Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Optimizing Outlook 2007 for High Traffic Emailing

Over the years, I've heard a lot of people complain about how badly Outlook performs. I could never quite figure out why, because I live in Outlook and I hardly have any problems, even though I get hundreds of e-mails a day.

Well, yesterday I read that Mark Cuban switched to the Mac, partially because of his Outlook issues, and I realized that I have a couple tricks that I use to make my e-mailing life easier with outlook, and that I should probably share them.

Problem #1: Downloading e-mails take forever because I have a bunch of rules that need to be processed.
Reason: Every rule gets processed on every e-mail. if you have a lot of rules, and get a lot of e-mails, you're guaranteed to have problems.
Solution #1: Add "Stop processing more rules" to the end of every rule.
Solution #2: Use Hosted Exchange. For anywhere between $7 and $15 a month, you can upgrade your POP3 e-mail account to a hosted Exchange account at your own domain name. This way, when you use Rules in Outlook, they run on the server, and not on the client. You also get a bunch of other benefits, like disaster recovery, syncing with your smartphone, push e-mail, and Outlook Web Access. I know that may not sound like an attractive option, but once you try it, you'll never go back.

Problem #2: Outlook takes *forever* to open.
Reason: Your Outlook file is way too big. You're probably not archiving your e-mail often enough.
Solution: Follow the "7-6-6" rule for AutoArchiving. Simply, every 7 days, archive anything older than 6 weeks to an archive folder, and create a new Archive file every 6 months. And whenever you see your AutoArchive folder open, close it. Finally, compact your PST & OST files often.

The simple tips help keep my Outlook performing well. Like everything else, it just requires a little maintenance. With these tips, my Outlook consistently opens in under 3 seconds.

Posted on Sep 21 2007, 06:14 PM by Robert McLaws
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  • Gordon Watts said:

    I love the new office, and I'm not going to switch to a Mac, but the performance in Outlook is awful. I don't get as much email as you do -- just about 100 emails a day or so, of which about 40 of them are spam that make it through outlook's default filters. I have about 40 or 50 rules or so. I'll try your trick of stop processing.

    BUT, on a portable, Outlook just chews up resources. Frequently pegging the portable at 100% CPU while indexing, for example. If the portable has been asleep for a while then opening it up and connect it to the internet sometimes it is more than 5 minutes before I am able to use Outlook without constant freezing.

    This was never the case in previous versions of Outlook. Outlook should take care of this itself -- I shouldn't have to do all the tricks you refer to - I have outlook because I want a tool capable of dealing with my heavy usage without having to do extra work. I'm looking forward to updates in hopes they will improve the performance!

    September 24, 2007 7:18 AM
  • Throzz said:

    Well switching to MAc could be a good idea, realy. Btw. try using thunderbird way, way better than outlook.

    September 24, 2007 8:00 AM
  • RyanLM said:

    Outlook is a running joke at my office.  One more thing MS just cant seem to figure out, Damn Email.


    MS Sucks at:

    - UI

    - Product Timelines

    - "Perkiness"

    - Delivering what they promise, ever.

    MS has amazed me with:

    - .NET/VisualStudio (My reason for not being a switcher)

    - Vista's clunkyness, at times I am just at awe with it.  Or am forced to while I watch a dual Xeon Core2 workstation sit and think about opening the startmenu....  Hard drives a thrashin!

    September 25, 2007 7:50 PM
  • kaiser said:

    thunderbird doesn't have scheduling so it's not really an option...

    October 1, 2007 2:52 PM