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Article ID: 2652320 - Last Review: November 15, 2013 - Revision: 10.0

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You receive an "Outlook not responding" error, or Outlook hangs, freezes or stops working when opening a file or sending mail.

This issue may occur for one or more of the following reasons:
  • You have not installed the latest updates.
  • Outlook may be in use by another process.
  • A previously installed add-in may be interfering with Outlook.
  • Your mailbox may be too large.
  • You may need to repair your Office programs.
  • Outlook data files may have become corrupt, or damaged.
  • Antivirus software may be outdated, or conflicting with Outlook.
  • Your user profile may have become corrupt.
  • Another program may be conflicting with Outlook.

Resolution

Make sure that your computer meets Outlook 2013 system requirements (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee624351.aspx) or Outlook 2010 system requirements (http://blogs.technet.com/b/office2010/archive/2010/01/22/office-2010-system-requirements.aspx) , and then try the provided methods in this article in order.

Method 1: Install the latest updates

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You might need to set Windows Update to automatically download and install recommended updates. Installing any important, recommended, and optional updates can often correct problems by replacing out-of-date files and fixing vulnerabilities. To install the latest Office updates, click the link specific to your version of Windows and follow the steps in that article:
Windows automatic updating in Windows 8 (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-IN/windows-8/windows-update-faq)

Install Windows updates in Windows 7 (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Install-Windows-updates)

Install Windows updates in Windows Vista (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Install-Windows-updates)

Install Windows updates in Windows XP (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-xp/help/setup/set-up-automatic-updates)
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Method 2: Check to make sure Outlook is not in use by another process

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Performance may be reduced if you use the Outlook AutoArchive feature or sync to Outlook with a mobile device, because these processes may use a large amount of resources.

If Outlook is in use by another process, this information will be displayed in the horizontal status bar at the bottom of the screen. If you try to perform other actions while Outlook is in use, Outlook may not respond. Let the task in process finish its job before attempting other actions.
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Method 3: Investigate possible issues with add-ins

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While add-ins can enhance your experience, they can occasionally interfere or conflict with Outlook. Try starting Outlook without add-ins to see if the problem goes away. Here's how:
  1. Do one of the following:
    If you are running Windows 8, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.) Type Run in the search box, and then tap or click Run.
    If you are running Windows 7 or Windows Vista, click Start.
    If you are running Windows XP, click Start, and then click Run.
  2. Type Outlook /safe, and then click OK.
  3. If the issue is resolved, on the File menu, click Options, and then click Add-Ins.
  4. Select COM Add-ins, and then click Go.
  5. Click to clear all the check boxes in the list, and then click OK.
  6. Restart Outlook.
If the issue does not occur, start adding the add-ins one at a time until the issue occurs. This will allow you to figure out which add-in is causing the problem.
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Method 4: Check to see if your mailbox is oversized

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As your mailbox size increases, more resources are needed to open each folder. If you have a large number of items in any single folder, you may experience performance issues during certain operations. We recommend moving several items in your larger folders to separate folders, or archive them using the AutoArchive feature.

Here's how to create a folder:
  1. On the Folder tab, in the New group, click New Folder.
  2. In the Name box, enter a name for the folder.
  3. In the Select where to place the folder list, click the location for the new folder. The new folder will become a sub folder of the folder you select.
  4. Click OK.
To manage your mailbox by reducing the size of the Outlook data file, see Reduce the size of Outlook Data Files (.pst and .ost) (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/reduce-the-size-of-outlook-data-files-pst-and-ost-HA010356311.aspx) .

To manage your mailbox by using the AutoArchive feature, see AutoArchive settings explained (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/autoarchive-settings-explained-HA010362337.aspx) .
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Method 5: Repair your Office programs

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Repairing your Office programs can resolve issues with Outlook not responding, hanging, or freezing by automatically repairing errors in the file.

  1. Quit any Microsoft Office programs that are running.
  2. Open Control Panel, and then open Add or Remove Programs (if you are running Windows XP) or Programs and Features (if you are running Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows Vista).
  3. In the list of installed programs, right-click Microsoft Office 2013 or Microsoft Office 2010, and then click Repair.
Note If you are using Office Click-to-Run, follow Update, repair, or uninstall Office Click-to-Run products (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel-help/update-repair-or-uninstall-office-click-to-run-products-HA010382089.aspx?CTT=1#_Toc272139012) to repair Office Click-to-Run.
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Method 6: Repair your Outlook Data files

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When you install Outlook, an Inbox repair tool (scanpst.exe) is also installed on your PC. The Inbox repair tool can resolve issues by scanning your Outlook data files, and repairing errors. To use the Inbox repair tool, exit Outlook, and then click the link below to follow the steps in Repair Outlook Data Files (.pst and .ost) (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/repair-outlook-data-files-pst-and-ost-HA010354964.aspx?CTT=1) .
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Method 7: Check to see if your antivirus software is up-to-date or conflicting with Outlook

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If your antivirus software is not up-to-date, Outlook may not function properly.

To check whether your antivirus software is up-to-date
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To keep up with new viruses that are created, antivirus software vendors periodically provide updates that you can download from the Internet. Download the latest updates by visiting your antivirus software vendor’s website.

For a list of antivirus software vendors, see Consumer security software providers (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/antivirus-partners/windows-7.aspx) .
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To check whether antivirus software is conflicting with Outlook
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If your antivirus software includes integration with Outlook, you may experience performance issues. In this case, you can disable all Outlook integration within the antivirus software. Or, you can disable any antivirus software add-ins that are installed in Outlook.

Important Changing your antivirus settings may make your PC vulnerable to viral, fraudulent, or malicious attacks. Microsoft does not recommend that you attempt to change your antivirus settings. Use this workaround at your own risk.

You may have to contact your antivirus software vendor to determine how to configure software to exclude any integration with Outlook or to exclude scanning in Outlook.

Note Additionally, if you plan to perform file-level virus scanning of .pst, .ost, Offline Address Book (.oab) or other Outlook files while Outlook is in use, reference Plan antivirus scanning for Outlook (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh550032.aspx) .
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Method 8: Create a new user profile in Outlook

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To do this, follow these steps:
  1. In Control Panel, click Programs, click User Accounts, and then click Mail, to open Mail items.
  2. Click Show Profiles.
  3. Select the profile that you want to remove, and then click Remove.
  4. Click Add.
  5. In the Profile Name box, type a name for the profile.
  6. Specify the user name, the primary SMTP address, and the password, and then click Next.
  7. You may receive the following prompt:
    Allow this website to configure alias@domain server settings?
    In this prompt, click to select the Don’t ask me about this again checkbox, and then click Allow.
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Method 9: Perform a Selective Startup to determine if another program is conflicting with Outlook (for advanced user)

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When you start Windows normally, several applications and services start automatically and then run in the background. These applications and services can interfere with Outlook. Performing a Selective Startup or "clean boot" can help you identify problems with conflicting applications. 

If you use the Selective Startup option in System Configuration, you can turn services and startup programs on or off individually to see if the problem occurs the next time you restart your computer. If you select a check box in System Configuration, the service or startup program will run when you restart Windows. If the check box is cleared, the service or startup program won't run when you restart the computer.

Follow this procedure to use the process of elimination to identify the problem in Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista.
 
Note If you're using Windows XP, see How to configure Windows XP to start in a "clean boot" state (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310353) to troubleshoot the problem.
  1. In Control Panel, click System and Security, click Administrative Tools, and then double-click System Configuration to open System Configuration. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  2. Click the General tab, click Selective startup, and then clear the Load system services and the Load startup items check boxes.
  3. Select the Load system services check box, click OK, and then click Restart.
  4. If the problem reoccurs after restarting, do one or both (if necessary) of the following tasks:
    Identify the system service that is causing the problem
    1. In System Configuration, click the Services tab, click Disable all, select the check box for the first service that is listed, and then restart the computer. If the problem doesn't reoccur, then you can eliminate the first service as the cause of the problem.
    2. With the first service selected, select the second service check box, and then restart the computer.
    3. Repeat this process until you reproduce the problem. If you can't reproduce the problem, you can eliminate system services as the cause of the problem.
    Identify the startup item that is causing the problem
    1. In System Configuration, click the General tab, and then select the Load startup items check box.
    2. Click the Startup tab, click Disable all, select the check box for the first startup item that is listed, and then restart the computer. If the problem doesn't reoccur, you can eliminate the first startup item as the cause of the problem.
    3. With the first startup item selected, select the second startup item check box, and then restart the computer. Repeat this process until you reproduce the problem.
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Method 10: Create a new Windows user profile (for advanced user)

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Your user profile is a collection of settings that make the computer look and work the way you want it to. It contains your settings for desktop backgrounds, screen savers, pointer preferences, sound settings, and other features. User profiles ensure that your personal preferences are used whenever you log on to Windows.

To determine if this issue is caused by a corrupted user profile, create a new profile to see whether the issue still occurs with the newly created user profile.
Repair corrupted user profile in Windows 8
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Create a new user account

To create a new user profile, you must first create a new user account. When the account is created, a profile is also created.
  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.) Type Command Prompt in the search box, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

    Note If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  2. Type net user UsernamePassword /add, and then press Enter.
Copy old files to the newly created user profile

After you create the profile, you can copy the files from the existing profile.

Note You must have at least three user accounts on the computer to complete these steps, including the new account you just created.
  1. Log on as a user other than the new user you just created or the user that you want to copy files from.
  2. In Control Panel, click Appearance and Personalization, and then click Folder Options.
  3. Click the View tab, and then click Show hidden files, folders, and drives.
  4. Clear the Hide protected operating system files check box, click Yes to confirm, and then click OK.
  5. Open File Explorer by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering File Explorer in the search box, tapping or clicking Apps, and then tapping or clicking File Explorer.
  6. Locate the C:\Users\Old_Username folder, where C is the drive that Windows is installed on, and Old_Username is the name of the profile you want to copy files from.
  7. Select all of the files and folders in this folder, except the following files:
    • Ntuser.dat
    • Ntuser.dat.log
    • Ntuser.ini
  8. Click the Edit menu, and then click Copy.
    Note If you don't see the Edit menu, press Alt.
  9. Locate the C:\Users\New_Username folder, where C is the drive that Windows is installed on, and New_Username is the name of the new user profile you created.
  10. Click the Edit menu, and then click Paste.
  11. Log off, and then log back on as the new user.
Note If you have email messages in an email program, you must import your email messages and addresses to the new user profile before you delete the old profile. If everything is working properly, you can delete the old profile.
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Fix a corrupted user profile in Window 7 (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/Windows7/Fix-a-corrupted-user-profile)

Fix a corrupted user profile in Windows Vista (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/Windows-vista/Fix-a-corrupted-user-profile)

Create and configure user accounts in Windows XP (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/279783)
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Next Step

If the information in this knowledge base article did not help resolve your issue in Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013, select one of the following options:

Applies to
  • Microsoft Outlook 2013
  • Microsoft Outlook 2010
  • Microsoft Outlook 2010 with Business Contact Manager
Keywords: 
consumeroff2010track kbcip KB2652320
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