Outlook occasionally takes over hard drive for 1 minute and almost hangs system.

Posted on 2004-08-03
Last Modified: 2010-04-08
About every 30 minutes or so, Outlook 2002 temporarily hangs for about a minute. It also slows down other applications considerably. When this happens, the hard drive activity light is on solidly (which means the disk is working hard). This problem occurs if Outlook is not open.

I have a fairly large outlook .pst file (I think it's close to 1Gig). Believe it or now, however, I do archive about once a week.

I am running Windows XP Pro.

- Gord -
Question by:gordonwwaugh
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Expert Comment

ID: 11712899
(a) If you say the problem occurs even when OL is not open, why do you think it is Outlook causing the issue?
(b) 1GB seems outrageous if you are archiving so often. Do you know how to compact the PST? Try that, and see if it helps.  If not, I would create a new pst and copy all the data across, just to make sure it isn't a damaged PST.
(c) BTW, you might not be archiving sent items, for example...
LVL 49

Accepted Solution

sunray_2003 earned 125 total points
ID: 11714040
Hi gordonwwaugh,

Some more suggestions to add to rosesolutions1

a) Try doing "Detect and Repair" going to Help menu inside outlook to see if that would help.

b) Make sure you have got all the updates for your outlook.. Go to and get the latest service pack. That might solve the issue right away depending on what  updates you had already got.

c) Make sure to check for spywares and virus in your system

d) Make sure how many outlook.exe processes run in your task manager. If there are more than one, Kill all of them and restart outlook.

e) run this to see if you can repair your PST

Post back if the above help orelse I have some more to say .


Author Comment

ID: 11718144
Correction: I meant to say that this error occurs only if Outlook IS open.

Sorry about that.

Other info:
- I've already removed spyware using the Freeware AdAware and checked for viruses.
- The exact size of outlook.pst is 800Mb--compacted.
- Only one Outlook process is running.
- When the problem occurs, the only process with significant (>2%) CPU usage is System Idle Process (at about 97%).

I'll try the other suggestions and get back to you.

I do archive every couple of weeks, but I archive only the stuff older than 12 months.

Are file attachments part of outlook.pst? I send and receive tons of file attachments and rarely delete anything (except for SPAM).

- gord -
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

ID: 11722764
>> Are file attachments part of outlook.pst?

Yes all should be in outlook.pst


Expert Comment

ID: 11722789
(a) - yes, attachments are part of the stored space in OL, which probably explains the size. If it is a year's worth of data, and you use lots of attachments, I'm not so worried about your PST file.

(b) Back to the main issue - if this is happening when the system is mainly idle, I think it might be the Windows Indexing Service, probably getting bothered about the open OL file.  Try turing off the Indexing Service, and see if the problem goes away.

Author Comment

ID: 11730147
I've turned off indexing for my outlook.pst file. I've been running problem-free for four hours now. If I have no problems by the end of tomorrow, I'll consider the problem solved.

A tentative thanks very much, rosesolutions1.

Author Comment

ID: 11841697
Sorry for the delay in checking these things out.

After turning off indexing, the problem eventually cropped up again.

When I ran scanpst, it told me there was a problem with outlook.pst and to run scandisk. I had some bad clusters in the outlook.pst file. After fixing that, I ran scanpst again to repair outlook.pst.

I've been running fine now. I've just turned indexing back on to see if it still runs fine. I'll let you know tomorrow if I'm still problem-free.

Author Comment

ID: 11885856
Things are still fine with indexing turned on again. So the problem was with the outlook.pst file, and the problem was detected using scanpst.exe, and fixed using scandisk and then scanpst.exe.


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