Jun 22, 2007

Some Ways to Speed up Outlook

Microsoft Office 2003 Bauer-Power.net

I get calls all the time talking about how slow Outlook is, and Outlook is hanging, or freezing what have you. It is very common, so don't feel you are alone. in fact, Outlook being slow is probably one of a help desk's most frequent complaints. Very few times it is a server side issue, but sometimes it is. If someone tries to send a 50MB zip file down the pipe it will muck things up for everyone for sure. However, there are a lot of client side things that can slow you down as well, and that is where these tips can help you out a bit.

The company I work for (Yes I have a day job, and no I am not quitting it for full time blogging so don't worry), we have a bunch of small satellite offices all around the country. The problem is we only have four exchange servers to accommodate everyone in all of the states we have offices. Those with a server in their office rarely complain about slow Outlook problems, and slow attachment opening times, because they are geographically close to the server. Those offices farthest away from the server may experience some lag time as their attachments and e-mails have to travel across the wire hundreds or thousands of miles to open up on their computer screen. To ease some of the slowness in this situation you can configure your Outlook to use Cached exchange mode which downloads a local cache of your e-mails and attachments to your computer so that they can open up locally and not over the WAN. Opening locally will always be faster than opening across the internet.

To set cached exchange mode, in Outlook click on Tools> E-Mail Accounts. Click on View or Change existing e-mail accounts, then click next. Select the option for Microsoft Exchange Server and click the change button. under the box where it says exchange server, there should be a check box saying use cached exchange mode. Check the box and click next and finish. You will have to restart Outlook for the changes to take affect.

So what if that was already checked, or you are geographically close to the server, but Outlook is still slow? Often times it isn't even Outlook at all, it is Word. But how can it be Word? I am not even using Word! you might be yelling right now at this post. Actually, you are using Word. Outlook by default uses Microsoft Word as it's default e-mail editor. the problem with that is that when you open Outlook, simultaneously in the background Word is opening as well which creates added overhead for the computer. Besides the overhead though, word easily gets corrupted, and when it does it will screw Outlook up to no end. So why not turn it off? Outlook has it's own built in e-mail editor, and we can use it without having to use Word. To turn it off, click on Tools> Option, and click on the Mail Format Tab. uncheck the option to use Microsoft Office to edit e-mail messages, click Apply then OK.

What if all of that is done, but you are still having some problems? Luckily Microsoft is aware that they make lousy products, so they have built in a detect and repair tool into their office suite. To find it click on Help > Detect and Repair. Follow the prompts, and Office will repair itself. Check the option to Discard My Personal settings and restore default settings only as a last resort because you will have to reconfigure Outlook again which can be difficult if you don't already know your server/user settings.

If you can think of any other tips that you have found works (Besides switching over to Thunderbird {Exchange doesn't work with it so don't comment about it}), then please leave some comments.

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