I had removed!!! And, with this account now “non-existent” in Outlook 2007 I didn’t even have the convenience of even being able to reply to my “ghost mail” in Outlook 2007 – so still had to transfer over to my ISP account.

    So I entered my e-mail account back into Outlook 2007, and now I am back to receiving duplicate mails!

    How can I remove the “ghost” account and leave just my own???

    Thanks if you can help!

  • joel

    My problem with outlook 2007 is different from those stated above…works great in every way except when I attach a file to an email. I can go to the directory where my attachment is located, but when I choose a sub-folder from that directory, the computer hangs for at least a full minute. I have a fast laptop running XP PRO SP3

  • Kristen

    My Outlook 2007 spins up my external hard drive everytime i click on a message. It seems as though Outlook is trying to access my external Hard Drive, but i have NO .pst nor .ost files on my external HD, i only have Pictures, .jpg, .gif, etc. etc.

    Why would Outlook need to access my external HD?

    Outlook 2003 is a better product in every sense.

  • Anoop

    Hi, I have read most of this thread. Essentially I am operating XP with Outlook 2003. My pop3 account works great, no hangs, crashes or moments of “hold on while I think about this”. However I have my AOL configured too which of course is IMAP. This forever gives long hangs, delays at times crashes. Simply put I get very frustrated at the time it takes to even view an email in the reading pane let alone switch to the next email.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated – is this incurable?

  • Barry McKawkiner

    It has been over a year since the last post, but this website ranks near the top in Google search for “ms outlook 2007 switching folders slow.” Anyway, I have no solutions; but MS Outlook 07 runs f*cking slow. Any suggestion for alternative email clients that can handle large PSTs?

  • Ethvan

    @Barry McKawkiner
    There are quite a lot of other email clients (just read the article on wikipedia ;) but I don’t know if they are able to handle large PST-Files. Some people say the best way is to reduce the size of your PST-Files, 10 PST-Files with 1GB each is better than one huge 10GB-PST-File. It is also said that the instant search of Outlook is faster with small PST-Files (no idea if this is true, I am using lookeen which can also handle huge PST-Files) but as I never had problems with large PST-Files there might be another problem?