Scott Hanselman

Speeding up a Slow Outlook 2007

April 15, '07 Comments [10] Posted in Tools
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Outlook 2007 has been pretty slow for me since I installed it. If you've got RSS Feeds Enabled and/or if you're a packrat, Outlook 2007 can be a downright performance pig. I've got internal contacts that say that the Office team is hot on the tail of a number of really interesting issues.

What can you do today? A patch KB933493 went live yesterday to help speed up access to large PSTs and OSTs. For now, you have to go get it. We'll see what the future holds for this, but I suspect that Office SP1, whenever it comes out, is going to be a very snappy performer.

Initial reports on this patch are positive. Searches are faster, Undos are faster, moving messages is faster, and moving quickly while reading in the preview pane is faster. The future bright on this one...I was really starting to get bummed about Outlook's performance.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007 1:05:09 PM UTC
Hey Scott,

I'm one of those that's lurking behind the scenes and never really contributing to blogs outside of a very little list - been following your blog for a looooong time now and as always it's a good read.

I was rather curious though, seeing as i've seen this mentioned before (there's a hotfix for it, so obviously you're not alone..durr), but in any of the systems i'm running atm do i have any performance issues with Outlook - i run two AMD PCs and a dual-core intel based laptop - completion different configurations as one is for work, one is my desktop at home and the last is my laptop...so i'm now wordering what is causing this behavior for others that i'm simply just not seeing.

i've even tried to reproduce the scenarios that are given..but still no luck...of course, "large" .pst and .ost files is relative seeing as i'm not sure if mine are "large" as such..

Cheers!!
Sunday, April 15, 2007 3:09:46 PM UTC
This is providence. This whole weekend, I have been working on trying to speed up my Outlook. Primarily, I have been trying to reduce the size of my .pst (so far I have brought it from 2.5 GB to 1.2 GB) mainly by archiving and deleting emails. And here you are, telling us the right thing to do. Thanks :)

Also, I don't know if anyone noticed, but my Outlook 2007 gets stuck every time for a few seconds when downloading the last email. It just freezes. So if its downloading 10 emails, it works fine for 1 of 10, 2 of 10, .... but it freezes on 10 of 10.

I use Office 2007 on Win XP and I connect to a POP account (no Exchange Server).

Cheers.
Sunday, April 15, 2007 11:46:36 PM UTC
Vasibhav,

My Outlook '07 exhibits the same behavior -- it freezes briefly downloading the last email. It appears to be a rules/rendering issue.

- Coleman
Coleman
Monday, April 16, 2007 12:35:32 AM UTC
I have not tried the hot fix yet but I hope it solves two bugs that are really annoying me.

First of all if you download several hundred emails from a POP3 account it almost always gets stuck at the end and never finishes the reading process. (Yes, I get several hundred spams overnight for downloading when I open up Outlook in the morning).

Because of the slow speed of RSS Feeds in Outlook I switched to using the free JetBrains Omea Reader. So I deleted all the feeds in Outlook when I made the switch. But whenever I restart Outlook it recreates half the feeds again! I cannot get rid of the last 10 or so feeds, I am stuck with them forever. I would love Outlook 2007 but these two bugs are killing the usabililty.

Phil Wright
Free user interface controls for Windows.Forms
http://www.componentfactory.com

P.S. I love the new blog theme.
Monday, April 16, 2007 4:13:26 AM UTC
As alway, great info scott.

For the people having issues with the last message, I may have a few suggestions.

I use exchange so I don't use pop3 myself but several of our (I work for an ISP) customers do. With POP3 the client doesn't tell the server to delete the downloaded message until after the last message is downloaded, so that accounts for some of the delay after the last message (relative to the number of messages you are downloading).

I have also read several sites (including several other hosting and ISP companies) that suggest that turning off auto tuning in vista will also correct the problem, so it might be worth a shot:
netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

Monday, April 16, 2007 4:18:22 AM UTC
Hi Tony,

The freeze i get is the same when i am downloading a few hundred as compared to when I am downloading 1 email from my Pop3 account. It definitely is something internal to Outlook 2007. This never happened to me while using Outlook 2003. Everything for me is the same between my 2003 setup and now. I have the same number of rules, i use indexing (i had LookOut installed in 2003), etc.

But whenever its downloading the last email (even if its the only one), it freezes. A colleague of mine also has 2007 installed, and he never installed Windows Desktop Search. He doesn't experience the freezing problem, so I am thinking that the indexing is the culprit.

But I am reluctant to not have the search installed, because it allows me for really fast lookups when I am searching through my vast PST.

Cheers.
Monday, April 16, 2007 7:08:58 AM UTC
With regards to my earlier comment, I went back and checked the behavior on my colleague's machine who doesn't have Windows Desktop Search installed (I mentioned that he doesn't experience the freeze); he actually does. He also experiences a freeze whenever the last email is being downloaded.
Monday, April 16, 2007 7:47:22 PM UTC
here's something new you may already know of...(not wpf/e I'm referring to the name change)

http://www.silverlight.net/
sam
Tuesday, April 17, 2007 2:11:27 AM UTC
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! (I guess you didn't create it, but you'll get the thanks since I first heard of the hotfix from you). I installed this last night and it's a dream come true. Soooo much better.

I use IMAP over Outlook 2007 and it has been very painful. I have a lot of email and the upgrade to Outlook 2007 has been a large step back in regards to performance.

The speed with the hotfix is much better. There is still work to do, but it's so much more pleasant now!

Scott Forsyth
Thursday, April 19, 2007 3:26:04 PM UTC
Hey Scott,

I came across this patch a few days ago and installed it. I don't have any hard numbers, but the performance of Outlook 2007 is noticeably faster.

-LJ
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.