Summary: Is your Outlook taking forever to receive emails and load attachments? This may be a sign of a damaged PST file or problem with a storage device, such as a hard drive, where the PST file is stored. In this post, we cover solutions to fix this issue of slow Outlook performance while sending or receiving emails in Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019.
Outlook works smoothly when set up on a compatible system. However, with time and as the mailbox (or PST) size grows, Outlook often starts showing signs of degraded performance.
A most common outcome of this degraded performance and a recurring Outlook issue is that the application starts taking more time to send or receive emails and download attachments. Even after several refreshes, the new emails and attachments are displayed only after a while.
Expert’s Opinion: Outlook experts suggest to check the health of Outlook PST file using SCANPST.EXE or a trusted PST recovery software. In most cases, error/damage in the Outlook PST file is responsible for the delay in receiving Outlook emails.
Read on to know more about the
issue. Also, learn solutions to fix the issue of slow receiving or sending
emails on Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010 & 2007.
is Outlook Slow to Send or Receive Emails?
Whenever an email is received in your inbox, Outlook takes the default action of writing it to the PST file. So naturally, if Outlook is taking more time to receive emails, the “writing to the PST” part is the first place to look for possible problems. The problem could be fragmentation or damage to the PST file or an oversized PST.
A large size PST file is more
prone to corruption and hence, you should split PST file or keep backup to
avoid Outlook errors.
If that’s the case, Outlook could be spending all its time not in
downloading the email but in trying to save it within the faulty PST. So you
should focus your efforts on trying to fix and repair Outlook PST to resolve this error.
to Resolve Outlook Send or Receive Slowdown Problem?
If emails are taking a long time
to arrive in Outlook or Outlook is slow to download emails and attachments, try
the following solutions to get rid of the problem:
Backup the PST file before applying these solutions.
Check hard drive for bad sectors
In case your hard drive has developed bad sectors and your PST file is stored at a location on the hard drive that includes one of those sectors, it could be a cause of this Outlook slowdown problem.
Thus, as a first step, use a tool such as CrystalDiskInfo and check hard drive health status and SMART information. Make sure drive health is good and there are no Reallocated Sector Count warnings.
You can also run a Check Disk
command in Command Prompt window. Close all programs before running the following
Type ‘Y’ and press ‘Enter’ if asked to force dismount volume.
The CHKDSK command will find out and repair hard drive errors. After this, restart the system and open Outlook. Try sending a few emails and check if Outlook sends/receives emails normally.
Defrag the hard drive
Disk fragmentation is a process that occurs naturally, as files are constantly being written, edited, deleted, and resized. When a large file is spread across several locations on the drive, it takes much longer to read and write.
And it’s quite possible that your PST file may be fragmented and that’s why Outlook is taking time to load emails and attachments.
So defragmenting your hard drive
would be a good idea here if you haven’t done it recently. To defragment,
simply type ‘defrag’ in search and click on Defragment
and Optimize Drives.
Select the drive volume where your PST file is stored and click ‘Optimize’.
Also, optimize other partitions
and then check your Outlook.
If the drive isn’t fragmented or
Outlook is still slow to receive emails, head to the next solution.
Compact or Compress Outlook PST
As mentioned earlier, a large PST
could also cause Outlook to slow down. Defragmenting your hard drive also
squeezes out unnecessary empty spaces from within the PST that might have been
created due to regular email deletion/moving.
Further, you can compress or compact
the Outlook PST file. Compacting the PST file size helps keep a check on
growing PST size. To compact Outlook PST:
Right-click on Personal Folder or Outlook
Click on Properties -> Advanced
Check ‘Compress contents to save disk space’ box and click ‘OK’, then ‘OK’
Compacting of the PST is a time
taking procedure depending upon the PST file size. You might have to leave it
to run overnight.
Disable Faulty Add-in
An incompatible or faulty Add-In
may also cause a delay in receiving and loading Outlook emails and attachments.
Follow these steps to find the faulty Add-in and disable or uninstall it.
Go to Outlook Options -> Add-ins -> Go in Outlook 2007 or 2010. In Outlook 2013 and later, go to File>Manage COM Add-Ins. This opens up a dialog box listing all installed add-ins
Uncheck all Add-Ins names to disable them
Now try to send/receive or reply / forward messages and check if
Enable each plugin one-by-one and check Outlook. This will help
you find the Add-In that is creating the problem.
If none of the above solution works, you would have to explicitly
repair Outlook PST to fix the issue. Microsoft ships an Inbox Repair Tool with its MS Office suite.
This utility finds and repairs minor faults within the PST file and make it
You can find this utility within your Outlook installation folder. Double-click on SCANPST.EXE to launch the Inbox Repair Tool and browse the PST file. Then follow the wizard to repair it.
However, if for some reason ScanPST.exe
cannot fix the faulty PST, you don’t need to despair. Use Stellar Repair for Outlook—an ultimate solution to resolve PST and
This automated and user-friendly software is equipped with
algorithms dedicated to resolving minor as well as major PST corruption issues.
It can even let you perform advanced tasks such as compressing PST, splitting
Once you have fixed the ‘Outlook slow to receive emails’ issue using the solutions mentioned above, defrag your system once more. This is to ensure that whatever data was moved around to rectify the Outlook PST error is placed back where it belongs, safe and sound.
If you’re still facing a delay in receiving emails on Outlook, leave a comment or reach us via the Support page.
Eric Simson is an Email Platform Consultant and is associated with Stellar Data Recovery from last 6 years. He writes about the latest technology tips and provides custom solutions related to MS Outlook, MS Exchange Server, Office 365, and many other Email Clients & Servers.