Outlook crashing, hanging and freezing – common causes and solutions

This article describes some of the most common reasons that cause Outlook to become unstable, crash, hang or freeze.

If you are experiencing issues with your Outlook, try these items one-by-one and hopefully one of them will help.

Corrupted PST file

By far the most common reason for Outlook crashes, instability and unexplained weird behavior is a corrupted PST or OST file. Microsoft is aware of this issue and provides a tool to fix it – Inbox Repair tool (scanpst). Follow the steps listed in that Microsoft Knowledge Base article to run ScanPST. Run it on all your PST files.

Important: In many cases, ScanPST requires more than one pass to fix a corruption. Run ScanPST repeatedly, until it reports that there are no more errors.

In some cases, a corruption might be so bad that ScanPST is unable to fix it. ScanPST will tell you that there are no more errors, but you would still experience issues. In this case, you should create a new PST file and copy all items from the old PST into the new one. After you do that, close the old PST file (Right-click the top-most folder of the PST, then select “Close”) and start using the new one.

Note: You can also use scanPST to check and fix your OST files.

Corrupted OST file

To fix an OST file, you simply delete it and let Outlook rebuild it from the server:

  1. Close Outlook.
  2. Delete the OST file. If the OST file is for a non-Exchange based account, Microsoft recommends that you backup the content of the OST into a PST first. Important – never delete a PST file.
  3. Restart Outlook and let it rebuild the OST file. Note: This operation might take a long time if you have a large Exchange mailbox, but you can still use Outlook while it happens.

Corrupted Profile

Sometimes an Outlook profile might get corrupted. In this case, you have to create a new profile.

Corrupted Outlook Configuration Files

In addition to PST, OST and profiles, Outlook has several other files which might get corrupted. If the above steps did not help, please try renaming outcmd.dat, extend.dat and Frmcache.dat as described in Part 2 of this article.

Misbehaving Add-ins

Running unnecessary add-ins may make Outlook slower and even cause stability issues. Check what add-ins you have installed. You probably have more add-ins installed than you think. Use the following instructions to see what add-ins you have installed and disable the ones you are not using. Leave only the Add-ins you absolutely must have in Outlook.

How to disable addins in Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013
How to disable addins in Outlook 2007
How to disable addins in Outlook 2003

Keep Windows Up To Date

Regularly use Windows Update to keep your computer up to date with the latest patches and service packs. We recommend that you configure Windows to check for updates automatically.

 

Hope you found this article useful. If you have additional tips, please share them in comments below.

 

TechHit products will help you spend less time managing email and keep Outlook running in tip-top shape.

 

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    9 Responses to “Outlook crashing, hanging and freezing – common causes and solutions”


    • I have this error in Outlook 2003. Can’t send and receive email.
      AppName: outlook.exe AppVer: 11.0.8010.0 AppStamp:43d16d53
      ModName: ntdll.dll ModVer: 5.1.2600.2180 ModStamp:411096b4
      fDebug: 0 Offset: 0000eddc

      • JF,

        First, use Windows Update to ensure that your Windows and Office is up to date with the latest patches and service packs.

        After that, carefully follow all steps in the article above. Usually one of them will fix an issue like the one you are experiencing.

    • Paul Kirshenbaum

      A virus had invaded my computer and we had to reformat the disk. After that I found Outlook would on and off not load. It would hang at the loading profile stage. When a repair was done it would work two or three times and then hang again. I removed all add-ins except Norton and the problem seeemed to be fixed. However, when I wanted to send an email from files in Paperport (a PDF program) Outlook would not respond. I then also had problems sending emails from Adobe Acrobat. This morning, Outlook hung again. I did a repair and it opened OK. I suspect that Paperport is causing the problem. If I do not send the file from the thumbnail in Paperport but open it up first, I never get a hang up. Going back in my memeory, I think, but I am am not sure, that the originl problems in Outlook began after such an episode with Paperport. Prior to the Virus incident, everything always worked perfectly.
      What do you suggest?

      • Paul, sounds like you have good reasons to suspect that Paperport might be related to this issue. If Paper port has an Outlook add-in, try disabling it to see if it makes a difference (you will find instructions in the article above).

        If that does not help, you might want to contact Paperport vendor for assistance.

    • outlook2007 is hang crash file mail is not reciving

    • As per my experience Outlook becomes slow mostly because of plugins and heavy Outlook files.

    • I can’t even get Outlook to upload. When I try I get this message: “The connection to Microsoft Exchange is unavailable. Outlook must be online or connected to complete this action”. When I try to connect, it asks for my “Microsoft Exchange Server”, and I have no idea what that is. Can anybody help me?

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