How to Speed Up Microsoft Outlook

How to Speed Up Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook can slow down with regular use and data storage. It will start taking more time to launch, navigate between folders or even to send new emails. This can be extremely frustrating and may even force you to look for alternatives, but hold on, there is still some hope.

As Microsoft Outlook stores more data, it needs to deal with all the data while processing your commands which leads to slower processing. To speed it up you need to minimize hurdles for Microsoft Outlook while processing; below are some ways to do that and speed up Microsoft Outlook.

The most common mistake many people make is to store thousands of emails and entries in the main folder. Many of the old emails are not required on a daily basis, but Outlook will still load them, leading to slower processing. If you archive all the old emails, they will be saved in a specified external folder (can be accessed anytime) and will not be processed.

To archive any folder, right-click on the folder and select “Properties” from the context menu. Now, move to the “AutoArchive” tab and select the option “Archive items in this folder.” Once selected, click on the “Default Archive Settings…” button below it to adjust the settings.

Speed-Up-Outlook-properties

Speed-Up-Outlook-Archive-folder

Although the default settings are fine, you may want to customize which emails will be archived. By default, Outlook will archive emails older than six months; you can adjust that according to your needs. For an average user emails older than two months should be adeviate. Now click on “OK” to confirm your settings, and Outlook will archive that folder.

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It might seem quite a basic thing to do; after all, removing additional programs working at the same time should definitely speed things up. However, it is very important, not because you get to achieve some speed by disabling less important add-ins, but also because you are removing shady add-ins. Some shady programs can sneak in to Outlook that will make it slow or unreliable. So removing/disabling Add-ins that are less important or that you can’t identify should make things smoother.

To access the Add-ins page in Outlook 2007, click on “Trust Center” inside the “Tools” option, and then click on “Add-ins.” In versions after Outlook 2007, you can find this option under “File -> Options -> Add-ins.” Here, click on “Go” while the drop-down menu is set to “COM Add-ins.”

Speed-Up-Outlook-Trust-Center

Speed-Up-Outlook-Add-ins

You will see all the Add-ins installed; just uncheck the ones you want to disable or use the “Remove” button on the right side to remove a specific Add-in.

Speed-Up-Outlook-Add-ins-page

Outlook updates are available alongside Windows updates. Make sure you install all Outlook updates, and it always stays updated. Microsoft may push patches that may resolve speed issues or fix bugs.

When you using Outlook and storing data, the PST file keeps increasing. Even when you delete data, the PST file size may still stay the same. This leads to an Outlook slowdown as it will have to process a larger PST file, so compacting the PST file will surely help pick up the pace.

To compact the PST file, go to “Account Settings” under the “Tools” option in Outlook 2007 and the “File” option in versions after it.

Speed-Up-Outlook-Account-Settings

In the Account Settings, click on “Data Files,” and then click on “Settings” while a PST file is selected. Now just click on “Compact Now” in the next dialog, and the processing will start.

Speed-Up-Outlook-PST-File

Speed-Up-Outlook-Compact-PST-File

By Default, Outlook fetches the RSS Feed from Internet Explorer to add to the Outlook client. This can make things quite heavy if you receive a lot of feeds. You can disable this convenient feature to make things less choking for Outlook.

To disable the RSS Feed, go to “Options,” and then click on “Advanced Options.”

Speed-Up-Outlook-Options

Speed-Up-Outlook-Advanced-Options

Here, uncheck the option “Sync RSS Feeds to the Common Feed List” to disable the RSS feed feature. It is also recommended that you delete all unrequired feeds stored in Outlook by going to the “Account Settings.”

Speed-Up-Outlook-uncheck-Feed-Sync

The above methods may not be able to make your Outlook experience perfect, but you should see some significant boost in speed. They are also quite easy to follow and don’t require any special software or hacks. Do you know any other cool tricks to speed up Microsoft Outlook? Share in the comments below.

12 comments

  1. Thanks for the tips, but it doesn’t work for me with Outlook 2013. There’s no Tools menu. Any ideas?

    • Chuck,

      I also have Outlook 2013 and you go to the File menu instead. To quote from the article above,
      “To access the Add-ins page in Outlook 2007, click on “Trust Center” inside the “Tools” option, and then click on “Add-ins.” In versions after Outlook 2007, you can find this option under “File -> Options -> Add-ins.” Here, click on “Go” while the drop-down menu is set to “COM Add-ins.” “

  2. These suggestions sound wonderful, but I’m wondering if they will work with Outlook 2003? I have kept this old version of Office for other important interaction with WordPerfect, but that’s another question for another day.

    • Yes, Joy, they will ! I have stayed with Outlook and Office 2003, and it’s amazing how much of today’s advice about Office is still relevant for such an old, and officially unsupported, piece of software.

      Reducing the size of your current .pst file by archiving old elements, compacting it, pruning unnecessary add-ons are all possible under Outlook 2003, and are likely to make it work faster.

      I used to have a 2 GB .pst file on my Outlook 2003 (which is still well under the maximum limit). When I cleaned it up by transfering most of my old mails in an archive .pst file (which is but one click away on my Outlook home window), things got perceptibly faster.

      Another thing, not mentioned here, is that you can have as many .pst files as you want — apart from the main one where your present mails will pour into.

      You could, for instance, have one .pst file per project. Of course, .pst files are unwieldy beasts and need to be “connected” to Outlook in a not very intuitive manner, but it can be learned.

  3. Thank you for this quick reply! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one with an older version! I think I’ll need to have my computer man work on some (all?) of these as I’m not that computer ‘savvy’. One thing I wondered about was the Trust Center, as I couldn’t find anything like that. Is there something comparable in Outlook 2003?

  4. Good stuff, thanks, but when I attempted to disable a couple of add-ins, I’m “told” that an administrator must make such changes since it affects all users. Uhhh, ok. I am the only user and only administrator. Excuse the senior moment. What do I do next?

    • You can try accessing Outlook as Administrator, may be then you will be able to disable them. To do so, press and hold “Shift” key and then right-click on the Outlook shortcut (start menu shortcut will work as well). You should now be able to see the option “Run as administrator”, click on it to start Outlook and attempt to disable the add-ins.

      Holding the “Shift” key is important, otherwise, you will not see the “Run as Administrator” option.

  5. even my Win 10 download has significantly slowed my pc and email(outlook). didn’t have these troubles with my old Win 7.
    is there anyway I can revert back to my Win 7? I’m still stumbling around in Win 10 trying to figure out how to do things but the snail pace of doing things is driving me up the wall. Any help greatly appreciated. Getting desperate in trying to find a fix. If this isn’t the right forum, could you point me in the right direction for assistance? Thanks..

  6. If I archive my folders, will message content still be found in the archive when I search messages?

Comments are closed.

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