This will be an article about troubleshooting Outlook and the most common reasons Outlook is slow.
Outlook is really the core program for many Microsoft office users. They use it even more than Word or Excel. The problem comes that when it is used, it often doesn’t do well with the demands placed upon it and it slows down. Outlook is probably one of the slowest end-user email programs, and I will help you understand why and what to do about it.
Microsoft imaged that people using Outlook would primarily use it to read emails and to delete them. What most people do is create folders and stuff them with emails and never let emails go. So just like any filing system, this creates a burden on its storage mechanism which is Outlook. Microsoft says that when email gets to be above 10GB, that it starts to have moments where it slows down and freezes. I have seen this first hand very often. The problem is that MS doesn’t make it easy for the average person to see how much space their email is using, so it is a bit of a mystery for most people.
So the first cause of Outlook slowness is just the data that is stores. Outlook slows down when it has more than a few thousand items in a folder. Microsoft says the folder limit is 50,000, but it would be unsuitably slow at that point. Most people tend to move things into folders and not reach the 50k limit. However then they start to nest folders, i.e. put folders inside of folders. Then it starts gets very slow. Outlook actually needs a little bit of ram for every email that is in a folder, so you can imagine that with thousands of emails in multiple folders, your computer can get bogged down pretty quickly.
Most people are not willing to delete their email. So then it becomes a matter of either adding memory to their computer, or seeing if optimizing Outlook could solve the issue. Disabling unneeded add-ins is a great quick fix for most people. Most small business users don’t tend to use things like the Microsoft Office connector or so on.
One of the popular options that many businesses like is putting email in PST’s. These are special folders that are saved on the local computer. This enables Outlook to take some of the pressure off its resources, and for many people just moving their online folders into a PST is enough of a performance boost to make them happy. The downside of this of course is that if they need those emails on a second computer, they won’t be available.
However if this isn’t enough, then you have to dig deeper and start to look if this might be a problem with the outlook profile. Many times outlook profile can become corrupted with a great deal of emails, so rebuilding it/creating a new one, often increases performance substantially. If this doesn’t fix it, then you can start to disable unneeded system services or applications to free up ram for outlook to use. Normally at this point however, your time and the client’s time might be best served by getting a faster computer since these are really only short-term fixes.
Ideally the best solution is to copy emails, attachments in places that the team or company can use them rather than just on your email program. Treating email like a phone is ultimately more value for the company than forcing others to sift through email if something ever happened to you.