Posted by: kurtsh | August 27, 2007

HOWTO: How to fix the pauses in Outlook 2007 or speed up Outlook 2007

Y’know a thousand articles have been written up about this topic: 

    • "How to generally speed up Outlook 2007" or
    • "How to get Outlook 2007 to stop pausing" or
    • "How to get Outlook 2007 to stop being so slow to send/receive email"

So I did a bunch of research and BOY, there’s a 1001 tweaks and tips to try when looking to identify the cause of your Outlook 2007 related problem.  I tried to summarize most of them here:

1) PST Corruption
Your installation can go nuts trying to work around purported errors in your PST.  C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice12SCANPST.EXE should fix this.

2) RSS Reader
Disable the RSS reading component of Outlook 2007 by removing it from the from the default send/receive configuration.

3) PST file sizes
Purportedly, large PST files sizes of 2GB or more drag down Outlook 2007 specifically, while no such issues existed with Outlook 2003.  This is because of a change in the PST/OST format to accommodate some new functionality.  As a result, the larger the PST, the more frequent the need to read & write to the store.

This patch is supposed to fix this problem: (Or at least aspects of it, like search performance) 

I personally DELETED my .OST file and had Outlook 2007 rebuild it from scratch from the Exchange Server while physically connected to our network – per the suggestion from a coworker.  I noticed that my .OST was 1.4GB in size… even though my mailbox only stores 400MB on the server.  Clearly something was amiss.  (If you find that the .OST can’t be deleted because something has it open, be sure to close Office Communicator if you have that running in your company since it holds the .OST open.)

4) Disable installed Outlook plugins/addins
You probably have 20 plugins running right now and don’t even know it.  This is a very common cause of performance issues across the Internet. Start disabling the ones you don’t think you’re gonna need.  Particularly:
– Adobe Acrobat versions prior to 8.0
– iTunes Addin
– Cyberlink Sideshow addin

One addin that may cause issues (unverified) is the "Deleted Item Recovery" addin.  Disabling this addin will obviously prevent you from recovering email that you’ve deleted from your Exchange Server mailbox however if you never use this feature, this won’t be a major loss so it might be worth a try.

  • Tools, Trust Center, select Add-ins on the left.
  • Drop the Manage dialog box down and you’ll see the option to manage Exchange Client Extensions. 
  • Select that then click ‘Go’
  • De-select Deleted Item Recovery and click OK.  Restart Outlook.

5) Nuke the Outlook configuration files
Try running Outlook in Safe mode and see how things are.  If this works, you know that this is probably configuration corruption related, assuming you already checked your plugins.  Read this to start nuking/renaming the configuration files.

6) Adjust Vista’s TCP network window auto-tuning
The new TCP/IP stack features auto-window size tuning and apparently this can have a dramatic affect on the performance of Outlook email send & receive performance  but says nothing about the overall application’s performance.  Be sure to run as administrator before you attempt the command in the link below.
The new TCP/IP stack is talked about here:

7) Upgrade Outlook Rules database to 2007 format
Tools->Rules&Alerts->Options there is an “Upgrade Rules”.  Apparently, the rules database changed between Outlook 2003 and 2007 and leaving the rules in 2003 format results in going through a rules interpreter.  This is supposed to bring it into a native Outlook 2007 rules format which is especially important if you have lots of rules.

8) Disable Phishing Filter
The phishing filter technologies can drag down performance of Outlook and disabling it can enhance Outlook’s performance.
Go to Tools > Options > Junk Email: 
Uncheck "Disable links and other functionality in phishing messages" and “warn me about suspicious domain names in email addresses”.


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