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How to Troubleshoot Performance Issues in Outlook: Technical Guide

Published By Mohit Jha
Tej Pratap Shukla
Approved By Tej Pratap Shukla
Published On December 25th, 2021
Reading Time 5 Minutes Reading

Organizations with a large number of employees may face regular issues with Microsoft Outlook performance. At times, MS Outlook may become unresponsive for the users. On other occasions, users may face the issue like, Outlook is not responding for a long period. This affects the overall performance of the company and its smooth working environment. Hence, finding a permanent solution to fix performance issues with Outlook becomes necessary.

This post describes all the possible reasons and solutions for how to troubleshoot performance issues in Outlook account. Explore the most important 10 performance issues faced by Microsoft Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2007, 2003, 2002, 2000 account users.

Microsoft Outlook faces performance issues when the Outlook data file fails to work properly. The Personal Storage Table folder (PST) file stores Outlook account data locally. The corruption or other issues in a PST file can affect the proper working of the Outlook account. Resolving Outlook PST file is a necessity when we consider the performance improvement of Outlook account. Use software for Outlook 2016 Repair to fix damaged PST file efficiently without any data loss.

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Top 10 Performance Issues in MS Outlook: Reasons and Solutions

Below are some of the most common performance issues, that users often face within Microsoft Outlook. Go through the issues along with their solutions:

Issue 1. Large Outlook Data Files

Large PST or OST files may affect the performance of Microsoft Outlook account. And the application may pause often during regular operations. These typical operations include moving, deleting or even reading email messages in Outlook account.

Solution: With Outlook version 2010 or later, the maximum file limit of PST file is 50 GB. The default maximum size for a Unicode PST or OST file is 25 GB. If a user tends to reach this limit, it is recommended to archive the PST file or split it into small chunks to avoid corruption issues. This is the best way to troubleshoot performance issues in Outlook account.

Issue 2. Meeting System Requirements

A user must ensure that the computer meets the system requirements for the Microsoft Office version being used.

Solution: Check the Microsoft official website for the latest updates and the appropriate version of the software.

Issue 3. Outlook Add-ins

Non-essential add-in utilities or software may result in performance problems in Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, 2002 versions. Use safe mode by holding the Ctrl key when you are launching Outlook. Safe Mode ensures that all COM add-ins and Exchange Server extensions of clients are not enabled.

Solution: Remove the Add-ins from Microsoft Outlooks to disable items that are not used regularly.

  • At first, Click on File >> Options >> Add-ins
  • Next, a list of com add-ons is displayed.
  • Now, Clear the checkbox on Add-ins that are not essential
  • Click OK and restart

There should be no issue if the Outlook is running in Safe mode. If the issue persists, remove add-on one by one and check to determine the cause of the problem. This can be considered as one of the best way to troubleshoot performance issues in Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007 etc.

Issue 4. Indexed Based Windows Search

Windows has its own method for indexing files in Outlook PST file. Indexing only occurs when Outlook is running.

Solution: Leave the system running throughout the night to determine whether the issue is due to the building of indexes.

Issue 5. Microsoft Lync Communicator

Microsoft provides a communicator tool that primarily shares information about a user being busy, away or in a meeting.

Solution: Disable the Microsoft Office Communicator that integrates with Microsoft Outlook.

  • For this, go to File >> Options >> Contacts
  • Clear Display online status next to a name and click OK
  • Finally, restart Outlook

Issue 6. Hard Disk Issue

An old computer may be using Hard Disk Drive (HDD), which is rotationally slow or first generation Solid State Drive (SSD). This will result in users facing typical pauses during regular operations on Microsoft Outlook 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 versions. If a user has multiple files stored in the Outlook local folder, this may lead to slow performance in Outlook.

Solution: An Outlook Mail folder in the local system can have hundred thousands of files. For later versions of Outlook, views other than Arrange By Date can be slower. Therefore, it is recommended to use Arrange By Date when using Outlook. Moving to advanced drives can also be considered as an efficient way to troubleshoot performance issues in Outlook account.

Issue 7. Gadgets Accessing Outlook Data

In Windows Vista, Outlook provides gadgets to access tasks, calendar, emails etc., in a unique way.

Solution: Remove these gadgets from Control Panel >> Home >> Windows Sidebar Properties >> Maintenance >> Running Gadgets

Issue 8. Problems with the Anti-virus

At times, Outlook integrates with Antivirus software to safeguard users’ emails and contacts. This creates lags in accessing Outlook. One can easily troubleshoot performance issues in Outlook account to a great extent if your account is not affected by unnecessary antivirus programs.

Solution: Disable any Outlook integration with the antivirus software. Also, remove any software add-ins installed on Outlook.

Issue 9. The Absence of Updates in MS Outlook

A user must ensure that the latest applicable Service Packs (SP) and patches have been regularly downloaded for Outlook.

Solution: It is recommended that automatic updates must be set in your system so that the computer can update regularly.

Issue 10. Abrupt Closing of PST and OST Files

Due to forced Windows shutdown, antivirus software running in the background or any Outlook add-ins may cause the PST or OST files to close abruptly.

Solution: At times like this, shut down Windows with Outlook still running and then restart.


Microsoft Outlook is an essential part of email communication within an organization. The everyday performance will lag if the Outlook does not work in the best of conditions. Clients and businesses will lose a lot of time and money if the communication is not instant without any performance hassles. Hence, this post describes the ways to troubleshoot performance issues in Outlook account effectively with efficient methods.