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Even though Gmail is popular with individual users and small businesses, the Microsoft Outlook email desktop client rules the roost as far as large businesses and institutional users are concerned. While it is a robust and extremely dependable email client with a host of other features like calendars, tasks, notes, etc., sometimes the application can crash and leave you high and dry unless you know how to resolve the issues, which fortunately are very well documented. Some practical tips and tricks for troubleshooting Outlook issues and speeding up its performance:
PST File Issues
The PST file is at the heart of MS Outlook as the file stores all the vital information about your emails and other activities. It is possible for the PST file to become corrupted due to various reasons and prevent you from accessing your emails. If you experience a problem with Outlook, the first thing you should do is to run the scanpst.exe utility built-in with Outlook. While the tool is effective for repairing minor issues of the PST file, the downside is the time it takes to back up the data, scan the PST file, and repair it. If you cannot resolve the issues, you can try some other advanced PST repair tools.
Too Large Size of PST File
Over time and with regular use, the PST file becomes so large that it becomes unstable or slows down the performance of Outlook. To prevent it from happening, you should set it for archiving. As and when the size of the data file reaches the limit of the allocation space, you should archive it. Alternatively, you can make it a habit to archive it every year. This practice ensures that the disk space on the Outlook server is cleared up and also shrinks the PST file. A smaller PST file invariably works more smoothly and does not crash. With smaller PST files, the chances of outlook corruption are reduced significantly.
Rename OST Files
The Offline Storage Table (OST) files created in Outlook make it possible to synchronize with the Exchange Server. The OST files contain the most critical data and make it possible for Outlook users to access their emails offline and online. It is often enough to rename them to resolve issues with the OST files. All you have to do is close Outlook and open the folder containing the data files and proceed to change the .ost extension of the file names to something else. The next time you open Outlook, the .ost files will be rebuilt automatically, and Outlook should work well.
If you have tried everything you know to get Outlook working and are considering a complete uninstall and reinstall, you may consider deleting your Outlook profile. However, you must be careful since you will need to export the Inbox and calendars, etc., as a data file if Outlook is working with a POP account. You will need to reimport the data file after you recreate the POP account. However, if Outlook is connected to an IMAP account or a Microsoft Exchange Server, you can straightaway delete the profile and add it back from the Control Panel.
How to Speed Up Outlook
Even though some add-ons add functionalities to Outlook, it becomes slower with every addition. To find out if the add-ons are slowing down Outlook significantly, you should start Outlook in safe mode. If you find that it runs considerably smoother and faster, you should visit the Trust center, disable the add-ons you suspect are the culprits and restart Outlook. Keep doing it till you find Outlook running smoothly.
Disable Virus scan
If the antivirus installed in your computer scans incoming and outgoing emails, it can sometimes slow down Outlook considerably. If you are not sure if the antivirus is the culprit behind the poor performance, all you need to do is temporarily disable the antivirus and observe if the speed improves. To fix the issue, you may need to update the antivirus, but you must remember leaving your computer unprotected is not a solution you should ever consider.
Store PST Files Locally
Even though you may be using a fast Internet connection, you should not store a large PST file on a remote server. It is always good practice to house PST files of your Outlook account on your local drive. Apart from faster accessibility, you prevent Outlook from getting into a tangle trying to resolve multiple PST files connecting to a remote location.
Outlook is inherently stable and reliable; however, you need to look after its operating environment to ensure it performs optimally. According to Tech Republic, you need to keep Windows and MS Office updated so that there is no hindrance to communication between Microsoft Exchange and Outlook. You should not shut down Outlook without following the proper procedure, keeping the computer protected from malware and virus, and ensuring proper hardware maintenance.