Outlook 2007 hangs and/or crashes on specific messages

I have a client that is having a problem with just a few messages in Outlook.  When these messages are opened, either with the Reading Pane or by double-clicking, it takes 45-60 seconds for the message to open, during which time Outlook is completely unresponsive (additional clicking will yield the all-too-familiar "Not Responding" in the title bar until the message finishes opening).  Once open, the message can be browsed and the attachment opened with no hesitations or delays, but Outlook crashes on any attempt to Reply or Forward (the crash doesn't occur until you hit "Send").

I thought at first it was an attachment issue:  each of the affected messages has an attached Excel spreadsheet that is about 600 KB in size.  But I don't think that's the issue, because there are other messages in the same mailbox with similar Excel attachments that open up immediately.

I've compacted the .pst file, run the Office Diagnostics, reregistered ole32.dll (some of the messages had tables in them, so I thought that might be relevant at the time) and ensured that all the latest patches and service packs are in place.  I've tried restarting Outlook in Safe Mode.  I even defragged the hard drive (desperation move).  None of this made the slightest difference.

I dug through the message headers, and compared them to headers in other messages that open immediately, and I found one consistent difference that I think may be relevant:  In the affected (slow to open) messages, the "Thread-Index" header is HUGE.  Here is a sample of the Thread-Index header from one of the affected messages:
Thread-Index: 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
      JBhykAM/57SgCP/hWFAAH0srQALES42AABTbsyAAGvZJsACDbLCwAAJl2oAACBHk0ABDpD/QAihU+yAAA2/jkACONRWAACRLt9AAB10hwAAM+27wDzybcGAAB4hCUABmWOKwAp7Yk8AAS7Ze8AAH4qLwAF5rSgAAHPeykAASzYdABUv8MdAAhgMoMABHP3UwABOZVrAC39mhoAlZff0gADdoZyAAIDFKQALFcQngAAwRCXAAMy9IwAARoIrQAsX65HAAKV6HkABgNzZAAkpJ/7ADJ/FGAACC+mIQCbxXOfAC3ppqYAATcKVQAy5amwAANhFi4AHoDmawA4fAhFABEWRzcAge0KXAAE/900ADLOHq8AClYrGAJ9/avdAAgc7T0AAzgU0AAFvgDpAC2MLAwALiD3HQAElWYBAAEd8vkAAHvtkgAC6uKcAOmaHxIAASwN+gAKOLYSAASk4LIAMCnUugAA2zQgAANPzUkALHAFcAAAsMeoAAC1M9cAATnwwgAnfUM2AAkDBqAAKGUP7gANTFcoALlkcNsADHeKGgAA9ICGAAWGboEAKbpXIQACFKC3ADE4WOsAAYVvdAAE87mfACOXGRQACr88LQABZBLlAAH1JMYAjtjgZgABiwKfAAC2IBkAAWBnYQAj9q4WAAn5BaAAKJykqQALj6NOAAQaVOkAIyGvpQAARHMUAADhT5MACbJBYAABKPvGADA0w4AABiAmcwCP5kv4AAJj5xIABZx2vwAsL+W5AAIzbf0AMI8aSwAAU38yAATKfJoAAU8QOwAo4L7sAAYZ25wAJn7D1QCUbxWpAAlRx1wABOf1SgAi1eK7AAkDBo0AA4mYtgABnuq5AAPXUF8AIKiYbgAEMhNaAAgqGVgALH01BwAEDz1/AAcdQYQALeKdPgCK41UdAArAqBYAM9UV1gAAjkDXACP8L6oAAbP6rgAAv3NbAAZQIHIALiaYfwAIlerdAAIo5bMAJOzafwAHS/vS
      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

Now, I'm no authority on e-mail headers, but I'm pretty sure this isn't normal.  A little Google research revealed that this header is apparently used by Microsoft mail servers (i.e. Exchange) to track a threaded conversation - a chain of replies and forwards and such.  Based on the contents of the e-mail (which doesn't show a long chain of replies or forwards at all) and from what I could tell from the Google results, this header should be much, MUCH shorter.

But that's where I'm stalled.  I have no idea what to do about this.  As far as I know, other recipients of this message aren't having the same problem, so I'm reluctant to start pointing fingers at the sender.  On the other hand, the recipient wouldn't have anything (directly) to do with this header, would it?
And for that matter, I'm not completely certain that this header is what's causing the symptoms.  I mean, it seems to be the most likely culprit.  So, if anyone has any suggestions, either for alleviating the symptoms or for dealing with the over-sized Thread-Index header (which will, hopefully, alleviate the symptoms), I am all ears.

:)

P.S.  I don't have direct physical access to this machine; but I can do just about anything we might need to do remotely through TeamViewer (the machine is in a somewhat distant geographical location).  I can get physical access if it becomes necessary, but it will take a bit of time.  Also, for the convenience of the user, I'm mostly working on this after hours.  On top of that, I have a number of school projects coming due this weekend.  So my follow up responses may be a little slow, and may come at odd hours.  Bear with me!  Oh, and thanks in advance for your help!  ;)
LVL 10
TekServerAsked:
Who is Participating?
 
TekServerAuthor Commented:
Hmm, it would appear that the waters have become too muddy, and people are becoming reluctant to dive into this one.

Let me clear things up a bit:  I finally managed to ask the client the right questions, and found out that at least two other recipients of these messages are having the exact same problems - slow opening, and Outlook crashes if they try to forward the message.  So I have asked that the sender of the messages be informed, and that his IT support troubleshoot the problem from that end, as it now looks like it's a sender problem.

Furthermore, the problems I described above in the Excel spreadsheet appear to also be related.  Let me explain:  the spreadsheet in question, it turns out, was constructed over time by copying cells from the spreadsheets attached to the by-now-infamous e-mails and pasting them into a spreadsheet on her desktop.  So it is now my belief that some corruption, either in Outlook or Excel (or both) on the sender's side is responsible for the e-mail problems AND for corrupting my client's spreadsheet.  This was supported when the client (without any prompting from me, proving she actually does have a pretty good head on her shoulders) opted to delete her spreadsheet and recreate it from data in Excel spreadsheets sent to her by different people from the same company as the original sender.  Her newly created spreadsheet has (thus far, at least) given her no problems.

So, unless someone objects, I'm going to try and close this question with this post selected as the Answer, and the points split among those who contributed, because there was a lot of good troubleshooting advice there that should be rewarded.

Thanks all!
:)
0
 
Magnus BIT-supportCommented:
Hi
Try these steps
1. Start Outlook with /safe switch (START > Run > Outlook /safe) and see if you get same issue. This step can help narrow the error down to addins and such.
2. Start Outlook with /CleanProfile switch. This switch recreates the default registry keys for Outlook.
3. Run this command. START > Run > regsvr32 inetcomm.dll (This is for Send/Receive function)
 
//MadJax
0
 
MidnightOneCommented:
See if the same behavior persists in outlook web access.

If it doesn't happen in OWA, have him forward the message to your account, then have him and you reply back and forth on the message, with the attachment, to see if you can reproduce the same error.

Also, check the size of the PST file. Despite the limits on PSTs being lifted in Outlook 2007, large PSTs are still fraught with problems; if they have their own Exchange server, PSTs are just plain stupid.
0
Ultimate Tool Kit for Technology Solution Provider

Broken down into practical pointers and step-by-step instructions, the IT Service Excellence Tool Kit delivers expert advice for technology solution providers. Get your free copy now.

 
TekServerAuthor Commented:
@MadJax:  I've tried Outlook Safe Mode - no difference.  I haven't tried the CleanProfile switch (I forgot about that one), so I'll try that this evening.  I'll also re-register the inetcomm.dll and see if that helps.

@MidnightOne:  No Exchange server on the recipient side (it's just a basic POP account), so no OWA.
I tried to forward the message to my account, and Outlook crashed every time I clicked "Send".  Oh, hey, that gives me an idea, though; I'm going to save the message off as a .msg file, file transfer it to my computer, and then open it up with my Outlook and see if it does the same thing ...
The .pst file was nearly 4 GB; compacting it reduced it to just under 2 GB, but made no difference in the symptoms.  And I agree about the inadvisability of using .pst files in an Exchange environment, but unfortunately that doesn't apply here.

I'll post back here once I get a chance to try these things and let you know what happens.
Thanks!
:)
0
 
L3370Commented:
If it's a few messages, I'd just delete them and save yourself the labor.

If the messages are important, copy/paste the text and attachments to a new email and have the user send it to themselves.
0
 
TekServerAuthor Commented:
Unfortunately, the recipient is a dispatcher for a small trucking company, and the messages are delivery requests from one of their clients.  She usually only gets a few of them each day, but they are a regular occurrence, so we'll need to figure out something more permanent than a copy/paste solution (though I like the idea).

Also unfortunately, I never got the chance to contact the customer today; I wanted to verify whether or not other recipients were having the same symptoms or not.  (Just because that information wasn't volunteered doesn't mean it's not happening, as I'm sure you all well know ... )

And yet more unfortunately, apparently she turned her machine off when she left this afternoon, so no remote access this weekend.  So happy weekend all, and we'll start this up again Monday!

;)
0
 
L3370Commented:
Oooh so it's coming up in new messages?...hmm.  Does this problem manifest itself only within pst's or will the message do the same thing if it was still in the exchange mailbox?
Also, does the pst reside on that local computer?
0
 
TekServerAuthor Commented:
I have only seen the problem on the recipient's end (POP mailbox stored in a .pst file), but I have no access to or control over the sender.  I'm relatively certain, given the header information, that the sender is using an account on an Exchange box.

And yes, the .pst is on the local computer; it resides in the default location (c:\documents and settings\<user>\local settings\application data\microsoft\outlook\outlook.pst).

:)
0
 
TekServerAuthor Commented:
Sorry, it took me a while to get back to this.  Okay, new results from troubleshooting and/or more info:

  • Outlook.exe /CleanProfile - no difference
  • Reregister inetcomm.dll - no change
  • I successfully saved the message as a .msg file, and file transferred it to my shop.  I tried it on two different computers, one with Outlook 2007 and one with Outlook 2003.  The first (2007) showed exactly the same symptoms - long time to open, crash on attempt to forward.  The one with Outlook 2003 opened the message much faster, but was still a bit slow, and still crashed on attempt to forward.  So overall, the symptoms seem to follow the message.
  • I tried (for the heck of it) to run a repair install on Office (Add/Remove Programs -> Change -> Repair).  No change.
  • The client claims that no other recipients are experiencing this problem.  I find this difficult to believe, given the above observations, so I'm going to clarify this again to be sure.
  • The client also told me about another symptom, which either wasn't mentioned before or else I missed it, and which may or may not be related.  (This will take a bit of explaining, so bear with me ... )  Apparently, when the client receives these e-mails, she opens the attachment (an Excel spreadsheet), copies a half dozen or so cells to the clipboard, then opens a spreadsheet she maintains on her desktop and pastes the copied cells into it.  (This part is working).  Then, apparently, she creates a new e-mail (or possibly a Reply or Forward; I need to clarify that part too), and Copies/Pastes those same new cells into it (apparently right into the body of the message) to send off to someone else.  This process is reportedly causing the computer to "Lock Up".  (I tested this:  I opened the Excel spreadsheet on her desktop and a brand new, blank e-mail; I copied 6 cells from the spreadsheet, and pasted them into the body of the blank e-mail, and waited.  After about 10 minutes of watching the hourglass, the cells finally showed up in the e-mail, but the hourglass was still present and the e-mail window unresponsive.  For the next 45 minutes, the hourglass remained, and the Outlook, new mail, and Excel windows all remained unresponsive.  Task Manager showed Excel using 25-30% CPU usage, and Outlook using 5-10%; terminating Excel freed the Outlook windows.)
Have I muddied the waters sufficiently?  Sorry for the curveballs; I have to deal with the info I'm given ... :\

Oh, one other bit of info that's probably not relevant (but I'll include it just in case):  Apparently there is an issue with Outlook where you can only open attachments with the same name up to 99 times - on the 100th attempt Outlook won't open the file, because of naming issues in Outlook's temp files (it will only append the numbers (1) through (99) to identically named attachment files).  The solution, if identically named files are received often, is apparently to find and manually clear the Outlook cache periodically.  The client experienced this issue (because the Delivery Request attachment always has the same name), and has been trained by a previous technician to clear the Outlook cache herself every 2 weeks or so.

Thanks so much for helping me out with this.  Let me know if you think the "copy/paste" issue is separate and unrelated and needs its own question, and I'll open it in a Related Question.  (Personally, at this point I think it's related, but I'm not sure how; maybe an OLE issue?)  As always, I welcome any suggestions!

:)
0
 
TekServerAuthor Commented:
Update:  I have confirmation from the client that no one else is experiencing ANY of the symptoms of these problems.
I've asked her to have one of the other dispatchers send a copy of the Delivery Request e-mail they received both to her and to me, for comparison purposes.  I also asked that she have them send me and her a copy of their spreadsheet, so I can test the second issue on their file as well.

The logical conclusion at this point, it seems to me at any rate, would be that something is corrupting these files (or has already done so) on her computer.  I'm thinking that if we can't figure this out by the weekend, it'll be time to cut our losses, rip Office 2007 out of the computer by its roots, and reinstall it.

Let me know what you think!
:)
0
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.