Outlook 2007 hangs when attaching a PDF to email

Posted on 2011-03-16
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have a user on XP sp3 (up to date) who hangs Outlook 2007 every time she attaches a PDF to an email. The hang occurs after she selects the file from her folder, at the moment she clicks the Insert button. She "forgot" to tell me right away when it first started happening, but the timing seems to coincide with my updating Reader 9.4.2 to X. Outlook happily accepts all other file types I've tried without error or complaint. In fact, it will send the PDFs as well, if I simply remove the file extension before attaching them. If I don't, I can wait 5-10 minutes for the attachment to finally appear on the email, or I can kill Outlook in task manager and generate another event 5000. The files are just text, mostly around 125-150kb in size.

Funny thing is that she is running the same version of Adobe as all the other users, none of whom have this problem. We have a very vanilla app mix here; Office 2003 or 2007, Dynamics, Symantec, and mostly Adobe Readers plus a couple people on Pro. The only thing that I can think of that might be different in her case is that she recently had some disk issues, and I put her on a new disk just after the 1st of the year. I suppose it is possible that something in her system image was corrupt, but then, none of these errors occurred until after the first of this month. Unfortunately, I cannot restore her system to a date far enough back to be useful.

Here's a list of what I've tried so far, testing again after each step:
Ran checkdisk
Ran Office diagnostics; nothing found.
Archived most of her Sent Items and ran a Compact; current PST ~ 550 meg.
Deleted all temp files in Local Settings.
Deleted the Secure Temp folder contents.
Ran the disk cleanup tool and defrag.
Removed and reinstalled Acrobat Reader X.
Disabled Adobe's 'Secure Mode.'
Removed AV altogether.
Scanned the PC with a few of my favorite scanners; no malicious software found.
Pounded my head on my desk. Several times. No joy.
So later today I thought I'd check out her file associations and stare at Outlook addins. I am ready to give up and reinstall all on a freshly formatted disk, but I'm hoping that you folks will have ideas I haven't tried yet.
Question by:aprild
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Expert Comment

ID: 35152467
I would check windows update, check to see if any were installed before it started happening..

Check to see if this MS update is installed then remove. Removing this updatre solved Outlook freezing and locking up.


Author Comment

ID: 35152733

Oh yeah I heard about that thing--forgot. I just checked appwiz and doublechecked in sys32, but I do not see this number, so I don't think it is installed.

Before I checked back here and so your note, I also tried outlook with /safe and /cleanprofile, deleted all browsing history, reset all menus, and deleted Extend.dat, Frmcache.dat, and Outcmd.dat for good measure. App seems quite snappy, but it still pukes attaching a PDF. Also tried deleting and recreated that file association. Maybe I need to sacrifice something to the Outlook God?

Thanks for your idea, though. Cheered me up just to have a fresh idea :)

Expert Comment

ID: 35153136

Author Comment

ID: 35153640
Yes, I checked there. Sorry I wasn't quite clear; appwiz.cpl is the Add-Remove Programs control panel applet. I admit am a lazy typist.

Author Comment

ID: 35156892
This morning, I reinstalled the old version of Adobe, 9.4.0. This version executes without issue on the user's PC, and causes no hang in Outlook. I still have no idea why other users are able to run the newer version, while this particular user cannot.

It is my understanding that Adobe Reader uses Java, so perhaps a next step is to remove and reinstall Java. I see that I updated Java on 3/02, the same day I updated Adobe. Perhaps my order of execution for these updates was incorrect, or the Java patch experienced an issue that does not appear in the log.
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Expert Comment

ID: 35157177
I ve had issue with java running apps, I would delete all instances \ updates and install only one and teest withuot running any Java patches or updates.

Author Comment

ID: 35157491
OK, I will do that. Unfortunately, it has to wait until tomorrow; I can't get at that PC again today. I think I will try this:
Uninstall both products, reboot.
Install only Java, verify version, check error log.
Install Adobe X, try to reproduce the problem.
Does that order sound OK to you?

The other interesting event was that she tried to download a PDF report from an internal server, and hung IE (the cause of my visit this AM). This leads me to wonder if the installation fault was in the browser plugin, since the Reader itself did not appear to have issues. Do you happen to know if this component interacts with Outlook, or if there is something else common to Outlook and IE?

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I also tried updating the chipset and video drivers, as those can certainly hang Adobe, but apparently are not the issue in this instance.

Author Comment

ID: 35169406
Nope, that was not it.

Assisted Solution

aprild earned 0 total points
ID: 35191641
Well, I have determined that neither her Outlook profile nor her domain profile are the cause of the issue. Since we seem to be out of ideas, I have ordered some RAM and will reinstall and upgrade her system on Friday.

Accepted Solution

aprild earned 0 total points
ID: 35311666
Final update-
After reloading the operating system, I determined that the video driver originally provided by Dell was incorrect. I assume that the newer version of Adobe Reader uses features of the video driver that the older software did not, and this was the whole problem. Since the user has been back on this PC for a week without any further hangs, I am ready to call the matter resolved.

Thanks for pitching in, networkadminkjmc.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35349355
The condition was caused by a Dell driver error. Basically, nobody solved the issue, but reloading the operating system gave me an opportunity to do some additional testing.

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