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How to optimize and make Outlook faster

How to optimize and make Outlook faster

dots Why to optimize Outlook?

As you may noticed, Microsoft Outlook tends to respond slower to your commands, as time goes by over your Outlook installation. We use to compare Microsoft Outlook with Microsoft Windows: they both needs constant tweaking and optimization, unless you are willing to reformat your disk and to reinstall Windows. But on the Outlook case, reinstalling it can bring lots of headaches and critical data may get lost during the process.

This article tries to explain you how to make Outlook faster and better, without reinstalling it. The article applies to the following Outlook symptoms:

  • It takes several minutes for Outlook to start;
  • You constantly get Outlook crashes or error messages;
  • It takes a lot of time for Outlook to switch folders or to view email content;
  • Outlook dies or it opens slowly, after it was minimized to the Windows systray;
  • Outlook doesn't respond to your commands or its responses are erratic.

    dots How to make Outlook run faster

    First of all, you need to understand that Outlook is a database driven Windows product: as more information you add to it, as more time it needs to respond to your commands. Moreover, the Outlook engine was designed during the Windows 95 days, but for compatibility reasons its database engine remained almost the same until today. On top of this system, with every new Outlook version Microsoft added several layers of features, such as Tasks, the Journal, the Business Contacts Manager and so on.

    So, the key for optimizing Outlook is: how can I take the stress out of Outlook and make it to handle less information? Remember the first day when you started Outlook? It loaded almost instantly and it was always promptly responding to your commands. Well, a lot has changed since that day: you now have multiple Outlook email accounts to handle, tons of emails spreaded in several mail folders, dozens of Outlook contacts, maybe even some cool addins or addons for Outlook.

    Starting from the above scenario, here is a to-do list for making Outlook to load and run faster:
  • Always archive your incoming emails: there is no need to keep thousands of emails in your active mail box. You can just setup Outlook so it automatically move older emails to an archive folder. This way, when starting Outlook or when switching folders, the program doesn't have to load a huge list of emails. To archive a folder, simply right click on it, select its Properties, then go to the AutoArchive tab to configure your archiving settings.
  • Make sure the default folder that is displayed when Outlook starts is not too crowded with emails. Try to move emails away from the default starting folder to archive folders or to other sub-folders. For example, if you receive many emails from a contact, you can define a rule so all those emails are automatically moved into a specific folder. As less items Outlook has to display at startup, as faster it shall load.
  • Pay a lot of attention to 3rd party addins or addons. While they can bring benefits for your workflow, they surely add to the Outlook lag. Keep only the addins that you know you are using on regular basis: although you may not use an installed addin, it still consumes Outlook resources simply by "being there". You can see a list of your currently installed addins by the Tools menu -> Options -> Other -> Advanced Options -> Add-in Manager. You may also want to try our free Outlook Add-in Utility which is delivered with Bells & Whistles for Outlook.
  • If you use Outlook with a slow Internet connection to connect to a mailbox on a Microsoft Exchange server, you can improve response time by minimizing how much information Outlook transfers over the connection and how often these transfers occur. The best way to accomplish this is by working offline instead of online. As an alternative, you can configure Outlook to download only the email headers of incoming emails.
  • On a busy environment, Outlook needs to handle large mailbox files (PST files). You may want to defragment the disk partition on which your PST file is located. Since new information (emails or else) is continuously added by Outlook to your personal folders file, the PST file tends to become fragmented very quickly. As a result, it is a good idea to schedule, at least weekly, a disk defragmentation for the partition where the PST file is stored. If your defrag tool allows it, you should move the PST file at the beginning disk sectors of your disk partition: this way will hardware will require less time to access & read the PST file.
  • Unless it deals with critical errors, Outlook doesn't always report less important errors. By running the "Detect and Repair" function (from the Outlook Help menu) on regular basis, you rest assured that nothing bad is happening in the background.
  • Avoid switching tasks (ALT + TAB) while the main Outlook window is maximized. If you need to switch to a different application, make sure you firstly minimize Outlook, then go to the other program. Otherwise, it may end up using so much memory that it stops responding.
  • The default Outlook settings makes it work with the Windows Instant Messenger as often as possible. As a result, switching between emails or folders can be very slow, as the Windows Messenger needs to load its information, too. You can disable the use of Windows Messenger for Outlook from the Tools menu, under Options -> Other -> Person Names (unmark the related checkboxes).
  • Microsoft Office is delivered with speech and handwriting recognition features. Outlook also loads them and they increase the memory usage of Outlook. Here is a Microsoft article explaining how to turn off these features.
  • If you use to work on the same Windows session for days and if you need to keep Outlook up and running all the time, try closing & restarting Outlook at least daily. Especially due to 3rd party addins, Outlook can require more and more memory resources if you keep it open for a longer period of time.

    If all the above tips didn't make any difference and your Outlook is still running slow, maybe the only option is to backup your Outlook personal files, say a prayer and reinstall everything.

  • To repair the Outlook PST file, click here.

  • To learn how to backup Outlook folders and Contacts, click here.

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    Danh sách bài viết
  • How to prevent receiving spam - Tommy(1/27/2007)
  • Bài viết
    Bài của Tommy (1/27/2007)

    How to prevent receiving spam
    How to prevent receiving spam dots How spammers grab addresses
    # Basically, spammers will start sending you junk email as soon as: you list your email address on a public web page (your web site, forums, etc);
    # you subscribe to various newsletters and you confirm to their agreement without reading it (for example, you confirm to receive promotional emails);
    # you received an email from someone who you don't know and you open the message. If the email message is using the HTML format, once you view the email, the spammer will know for sure that your email account is real and so he will keep sending you junk emails;
    # your browser security level is set to accept various cookies and controls, or simply you manually agreed to deploy/install such files.
    # you clicked on a link or attachment from an incoming email message, although you didn't know who the sender was.
    # you don't permanently use an anti-virus program. dots 13 rules on how to avoid getting your mail account on spam lists
    Theoretically it's simple: just don't do the above actions and you will stay away from spam. Practically, it isn't so easy. You need to communicate with people, after all this is why you got an email address. So you want to use it, not to hide it.

    Here are our rules and advices on how to avoid receiving spam

    # Get yourself at least two email accounts. Use one for public communications (forums, communities, business cards) and keep the other one only for trusted contacts. Use only the public one for registering for Internet services/accounts. Indeed, you will still get spam, but this way at least you have a clean account.
    # If you have to list your email account on public pages, try to cheat spam spiders. Instead of writing your address as "", write it as "john_at_domain_dot_com". People will understand how to read it, but robots will not. As an alternative, you can make a transparent image with your email address and instead of writing it on a web page, just link the image to it.
    # Read Terms & Conditions pages. Whenever you have to subscribe to a newsletter or to create a web account on a site, make sure their Terms & Conditions page doesn't give them the right to send you unsolicited emails. Do not select to receive promotional offers by email.
    # If your email client can do it, then make it to receive and display incoming emails as plain text, not as HTML.
    # When receiving a spam mail, do not attempt to unsubscribe. If you didn't subscribed, then why unsubscribing? Most of spammers are using it to validate your email address, for further spamming purposes. It's simple: if you unsubscribe, it means your email address exists and someone (you) is reading the emails.
    # Do not use auto-responders: an auto-responder is a clear signal for the spammer that the junk mail arrived at a real email address, which gives him a "good" reason to keep sending spam.
    # If you email client is able to do it, then use auto-preview functions and erase junk email before you download it on your computer.
    # Do not click/open links, images or attachments coming from not trusted sources.
    # Do not confirm or trust applets, plug-ins or ActiveX components not signed or signed with invalid certificates.
    # Set your browser security so it doesn't accept 3rd party cookies (at least the Medium level on Internet Explorer).
    # Use live updates: update your operating system, Internet browser and email client software as often as possible. Spammers, as viruses, often take advantage of your security holes.
    # Use an anti-virus program and check for updates daily. Spammers and worm viruses go hand in hand.
    # Report spam: no, it will not stop spam, but you will help the experts on making better software. Reporting spam will make you feel better.
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