Most applications in Startup folder hang after XP SP2 upgrade, especially outlook.exe

Posted on 2006-06-15
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
Just created a new test box with Windows XP and Office 2003.  No service packs or updates on either.

If you put the outlook.exe shortcut in the Startup folder, it works fine.  You do a hard reboot on the computer, log in with your credentials, your profile loads and outlook.exe in the startup folder loads.  Comes up right away, connected to our Exchange 2003 with SP2 server.

We put service pack 1 for XP on our box and it still works fine (still no  updates for Office 2003 though).

As soon as you install service pack 2 for XP, it doesn't work anymore.  It's almost as if the computer has to check the network for connectivity to let you start outlook.exe.   If it tries to call outlook.exe from the startup folder, you get a "Your exchange server can't be found" error.   But if you take the outlook.exe shortcut out of the startup group and manually run it about 20 seconds after your desktop loads then it works fine.  As long as you don't start it immediately after your desktop loads.   If you then log off of your profile and log back in, it works fine.  But If you warm or cold reboot the PC, the same problem surfaces.  Exchange server can't be found if the outlook.exe is in the startup folder.

I've tried to search these forums for hours and hours, maybe I'm using the wrong key words.  I've googled the errors, and short of some registry keys that people tried on Office 2000, nothing was found.

No firewall is active.  I've still tried to add outlook.exe to the "allow" list in windows firewall.  I do not have any spyware, virii, or any of those types of cleaners/programs installed to interfere.  Just good ole Windows and Office and XP service pack.

We've tried different computers as well, and different offices to rule out cabling.

Last thing we tried was to install service pack 2 onto Exchange in our test domain, but same error.

I would GREATLY appreciate any clues, pointers, hints to what may be causing this.


Question by:JJGIT
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 16916089
Just enable cache mode. The inbox will synchronize and when the connection is established Outlook will get the new email. Outlook will recognize the server as being available and make the change automatically.

Author Comment

ID: 16920317
I tried your suggestion since I hadn't thought about that.  But it didn't resolve the issue.  The server unavailable error still pops up and it lets me either work offline, try again or cancel.  

LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 16921137
Try pinging and doing a tracert to the server name.
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Expert Comment

ID: 16921183
Secondly make sure Outlook is set to handle the connection automatically.
Control Panel > Mail > Email Accounts > View or change existing email accounts (next) > Change > Check the box labeled "use cached exchange mode" > More Settings > General tab select "Automatically detect connection state" > Ok > Next > Finish.

Author Comment

ID: 16952683
Ok, I've tried all those suggestions and still tells me the Exchange Server is unavailable.

But then I tried this.  Went to Network Card Properties, Advanced and instead of Auto Negotiating the speed of the card I selected "Force 100 Full Duplex" and it worked.  Now all the apps, especially Outlook, are happy.

My question is, why after Windows XP SP2 did this start happening?  No SP and SP1 were fine.  What was introduced in SP2 that "broke" that.  

 I've also tried the "Media Sensing" article to no avail.

This is not a fix to me, so I'll leave this open to accept any other suggestions.



Author Comment

ID: 17008596
Ok, solved the problem (well, at least the one WE were having).

I didn't know this was a factor, but apparently it is.  The computers all had one hardware thing in common.  They were dual core machines.  

We had to add the /usepmtimer switch to the boot.ini file to "patch" Windows XP sp2 to like the dual core machines.

Once that was applied, the PC really woke up and acted like a dual core in XP and all apps ran at full speed, even network apps.

So, thanks to the ones that tried to help, it was greatly appreciated!!

Accepted Solution

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