Top 5 Cases of Outlook Not Responding and How to Fix Them

This tutorial highlights the common reasons that cause “Outlook not responding” error, which further results in the application crash. It discusses all the problems along with the resolution methods to help you gain access to your mailbox data.

While working with Microsoft Outlook, you may have come across several issues where the application stops working suddenly or hangs in between while sending or accessing an email. Sometimes, you command Outlook to perform an action which you may have attempted several times earlier. However, an error message appears subsequently stating that Outlook 2010 is not responding.

Here are some of the common reasons which may cause this error, where each one of them possesses different resolution:

  • Outlook add-ins might interrupt with the application
  • Outlook PST file might exceed stipulated storage limit
  • Antivirus app is not compatible with the current Outlook version
  • Office program needs to be upgraded to the advanced version
  • Outlook might be running in the normal modeIf you are facing ‘Outlook 2013 not responding’ error, then there are several fixes that you can implement. First, try to detect the actual reason behind the cause and then implement the appropriate solution thereafter. If you are still unable to analyze the reason(s) behind the poor functionality of the Outlook applications, then there are several measures you can take:

Disable Outlook add-ins:

If you have not encountered this issue before, then the recently installed add-ins might be the cause behind the issue. It is recommended that you disable all the newly installed add-ins one by one and then exit Outlook after each deletion. This will update the application and make modifications simultaneously. To do this:

  1. In Outlook 2007: Go to ‘Tools’ menu and then click on ‘Trust Center’. Next, select ‘Add-ins’ and then click ‘Go’
  2. In Outlook 2013 & 2010: Go to ‘File’ tab and then click on ‘Options’. Next, select ‘Add-ins’ and then select ‘Go’

Reduce Mailbox size:

Outlook mailbox needs to be maintained to ensure smooth functionality of send\ receive operations. Outsized PST or oversized volume of any incorporated folder can make Outlook application irresponsive and reflects Outlook 2016 is not responding. There are several ways to deal with this issue and turn Outlook to accessible mode. You can select either of the given methods:

  • Organize emails in subfolders: Make it a habit to keep the emails separately in subfolders instead of one single folder. Usually, we save all the messages in Inbox and this makes it quite bulky. If the emails are stored separately, they can be accessed in a more organized manner.
  • Compact Outlook PST: Simply deleting emails or other contents from the PST file will not reduce its size; rather, you need to Compact the PST to reduce its volume. To compact the size of the Outlook file:
  • Click on ‘File’ tab and then click on ‘Info’. Next click on ‘Account Settings’, then select ‘Data Files’ tab. Pick the Outlook data file that exceeds in volume, click on ‘Settings’ and finally select ‘Compact Now’ option.
  • Archive Old Items: Selecting Auto Archiving will archive older items and will reduce the size of PST file to a larger extent.

Turn Off Antivirus Program:

Sometimes, it is the antivirus program that conflicts with Outlook and affects the smooth functionality of the application. The antivirus application blocks the add-ins and this further stops Outlook to react in an appropriate manner. To deal with this,

  • Check if the antivirus application is up-to-date
  • Ensure that Antivirus app is installed from a reliable resource
  • Turn off the antivirus program to check if Outlook turns accessible

If Outlook starts working properly after turning off the antivirus program, then it is confirmed that the problem lies with the antivirus app itself.

Repair MS Office Program:

In most cases, any type of internal problems with Microsoft Office creates issues with MS Outlook application. To resolve this issue:

  1. Close all office applications that are in process and launch Control Panel
  2. In the list of installed programs, find ‘MS Outlook’ under ‘Programs and Features’
  3. Right click on the application, select ‘Change’, click on ‘Repair’ and then click ‘Continue’

You can also refer to Microsoft instructions for the version of Windows OS running on your system.

Run Outlook in Safe Mode:

If something wrong is detected while working with Microsoft Outlook, it is recommended to start the application in safe mode. As a matter of fact, when Outlook is started in safe mode, it runs without installing add-ons and customization files. To run Outlook in safe mode:

  1. Click on Outlook icon pressing and holding the ‘Ctrl’ key simultaneously.
  2. Alternatively, type ‘Outlook.exe/ safe’ using command line interface.
  3. Click on ‘Yes’ when the system prompts to confirm if you want to start the application in safe mode.
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