Outlook 2007 EXTREMELY slow performance downloading mail/attachments from exchange 2007 server

Posted on 2007-07-23
Last Modified: 2009-11-23
So we're on Exchange 2007 with about 40 Outlook 2003 clients working fine and dandy.  But recently in the past week or so I've added two Office 2007 installations including, of course, Outlook 2007.

On one of the installs the guy had about a 4 gig mail box and it was downloading at a rate so incredibly slow (over a perfectly functional 100mbps ethernet connection) that it was going to take about a full WEEK for his PC to download all of his mail!

(You can see my unanswered thread about it here, though just for reference since this thread you're reading now has more up to date info )

My temporary fix since I have been so overloaded has been to just take him off cached mode.

This seems to work fine for opening emails, but small attachments (under 50k) take 10-15 seconds to open, and if it's in the 1-5 megabyte range, you might as well go take a bathroom break and read a magazine.  It's ridiculously slow.  Several minutes at a minimum.  In other words it's moving just as slowly as it was when I was trying to download and cache his email from the server to an OST file (like all of my 2003 outlook clients are setup).

If I try to close outlook BEFORE it downloads the full file I get the message Event ID 5000 officelifeboathang outlook.exe blablabla ntdll.dll

I did some google searching on this and there's hardly any info about it.  I found some people mentioning Mccafe AV, but we have symantec corporate installed here.  I found some brief mentions of removing windows desktop search and running C:\windows\system32\fixmapi.exe also.  I tried this on one of the machines in various capacities with no luck until I completely uninstalled office 2007 AND windows desktop search, ran fixmapi, and then reinstalled office 2007.

That did the trick on one of the machines (or at least appears to have, for now).  But on this second machine it's not.

And I'm still left unsatisfied because I really have no idea why what I did on the first machine worked... it was just the only hope I had looking around the MS support forums and elsewhere on google.  This site in particular has, so far, no mention of officelifeboathang as an error, despite this error apparently being seen as early back as the 2nd beta version of Outlook 07.  I've also learned it can apparently be seen in other office apps like access and excel, so I'm beginning to think it might be a sorta generic error that's just saying "this is taking a while"...

Sorry for the rambling but at this point I'm at a loss for what might be valuable info and what isn't... : (
Question by:Threxx
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    Its explained in detail in the following artical about slow performance of Outlook2007


    Author Comment

    That article says "Unfortunately, Microsoft's advice for those suffering from slow Outlook 2007 installations seems to be to reduce the size of your users' mailboxes, or, if you're using Exchange 2003/2007 and Outlook 2007 in Cached Mode  stop using it and move to using regular Online Mode."

    Well, I'm already in cached mode!

    Of further note: I tried going from inside our network to this user's outlook web access folder and opening the same attachment that was taking several minutes before, and opening it from my computer instead of his.  It did open quicker, but it was still horribly slow.  It downloaded at a rate of 80 kilobytes per second which ended up taking about 30 seconds to download... that's pretty darned bad considering I'm doing this INSIDE of the network with a 100mbps connection to my desktop and a 1gbps connection to the exchange server, and our exchange server is a beast, too - quad core xeon w/ 8GB of RAM and RAID 10 for only 50 users (though it does serve some other purposes, none that put a heavy load on it)

    Author Comment

    Well this is weird... maybe this is a culmination of Outlook 2007's issues with large mailboxes and some serious network throughput issues.

    I've discovered that if I try to simply copy a 150 megabyte file from the Exchange 2007 server to this same desktop, that it had an estimated time of 78 minutes!  It didn't go down from there, either.

    So I expanded my testing and did some refreshing of my knowledge of our physical network cabling.

    There are four computers used in my test: DPE2950, DPE2650 (both servers, the 2950 is the exchange server, the 2650 is a database server), KT1 (my computer) and DC1 (the computer that originally complained of slow email attachment loading).

    DPE2950 is plugged into a supposedly gigabit rated GBIC add-on card in my 24-port 3Com switch.  The windows network connection manager reports it as being connected at 1 gbps, too, though I never ever see network utilization go above a couple percent or so on a 1gbps scale
    DPE2650 is plugged into BOTH my 50 port and 24 port 3Com switch (dual NICs, which my 2950 has as well, but currently I only have one of them plugged in).  It's plugged into a factory installed gigabit copper port on both of the switches.
    The switches are connected to each other via gigabit up/downlinks.

    All of the workstations are all on the 10/100 copper connections spread amongst the two switches.
    "KT1" (my computer) is on the same switch as has the GBIC card that DPE2950 is connected to.
    "DC1" is on the other switch... the 50 port one that 2950 isn't connected directly to (but instead should be propagating through the gigabit up/downlink between the two switches.

    Here's my observations for transfering that 150MB file from DPE2950 to the other machines:
    To KT1 and DC1 from the DPE2950, speed is horribly slow... 78 minutes estimated time remaining... waited at least 5 and hardly any progress was made.
    To DPE2650 from DPE2950 it's fast... lightning fast... obviously a pure gigabit speed connection between the two.

    So what gives here?  If it had just been slow to the PCs on the 50-port switch then I'd have suspected some sort of bottlenecking at the up/downlink between the switches.  But since *my* desktop is on the same switch as the 2950, then that rules that out.

    Granted... my desktop is only connected at 100mbps, but still the transfer of a 150MB file should still take less than a minute or so at that speed.

    I might think that the 3com GBIC gigabit card that the DPE2950 is plugged into is defective somehow, but if so then why are transfers between the 2950 and the 2650 so lightning fast?

    Argh... I almost need to close this question out and ask in the networking or hardware area of this site instead...
    LVL 104

    Accepted Solution

    This sounds like a conflict between the NIC and the switch. I see these from time to time. If the switch is managed, try locking the speed and the duplex at both ends. If it is not a manged switch, try locking them on the card.

    There are performance issues with Outlook 2007 and large mailboxes. To put it in plain English - performance sucks. I haven't moved to Outlook 2007 for any of my machines, I am still on Outlook 2003 which works fine.

    LVL 5

    Expert Comment


    Author Comment

    I'm going to accept Sembee's solution because it was a result of some form of known scaling issue with the our 3com switch's ability to take certain types of gigabit transmissions and send them to 100mbit PCs.

    Pretty obscure.

    It may have only been made worse and more readily apparent by Outlook 2007's performance issues, but the real issue at hand appeared to be my switch.

    To make matters worse 3com's last software update for our switches (4224 and 4228) was mid-2006 and the materials mentioned that they still suffered from this issue.  I don't know if 3com just gave up on its customers or what but I certainly will never purchase from them again if I don't have to.  I got some Dell 6000 series managed switches in there now and everything is lightning quick. : )

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