When Outlook almost drives you mad!

25 02 2009

I am so glad to have got to the bottom of my Outlook 2000 problems. Over the last few weeks it has got slower and slower and slower to do even the simplest thing. I have been literally going to make a cup of tea while I close an email I have just read.  Every action in Outlook has been painful.

I installed “Process Explorer”. It’s a freebie from the Microsoft web-site and gives you more insight into what is going on with the different programs (and processes) that are running. Whatever I did in Outlook, processor usage would rise to >90% for at least 4 minutes. It was crazy.

Then I found that this file, “outcmd.dat” (found in \Documents and Settings\%user%\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook) can get corrupted. It’s size was 2,904 KB, it should be more like 2KB.

If you delete it, it will be recreated by Outlook when next started. First close Outlook. Then open Task Manager (<ctrl><alt><del>) and check that there isn’t still a process ruuning called outlook.exe. If there is then end the process. Now you can delete or rename outcmd.dat. If extend.dat looks a bit big, do that one too.

Now restart Outlook. It was wondefully fast. Deep joy!

(DISCLAIMER: Please note this is an account of my experiences. Yours may be different. I spent a week researching the problems before I found this worked. I also installed Office 2000 SP-1, SP-3 and a fix from Knowledge Base article 811167 – program olk901.exe. None seemed to do the trick until I recreated outcmd.dat.)

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