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Article ID: 940226 - Last Review: September 3, 2013 - Revision: 14.0

Important This article contains one section that shows you how to help lower security settings or how to turn off security features on a computer. You can make these changes to work around a specific problem. Before you make these changes, we recommend that you evaluate the risks that are associated with implementing this workaround in your particular environment. If you implement this workaround, take any appropriate additional steps to help protect the computer.

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INTRODUCTION

This article describes how to troubleshoot performance issues in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007

You may experience one or more of the following performance issues in Outlook 2007:
  • Outlook 2007 appears to be unresponsive.
  • Outlook 2007 appears to stop responding for a long time.

More information

The performance issues may be caused by one or more of the following:
  • Insufficient computer specifications
  • The latest service pack for Outlook 2007 not installed
  • Large Personal Folders files (.pst) or Offline Folder files (.ost)
  • Outlook .ost files or .pst files that are stored on a drive with insufficient write performance
  • Third-party add-ins
  • Gadgets that access Outlook data (This only applies to Windows Vista)
  • Microsoft Office Communicator integration
  • Antivirus software interaction
  • Windows Desktop Search indexing
  • Incomplete closure of .pst files or .ost files
  • POP3 accounts on Windows Vista clients
  • Many Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds
  • To-Do Bar and Online mode with Exchange server
  • Damaged Outlook messaging profile

Does the computer meet the system requirements for the 2007 Office suite that you are using?

Make sure that the computer meets the system requirements for the 2007 Microsoft Office suite that you are using. For more information about the system requirements for the 2007 Office system, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HA101668651033.aspx (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HA101668651033.aspx)
If the computer meets only the minimum system requirements, you will not experience optimal performance of the 2007 Office suite.

Are you running the latest version of Outlook 2007?

Performance improvements were introduced after Outlook 2007 was released to manufacturing (RTM). To troubleshoot a performance issue or other unexpected behavior, you must first make sure that you are using the most recent build of Outlook. For more information about the latest applicable updates for Outlook, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

2625547 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2625547) How to install the latest applicable updates for Microsoft Outlook (US English only)

Do you have a large .pst file or a large .ost file?

If you have a large .pst file or a large .ost file, you may experience application pauses during typical operations in Outlook. These typical operations include reading e-mail messages, moving e-mail messages, and deleting e-mail messages.

When you use Outlook 2007 with the Performance Update, or you use Outlook 2007 SP1 versions before the February 2009 cumulative update, the following .ost size guidelines generally apply:
  • Up to 2 gigabytes (GB): This size should provide a good user experience on most hardware.
  • Between 2 GB and 4 GB: This size is typically hardware dependent. Therefore, if you have a fast hard disk and much RAM, your experience will be better. However, slower hard drives, such as drives that are typically found on portable computers or early generation solid state drives (SSDs), experience some application pauses when the drives respond.
  • More than 4 GB: This size is where short pauses begin to occur on most hardware.
  • Very large, such as 10 GB or larger: This size increases the frequency of the short pauses, especially while you are downloading new e-mail. You can use Send/Receive groups to manually sync your mail. This synchronization minimizes changes in the local data file during heavy e-mail usage. For more information about how to manage Outlook synchronization, visit the following Microsoft Web sites:
    http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HP052421871033.aspx (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HP052421871033.aspx)
    http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HP030829231033.aspx (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HP030829231033.aspx)

When you use Outlook 2007 SP1 with the February 2009 cumulative update or higher, the following .ost size guidelines generally apply:
  • Up to 5 gigabytes (GB): This size should provide a good user experience on most hardware.
  • Between 5 GB and 10 GB: This size is typically hardware dependent. Therefore, if you have a fast hard disk and much RAM, your experience will be better. However, slower hard drives, such as drives that are typically found on portable computers or early generation solid state drives (SSDs), experience some application pauses when the drives respond.
  • More than 10 GB: This size is where short pauses begin to occur on most hardware.
  • Very large, such as 25 GB or larger: This size increases the frequency of the short pauses, especially while you are downloading new e-mail. As described above, you can use Send/Receive groups to manually sync your mail.

The default maximum size for a Unicode .pst or .ost file is approximately 20 GB. The following KB article describes how to increase the maximum size of a .pst or .ost file:
832925  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/832925/ ) How to configure the size limit for both (.pst) and (.ost) files in Outlook 2007 and in Outlook 2003

The following blog post describes how to reduce the size of your local data file by using synchronization filters:
http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2007/12/17/447750.aspx (http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2007/12/17/447750.aspx)
This is a stop-gap solution and is provided here for reference if you cannot reduce the size of your mailbox. For example, you may be unable to reduce the size of your mailbox if you have to maintain an archive of all e-mail messages, both sent and received, over a time span of several years.

Are you running a computer that has a first generation Solid State Drive (SSD) or a slow rotational Hard Disk Drive (HDD)?

If you are running Outlook 2007 on a computer that has a first generation solid state drive (SSD) or a slow rotational hard disk drive (HDD), you may experience frequent pauses when you perform typical operations in Outlook.

Storing and retrieving data in an Outlook data file involves a high number of small noncontiguous reads and writes. A good metric to use when gauging data file performance on specific hardware is the disk drive’s noncontiguous write performance. The Windows performance team has provided a tool named WinSAT (see below for download and execution instructions) that can be used to benchmark specific disk drives. As you can see in the table below, the estimated experience for Outlook 2007 SP1 with the February 2009 cumulative update is better.

The WinSAT tool is included in Windows Vista and Windows 7. To run WinSAT on Windows Vista or Windows 7, use the following steps:
  1. Click Start, then type cmd in the Search programs and files box (Start Search in Windows Vista).
  2. Right-click on cmd or cmd.exe in the results list and click Run as administrator. If prompted, enter administrator credentials.
  3. In the Command Prompt window that appears, run the following command:

    Winsat disk -drive c -ran -write -count 10

    Note The results are found in the C:\Windows\Performance\Winsat\Winsat.log file.

For non-Windows Vista- or non-Windows 7-based computers, you can obtain the WinSAT tool as part of the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. You can
download the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor here:
http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=20 (http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=20)

After installing the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, use the following steps to run the WinSAT tool on Windows XP or Windows Server 2003:
  1. Click Start, then click Run. Type cmd in the Open box.
  2. In the Command Prompt window that appears, run the following command to navigate to the appropriate folder:

    cd\program files\microsoft windows 7 upgrade advisor

    Note On 64-bit operating systems, you may need to navigate to a different folder path using the following command:

    cd\program files (x86)\microsoft windows 7 upgrade advisor
  3. Run the following command to start WinSAT

    Winsat disk -drive c -ran -write -count 10

    Note The results are found in the C:\Windows\Performance\Winsat\Winsat.log file.

The following table shows an estimated Outlook experience based on the score returned by the WinSAT tool.
Collapse this tableExpand this table
WinSAT scoreDrive characteristicsSP1 before Feb updateSP1 after Feb update and later versions
Less than 15 MB/sGeneration 1 and Generation 2 SSDs (early 2008)UnusableReasonable, responsive, limited hangs and pauses
Between 15 MB/s and 30 MB/sMost Generation 2 SSDs (after April 2008); many 5400 rpm laptop rotational drivesMany hangs and pauses throughout the dayReasonable, responsive, limited hangs and pauses
Between 30 MB/s and 40 MB/sSome high-end Generation 2 SSDs (after September 2008); many 7200 rpm rotational drivesReasonable, responsive, limited hangs and pausesQuick, responsive, only occasional hangs
Greater than 40 MB/sGeneration 3 SSDs, both MLC and SLC technology (November 2008); many 10000 rpm rotational drivesQuick, responsive, only occasional hangsQuick, responsive, rarely hangs

Do you have many items in a single folder?

If you use .ost or .pst files
If you have a large number of items in any single folder, you may experience performance issues during certain operations in Outlook when you use local data files. If you use Outlook to connect to a mailbox that is located on a Microsoft Exchange Server and use Cached Exchange Mode, Outlook synchronizes email and other items to an Offline Outlook Data (.ost) file. If you use Outlook to connect to other email accounts, such as POP3 or IMAP, Outlook stores email and other items to a local Outlook Data (.pst) file. These performance issues are especially noticeable when you switch into and out of folders that contain a large number of items.

If you have more than 50,000 items in a single folder, views other than Arranged By: Date can be slower. We recommend that you move several items in these larger folders to separate folders in the same store or to an archive store, and use Arrange By: Date.
If you connect to Exchange in Online mode
If you are not using Cached Exchange Mode, please review one of the following resources. The resources document some performance issues on an Exchange server that has high item counts and restricted views. Additionally, the resources discuss how these performance issues might affect the overall client user experience.

For more information about understanding the performance impact of high item counts and restricted views, visit the following Microsoft web sites:

Understanding the Performance Impact of High Item Counts and Restricted Views
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc535025.aspx (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc535025.aspx)
Understanding Database and Log Performance Factors
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee832791.aspx (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee832791.aspx)
For more information about mailbox size limits, visit the following Microsoft Exchange Team blog entry:
http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2005/03/14/395229.aspx (http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2005/03/14/395229.aspx)

Do you have any nonessential add-ins or out-of-date add-ins that are installed in Outlook?

If you have nonessential add-ins installed, you may want to remove them from Outlook. To view the add-ins that are installed, follow these steps:
  1. In Outlook, click Trust Center on the Tools menu.
  2. Click Add-ins to display a list of the COM add-ins that are installed.
By default, the following COM add-ins are included in the 2007 Office system:
  • Microsoft Access Outlook Add-in for Data Collection and Publishing
  • Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging
  • Microsoft Office Groove Proxy for Outlook Add-in
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server Colleague Import Add-in
  • Microsoft Office Outlook Mobile Service
  • Microsoft VBA for Outlook Add-in
  • OneNote Notes about Outlook Items
  • Windows Search E-mail Indexer
Any other COM add-ins that are listed in the Trust Center were installed by other software.

Outlook can also use Microsoft Exchange Server client extensions that may cause performance issues. To see the list of currently installed Exchange Server client extensions, click Exchange Client Extensions in the Manage list in the Add-ins section, and then click Go. The Add-In Manager dialog box displays the list of currently installed Exchange Server client extensions.

By default, the following Exchange Server client extensions are included in the 2007 Office system:
  • Delegate Access
  • Deleted Item Recovery
  • Exchange Extensions commands
  • Exchange Extensions property pages
Any other extensions that are listed in the Add-In Manager dialog box were installed by other software.

To determine whether the performance problem is caused by add-ins, run Outlook in safe mode. To do this, press and hold CTRL when you start Outlook. When Outlook starts in safe mode, all COM add-ins and Exchange Server client extensions are disabled.

If the problem goes away when Outlook is running in safe mode, it is likely that one of the add-ins is causing the performance issue. To troubleshoot possible problems that are caused by COM add-ins or Exchange Server client extensions, disable any items that you do not use regularly. Then, restart Outlook. If that does not resolve the problem, disable the remaining add-ins one by one. If that does not resolve the problem, the issue may not be caused by an add-in.

To disable COM add-ins, follow these steps:
  1. On the Tools menu, click Trust Center.
  2. Click Add-ins, click COM Add-ins in the Manage list, and then click Go.
  3. In the COM Add-Ins dialog box, click to clear the check boxes for any COM add-ins that you want to disable.
  4. After you disable the add-ins, click OK, and then restart Outlook.
To disable Exchange Server client extensions, follow these steps:
  1. On the Tools menu, click Trust Center.
  2. Click Add-ins, click Exchange Client Extensions in the Manage list, and then click Go.
  3. In the Add-In Manager dialog box, click to clear the check boxes for any extensions that you want to disable.
  4. After you disable the extensions, click OK, and then restart Outlook.

Did you install any gadgets that integrate with Outlook?

On a Windows Vista-based computer, remove any gadgets that you downloaded to show your Outlook data. For example, this data may include the Outlook calendar, Outlook tasks, Outlook mail, and Outlook contacts. To remove gadgets on a Windows Vista-based computer, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start
    Collapse this imageExpand this image
    Start
				button
    , and then click Control Panel.
  2. Click Control Panel Home.
  3. Click Programs.
  4. Click Windows Sidebar Properties.
  5. In the Maintenance section, click View list of running gadgets.
  6. Click any gadget that you want to disable, and then click Remove.
For more information about the Windows Sidebar, view the "How do I customize Windows Sidebar?" Help topic in Windows Vista.

Is Outlook integration with Communicator enabled?

By default, Outlook includes feature integration with Microsoft Office Communicator. The features that Outlook and Communicator share relate primarily to presence information such as whether someone is busy, away, or in a meeting. To disable feature integration, follow these steps:
  1. In Outlook, click Options on the Tools menu.
  2. Click the Other tab, click to clear the Display online status next to a person name check box under Person Names, and then click OK.
  3. Restart Outlook.

Is antivirus software running?

Warning This workaround may make a computer or a network more vulnerable to attack by malicious users or by malicious software such as viruses. We do not recommend this workaround but are providing this information so that you can implement this workaround at your own discretion. Use this workaround at your own risk.

If your antivirus software includes integration with Outlook, you may experience performance issues in Outlook. 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. Note that if you are connecting to an Exchange Server mailbox, your email or mailbox is already being scanned by antivirus software on the server. You should check with your Exchange administrator to ensure this is the case.

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

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, read the following Microsoft TechNet Library article. Although it is listed as an Office 2010 article, it also applies to earlier versions of Outlook.

Plan antivirus scanning for Outlook 2010
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh550032.aspx (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh550032.aspx)

Did you install Windows Desktop Search on a Windows XP-based computer or install Outlook on a Windows Vista-based computer?

Windows Desktop Search (WDS) will index all data in .ost files and in .pst files. However, the indexing of Outlook data occurs only when Outlook is running. Therefore, you may have to leave Outlook running overnight to determine whether the performance issues were related to the building of your search indexes.

Performance issues may increase when Outlook is running in online mode. Such performance issues occur because running Outlook in online mode increases the load on the Exchange Server. This performance issue is especially noticeable when Outlook is configured in a non-default state to index the items from the Exchange Server to the local client index, and more than one user indexes the Outlook data at the same time by using Windows Desktop Search.

To determine the indexing status for Outlook data, follow these steps:
  1. In Outlook, point to Instant Search on the Tools menu, and then click Indexing Status.
  2. In the Microsoft Office Outlook dialog box, view the number of items that remain to be indexed.
The built-in back-off mechanisms in the indexing component of Windows Desktop Search pause the indexing of Outlook data when the system is under heavy use. The easiest way to let the indexing finish is to leave Outlook running overnight.

Additionally, performance issues are reduced when you run Outlook in Cached Exchange Mode. In this mode, Windows Desktop Search searches the local copy of the mailbox instead of the mailbox content that is located on the server.

Did the .pst file or the .ost file shut down incorrectly?

If you are running Service Pack 1 (SP1) with the February 2009 cumulative update, the frequency of the operations described in this section will be dramatically reduced.

If the .pst file or the .ost file shuts down incorrectly, you may receive one of the following error messages the next time that you start Outlook:
  • Error message 1
    Outlook cannot open the data file filename until it has been checked for problems.
  • Error message 2
    Microsoft Office Outlook’ exited without properly closing your Outlook data file ‘drive:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\outlook.ost’. ‘Microsoft Office Outlook’ must be restarted. If this error message recurs, contact support for ‘Microsoft Office Outlook’ for assistance.
  • Error message 3
    The data file filename was not closed properly’. This file is being checked for problems.
If you receive one or more of these error messages, you may experience performance issues until Outlook finishes the reconciliation process for the .ost file or for the .pst file. The following gear icon is displayed in the status bar while Outlook checks the data file in the background:
Collapse this imageExpand this image
 Outlook 2007 gear icon
When this icon disappears, the .pst file or the .ost file is reconciled. If you are running Outlook 2007 SP1 without the February 2009 cumulative update, and you exit Outlook while the gear icon is present, reconciliation must restart the next time that you run Outlook. In this case, we recommend that you leave Outlook running until the gear icon disappears before you exit Outlook. If you are running Outlook 2007 SP1 with the February 2009 cumulative update, the reconciliation process will pause at shutdown and resume (from where it was paused) the next time you start Outlook.

An incorrectly shut down .ost file or .pst file may occur for one of the following reasons:
  • Antivirus scanning of the file
  • Forced Microsoft Windows shutdown before the Outlook.exe process shuts down completely
  • Outlook add-ins
If you see this issue frequently, and you have to exit Outlook shortly before you shut down your computer, it may be better to shut down Windows while Outlook is still running. We recommend that you do this instead of exiting Outlook and then shutting down Windows shortly after that.

Do you use a rule that moves items out of the default store?

Rules that move items from your default store into another store can cause performance issues when Outlook downloads e-mail messages. Such performance issues are especially prevalent if you are not running Outlook with the SP1 update.

If you are using rules to move mail from a POP3 account to another store, you can use new functionality in Outlook 2007 that lets you change the delivery location of the POP3 account. In this case, you do not have to use rules to deliver the mail from that account to the separate store.

To do this, follow these steps:
  1. On the Tools menu, click Accounts, and then select the POP3 account in the list.
  2. Click Change Folder at the bottom of the dialog box to select a folder in the separate store to which you want to deliver that account.
If you do not use a POP3 account, you can also work around this issue by setting your target folder for all rules to be in the same Outlook store. Then, use the AutoArchive feature to move messages out of the default store in bulk. For more information about how to configure the AutoArchive feature, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
830119   (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/830119/ ) Description of the AutoArchive feature in Outlook 2007 and in Outlook 2003

Are you connected to a POP3 server?

For more information about a possible workaround if you are connected to a POP3 server and your download speeds are very slow, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
935400  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/935400/ ) It takes a very long time to download an e-mail message from a POP3 server in Outlook 2007

Are you synchronizing many RSS feeds?

If you are running Service Pack 1 (SP1) with the February 2009 cumulative update, the issues described in this section are significantly reduced in frequency.

If you are synchronizing many RSS feeds into Outlook, you may experience performance issues with certain ordinary operations. By default, all RSS feeds are synchronized automatically at set intervals. If you have too many feeds, Outlook may become unresponsive.

You can create a separate Send/Receive group that contains only your RSS feeds, and you can remove them from the group your default mail account is in. This will enable you to sync the RSS feeds on-demand instead of at set intervals.

For more information about how to manage Send/Receive groups, see the articles on the following Office Online Web site:
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/CH101395511033.aspx (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/CH101395511033.aspx)
Thank you! Your feedback is used to help us improve our support content. For more assistance options, visit the Help and Support Page (http://support.microsoft.com/) .

Are you running Outlook with the To-Do Bar enabled when Outlook is running in online mode against an Exchange server?

If you are running Outlook with the To-Do Bar enabled when Outlook is running in online mode against an Exchange server, the additional data that is displayed in the To-Do Bar is retrieved from the server. Therefore, additional data requests are performed. These additional data requests for the To-Do Bar cause additional network traffic that can affect the performance of some standard Outlook operations.

If you are running Service Pack 1 (SP1) with the February 2009 cumulative update, the amount of network traffic caused by the To-Do Bar has been reduced from earlier versions, especially when loading recurring calendar items.

To avoid additional network traffic and the resulting performance effect in Outlook, you can turn off the To-Do Bar and reduce the network traffic between Outlook and Exchange in online mode. This reduction in data retrieval requests affects the user experience most significantly if you have a network that has high latency or limited bandwidth. To turn off the To-Do Bar in Outlook, point to To-Do Bar on the View menu, and then click Off.

Administrators can also disable the To-Do Bar on users’ computers by using the following registry information.

If you do not use a policy setting, use the following information.

Registry location: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\Options\ToDoBar
Value name: DisableToDoBar
Value type: DWORD
Value data: 1 or 0

Note If the value data is set to 1, the To-Do Bar is turned off. If the value data is set to 0, the To-Do Bar is turned on.

If you use a policy setting, use the following information.

Registry location: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\Options\ToDoBar
Value name: DisableToDoBar
Value type: DWORD
Value data: 1 or 0

Note If the value data is set to 1, the To-Do Bar is turned off. If the value data is set to 0, the To-Do Bar is turned on.

For more information about how administrators can control the user interface through policy settings, visit the following Microsoft Web sites:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc178990.aspx (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc178990.aspx)
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc179100.aspx (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc179100.aspx)

Have you tried creating a new Outlook profile?

In some cases, an Outlook messaging profile may be misconfigured. Creating a new Outlook profile may resolve some performance issues. For more information on creating a new Outlook profile, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
829918  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/829918/ ) How to create and configure an email profile in Outlook 2010, Outlook 2007, and Outlook 2003

More information

The third-party products that are discussed in this article are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.

Microsoft provides third-party contact information to help you find technical support. This contact information may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this third-party contact information.

For information about how to contact any of the companies that are mentioned in this article, visit the following Microsoft web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/vendors (http://support.microsoft.com/gp/vendors)

Applies to
  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2007
Keywords: 
kbexpertisebeginner kbhowto kbinfo KB940226
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