Outlook – is your email program misbehaving ?

If you choose to use Outlook for your email program you may well see poor or unreliable behaviour. This is generally down to one of two things.

Microsoft Outlook Logo

Add-in conflict

Outlook add-ins are “enhancements” ( and I use the word loosely ) to the main program from various other applications that are installed on your PC. There may be scheduling tools, antispam tools, CRM tools … the list is endless.

As you can imagine it is nigh on impossible for all the potential combinations to be tested and add-ins can malfunction or misbehave with other add-ins causing operational difficulties.

Investigate with Safe Mode

Luckily, Outlook has a safe mode that enables it to start with all the add-ins temporarily disabled. Add-ins can then be turned on and off at will to allow some fault finding to take place.

Getting into this safe mode is simple. There is a choice – hold down the windows key and press r to pop open the Run box. Type outlook /safe then OK and you are all set. Alternatively, you can hold down the CTRL key while clicking or double clicking your Outlook icon, and a message will pop up informing you of the option of safe mode startup.

More information on add-ins is available at Microsoft.

Corrupted Outlook Data Files

A consistency check will be performed on each of the data files it has to load whenever it starts. If these files are corrupted the program may well freeze completely or appear to get stuck for an extended period. Luckily Microsoft has very thoughtfully supplied a tool called SCANPST which allows a manual check of the validity of these files and perform offline repairs.

The use of this tool is described here but this process is best undertaken with the guidance of your trusted IT professional who can also assist with add-in diagnostics and any other obstacles Outlook may be placing in the way of smooth email management.


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