Outlook browsing hangs and typing delays

Posted on 2008-06-23
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2011-02-13

We just finished a migration from Microsoft Exchange/Office 2003 to Microsoft Exchange/Office 2007.
Now many users are experiencing Outlook 2007 browsing hangs and typing delays in emails.

The browsing delays are from 2 to 15 seconds.  After the delay, Outlook may be responsive for 2-10 minutes before it hangs again.

The typing delays may be up to two or three words and also are random.

Exchange 2007 is on a Dell 1850 2x 2.80GHz CPU's w/ 4GB ram & Server 2003 R2 Standard x64 SP2 OS.  It has a Dell PowerVault 220S 1TB DAS SCSI array for the Exchange data drive.
Clients Outlook 2007 are on XP Pro 32 & 64 bit SP2 OS's w/ 2 & 4GB ram.

We have 125 users on a 1GB network and many users have Business Contacts Manager for Outlook as well.  This is the only Add-in we add.

Any ideas on what may be the issue?

Question by:russelllv

Expert Comment

ID: 21849684
Since you are using BCM you must be in cached mode; if the users have large OST cache files (larger than 2GB), that is probably the cause.  The most logical approach to dealing with that, if that is the case, would be to archive the data (specifically large messages with attachments) to local PST to trim down the OST file size.  Users tend to do cool stuff like *never* deleting items in the "Deleted Items" folder so you might be able win back some performance just by clearing trivial data like that.  I usually split the server-side mailbox data into "yearly" archives and place them local on their workstations while leaving things like contacts and the last six months of mail live in the server.  If the users need to access the legacy data from somewhere other than their local workstations, a public folder "archive repository" could be a better alternative than letting the OST files bloat.  There may be something going on with SQL access method if you are running centralized BCM repository...make sure all DNS/IP records with regard to SQL/BCM clients/AD are resolving correctly.  I know it sounds strange to be looking at DNS/SQL/AD for a problem like this but I have definitely seen SQL performance problems when DNS is not correct or resolving poorly for whatever reason...not sure if that would cause the particular behavior your users are experiencing in the Outlook client.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 21849693
Have you checked your anitvirus scanner or spam filter?
Have you tried to close is for the time being and see if it the problem returned?
Any error messages in the logs on the pc or server?
Are there multiple pc's with the same problem?
If you setup a popbox without a connection to Exchange? Do you have the same problems?
Or only when you connect to Exchange?


Author Comment

ID: 21850246
Are these issues something that I should be experiencing after upgrading from 2003 to 2007?  None of these issues existed last Thursday when we were on 2003, they only appeared Friday after the migration to 2007.

I am currently looking at Symantec as well...  Both on the Exchange Server and clients.

No, I don't have any error messages so far.

Yes, there are several both x64 & x32 comps with the same issues.

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Accepted Solution

antioed earned 2000 total points
ID: 21850577
Unfortunately, these problems are pretty common with this particular upgrade.

This link covers a few other things worth checking...would be great to know what you find out:


There are *numerous* reports of this problem with cache files and Outlook 2007.  That was the culprit for the problems my company had with this.  I have seen the *exact same behavior* when upgrading the Outlook client to v2007...why it works fine/better in v2003 and then has problems when migrated to '07?  Probably has to do with how '07 Outlook client is handling the file integrity of the cached file...one of those "this thing will protect your data" that actually screws things up...in this case, you take a significant performance hit.  A corrupted OST file could result in lost data/productivity for users...perhaps the side-effect of maintaining better overall file integrity is obvious performance degradation in the Client due to higher level of consistency checks being performed on a very large, highly fragmented OST file.  You should be able to test this out pretty easily...try taking the Outlook client out of "cached mode"...see if that changes performance.  If so, then maybe try shrinking a problem OST...see what that does.  Maybe you can get around this more quickly, assuming this is your problem, by just generating a new OST file (less performance hit in the Outlook client due to the new OST having cleaner file consistency resulting in more efficient integrity checks).  If a new OST file improves performance then you can just re-generate the cache files for your users by removing the Exchange account from Outlook and then adding it back.

LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 22463190
Apologies... pressed the wrong button there. Correct solution to follow.


Expert Comment

ID: 34884872
In spite of this question being marked as abandonned I thought I would be the best place to add this comment in case it helps someone else.  Long and short is that I started getting the usual pause symptoms out of nowhere when I had already taken a number of other steps (some time previously) to ensure best possible Outlook 2007 performance.  These included disabling all unnecessary addins, running in cached mode with fine-tuned settings, moving the Exchange server active node to different network locations, and moving my OST to a SSD (this made a LOT of difference immediately BTW).  Then all of a sudden I start getting pauses again.  These seemed to be associated with the indexer service, and with CPU spikes to 100% of one CPU but I couldn't be sure.  Eventually I found a posting (not sure where anymore sorry) that talked about OST maximum file sizes and I noticed that my OST was sitting just below 20GB in size (mailbox is about 5GB but for some reason OST generates to a lot bigger than this every time I recreate it).  I tweaked the registry (HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\PST --> MaxLargeFile=0x0000c800 and WarnLargeFileSize=0x0000be00 [those are just the sizes I decided to try, above 20GB] plus Outlook restart for good measure) and even tho the OST didn't grown above 20GB immeidately after this change, the pausing behaviour stopped immediately.  I notice Outlook still blips up the CPU in a similar manner to before, as does the indexer service, but there are no abnormal Outlook pauses so I'd suggest others consider whether the CPU is really directly related to the pauses too.  The hot tip here seems to be that if you are at the max OST/PST file size you can get pausing, perhaps whilst the file is being compacted in teh background, with no warning messages and without any restrictions (like not being able to send any new mails), which is good in some ways (can still operate Outlook) but bad in others (no warning). HTH someone.

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