Summary: There could be several reasons why Outlook may stop responding, such as damaged or large Outlook data files. This is a comprehensive guide where you will learn the possible reasons that can lead to Outlook not responding error and the methods to resolve the issue. You can also directly download and use an advanced Outlook repair tool to fix a corrupt or damaged Outlook data file and split it into smaller PSTs to fix the error.
Microsoft Outlook is undoubtedly one of the most versatile and popular business email clients used worldwide by organizations of all sizes. But like any other software, Outlook is also prone to bugs and problems.
To help you fix this error, we have put together a comprehensive article that will give you the answers to all your questions and help resolve Microsoft Outlook not responding error.
When Outlook can’t operate, it may get stuck, freeze, or stop responding. This usually occurs when there’s a deadlock due to a resource crunch (low RAM, storage, or processor). This error may also occur on a system with decent hardware configurations if the Outlook data file has grown large and exceeds the recommended size (~20 GB).
Outlook tries to finish the operation but since it can’t, it displays the “not responding” message on the title bar of the application’s window. This is a common issue that you may encounter with other applications on a Windows machine. Most of the time, the best option is to wait—even if it is frustrating for you!
When this happens to your Outlook, the stakes are much higher because there is always a possibility for you to be in the middle of a conversation with a potential client. Or worse, you could be expecting an update for a crucial subject, such as a security issue.
When you try to click anywhere on the Outlook window, the entire screen becomes translucent with the message “Microsoft Outlook not responding” displayed on the title bar.
Well, this may occur due to one or more of the following reasons:
You can follow the below-mentioned solutions to fix the Outlook not responding errors and performance issues in Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and 2021.
If an existing Outlook process is stuck in operation, a fresh instance of the application cannot be initiated successfully. This is because one or more ‘outlook.exe’ processes would be running in the memory when you’re trying to start another ‘outlook.exe’ process, thereby creating a conflict.
Thus, one of the things to try out is to kill all ‘Outlook.exe’ processes through the Task Manager. For this:
This should kill all the Outlook processes. Try restarting your Outlook to see if the issue is fixed. If still your Outlook is not working, follow the subsequent solutions in the given order.
Add-ins and customization files are installed in Outlook to improve the user experience. However, sometimes, faulty add-ins can cause problems with the normal working of Outlook. Hence, that’s where you should look next.
Follow these steps to spot and remove faulty add-ins leading to the Outlook not responding error.
Note: Launching Outlook in safe mode loads Outlook without any add-ins or customization files.
Antivirus software is meant to safeguard your computer from all threats. Some of the products are designed in such a way that they scan every outgoing and incoming email to your system. This might cause problems with the normal functioning of Outlook at times. Plus, your antivirus may flag some add-ins as untrustworthy and could even block them, thereby causing Outlook to hang or crash.
To troubleshoot such a situation,
To function smoothly, Outlook needs to be organized and cleaned up every few weeks or months based on usage. Make sure you organize all emails in separate folders and subfolders with proper labels instead of a single huge one.
Outlook stores all the data in Personal Storage Table or .pst files. But when used with Exchange, the data is stored in OST files (.ost) as well. If your Outlook PST files grow too large, they become prone to damage and corruption.
As per Microsoft, Outlook works fine with Outlook data files (PST) up to 10 GB on most hardware and does not show any performance issues. However, when PST exceeds the 10 GB or reaches the 20 GB recommended limit, you may encounter Outlook performance issues. In such a case, you may upgrade the system resources with more RAM, faster storage, and processor, or reduce the Outlook data file size to ensure Outlook performance and avoid Outlook not responding error.
Follow these tips to clean up your Outlook and reduce the mailbox or PST size:
If none of the above-mentioned solutions works, there might be an issue with your Outlook installation. To fix such issues, repair your Outlook program. Follow these steps:
Once the repair is complete, check for any Outlook service packs or other updates your installation is missing. If there are any, download and install them. You can also refer to this manual.
Try repairing the Microsoft Office programs by following these steps:
After the repair, start Outlook and check if the Outlook not responding error is resolved.
A damaged, corrupt, inconsistent, or large (oversized) Outlook PST data file can also lead to Outlook performance issues and frequent Outlook freezes, resulting in the Outlook not responding error. To fix such PST files, you can use the built-in ScanPST or Inbox Repair tool. The steps are as follows:
If the Inbox Repair tool also freezes, stops responding, or crashes during the repair process, the PST file could be large or severely corrupt. In such a case, download an advanced Outlook repair tool, such as Stellar Repair for Outlook to fix the large or severely corrupt PST file with complete integrity. After the repair, you can save the mail items to a new PST file and then open or import it into a new or any existing Outlook profile to access all your mail items.
You can replace the corrupt profile with a new profile and resolve the Outlook not responding error by following these steps:
The error should be resolved now if caused by a corrupt profile.
Note: Removing the current profile may also remove the linked PST file. Thus, back up the PST before creating a new profile.
The “Microsoft Outlook not responding” or Outlook not working error is not only frustrating but is also cryptic. This means, finding the cause of the problem and its solution is not easy. Try the above solutions to see which one helps resolve the issue for you.
If nothing works, the Outlook PST file might have been corrupted or severely damaged. Repair it using a trusted Outlook PST repair software called Stellar Repair for Outlook. The product will help you fix issues within the corrupted PST and will also extract all data from it to store in a new PST that you can directly import into Outlook. Apart from this, you can use the split or compact PST file options in the software (Technician version) to avoid PST corruption or errors due to oversized PST files.
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.
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