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Outlook "stalls" when viewing any email with an attachment

Posted on 2008-06-17
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Last Modified: 2008-08-20
We have a laptop that is running XP and Outlook 2003.  When an email comes in with an attachment and you highlight the item to view in the viewing pane, the system becomes unresponsive for about 2 minutes.  CPU utilization is at or below 2%.  The laptop has 2GB of memory and menory utilization is less that 20%.  Once this has occurred, then any email that is view "stalls" the system.  A restart is the only way to recover normal operation speeds.
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Question by:sfletcher1959
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19 Comments
 
LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:powercram
ID: 21802985
How big is the attachment?  Are you connected over a WAN?

It may just be that it's trying to download the file - you need to be more patient.
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Expert Comment

by:benratty
ID: 21803083
Have you checked the Event Viewer and if so is there any messages relating to Outlook or Office?
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:bcrosby007
ID: 21803168
Do you have Service Pack 3 installed?
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Delldiag
ID: 21803208
check your disk drive for space as outlook will save the attchment to a temp folder on the c: drive. also check to see if your anti-virus is scan the attchment as it arrives this also may be causing your "stall"
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Author Comment

by:sfletcher1959
ID: 21803511
powercram - The attachment size doesn't matter.  I tested with a 2k file.  Doesn't affect any other users on our network.  Just be patient???  This is occuring on our CEO's system.  Patience is not an option.

benratty - No warnings or errors in the event viewer.

bcrosby007 - Office SP3 is installed.

Delldiag - AV scans the incoming mail at the gateway prior to delivery and this problem is on only one PC in our network.  The laptop has 60 GB, with 38.6 GB free space.

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Expert Comment

by:benratty
ID: 21810897
Some obvious questions I know but have you checked the size of the PST file where his mail is stored? Where is the PST file stored, locally or on a network location? Is it a particular type of attachment or all attachments?
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Author Comment

by:sfletcher1959
ID: 21812340
We are on a small network.  His mail file is located on the server, with archive local.  His is one of the smaller mail files.  It currently is about 300mb.  Type or size of attachment doesn't matter.  It is like when he highlights a message in his mail file it is looking for another program to run.  After about a minute to a minute and a half, it times out and displays them message.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:bcrosby007
ID: 21812371
Log him into another PC, and set up Outlook for him. See how that works. Start with Outlook not in Cached mode.
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Author Comment

by:sfletcher1959
ID: 21812982
I logged him into another PC and didn't experience the same problem that he has.  However, he say that when he reboots his system, it is several hours before it starts to hang up.  Then he has to reboot again, so this isn't going to show me anything.  One thing that I did notice is that he typically keeps between 1000 and 3000 items in his inbox.  His overall mail file is much smaller than mine, but I keep my inbox clear and move things to folders.  Does exchange handle an inbox folder differently than it handles any other folder?  If it does not, then I have folders with 7000 emails and don't experience the same problems that he is.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:bcrosby007
ID: 21813830
No. Quantity of emails shouldnt really matter. Are you sure that it is outlook that is locking up and not something else? Have you checked Task Manager when it slows?
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:bcrosby007
ID: 21813855
Also, what OS and service pack?
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Author Comment

by:sfletcher1959
ID: 21813860
Task manager show no application or service that is taking up CPU's.  Usually is 99% free.
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Author Comment

by:sfletcher1959
ID: 21814986
XP - OS, SP2
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:bcrosby007
ID: 21814993
Put SP3 on it.
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Expert Comment

by:benratty
ID: 21853691
What is the message displayed after it times out?
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Author Comment

by:sfletcher1959
ID: 21854684
System now has SP3 installed.  Same problem.  As far as timing out is concerned, I may have not been clear.  I do not get a timeout message of any kind.  After about 3 minutes the system resumes at normal speed unless another message with an attachment is choosen.  The idea around a time out is that perhaps when a message w/attachment is selected, outlook is calling another program like a spell checker or something in the background that doesn't respond.  It just acts like outlook is waiting for something and when it doesn't happen, it just continues to process the email request.  I have de-selected MS Word as the spell checker to see if that made a difference, but still had the same results.
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Expert Comment

by:benratty
ID: 21855892
Have you tried running the Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe)? and possibly a re-install of Office?
Are there any locally installed anti-virus, spam or spyware programs running?

What locally installed programs are on the PC?
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LVL 2

Accepted Solution

by:
Delldiag earned 500 total points
ID: 21882895
OK
I have been though all symptoms I can think of .
Is the outlook running cached mode or direct?
Have you checked what add-ins are running (tools-options-other-advanced options) open add-in manager and what is running
Is the service pack you added for office if not install the service pack for office
You have tried what the above experts have suggested it must be a glitch with outlook(office SP) or an add-in/add-on
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Expert Comment

by:geoff_austin
ID: 22267726
I believe Outlook saves attachments in the folder C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files

I have seen problems arising when there are too many files in this folder.  Try clearing it out and see if that helps.

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