Frequently, Outlook 2003 would not start smoothly, sometimes freezes

The company has Exchange 2003 (part of SBS2003) and 40 Outlook users (Outlook 2003/2007)
ONLY ONE user has this problem for a year now.
- This user restarts her PC at 4pm everyday before going home. She comes back to work every morning before 7am.  She logs in her PC then launches Outlook. She is doing this for years and this is her habit. She does not want to change it. Well, i do not think this habit is the culprit of the problem.

- Very frequently (but not always), her Outlook will not open smoothly in the morning when she tries to launch it. It frequently freezes. A restart of her computer usually does not fix the problem. So I asked her to use OWA to work on her emails if the problem happens, which worked fine. I start my day a few hours later than her. When I sit in front of her computer to look into this problem, I am usually able to launch Outlook fine without a problem.

What I have done
- Created new Outlook profile a few times in the past year
No joy
- Detect and Repair
In Outlook | Help | Detect and Repair
No joy
- Re-registered dll files OLE32.DLL and INETCOMM.DLL
No joy
- Replaced the nic
No joy

What I have NOT done
- reinstall Outlook 2003
- reinstall MS Office 2003
- re-create her user account and mailbox on server

During my troubleshooting, I noticed a few things as below

- "Check Name" is too slow
When I created a new profile in Outlook and setup her email account, I typed in server name and her first name and clicked "Check Name" button, it took quite long to resolve her user name. For other users, this process is almost instant to finish. But it might take a minute on her computer to resolve her user name. At one time, I was even prompted the message  "Your Microsoft Exchange Server is unavailable".

-  "Your Microsoft Exchange Server is unavailable"
This message could also occur in the following situations as well
1. When trying to review her email settings
    Control Panel | Profile | Account | Change
2. When opening Outlook (I am not 100% sure about this)

The problem has calmed down for a few months, but it came back again yesterday morning and this morning.

Any ideas my friends?


Y YconsultantAsked:
Who is Participating?
Y YconsultantAuthor Commented:
This is an update -
The problem persisted even she did not close Outlook in the evenings.

Her computer had no viruses/spyware. Her mailbox was not huge. Pinging the server got quick response. I was tired of troubleshooting in further. Her compter was too old (7 yrs) anyway, so I simply replaced it with a newer one running Outlook 2007. Ever since then, the problem was gone. At least, so far so good.

Thank you all for the help


Please walk up to her at 3:58pm and watch how she restarts her computer. I'm suspecting she hard boots it, instead of the graceful reboot.
Also check for rootkits/viruses/spyware... they can cause weird issues like this.
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.

Y YconsultantAuthor Commented:
I just confirmed with her that it is always a graceful reboot. By the way, she is an experienced user.
She is an experienced and very cautious user, her computer is "very" clean.
Y YconsultantAuthor Commented:
I just talked to her. She will not reboot her computer in the next few days, will see if this happens again

ok, then how big is her mailbox, and does she get a lot of mails, and how is her network connection to the mail server. all of these could contribute to the sluggish behavior. Also, does she have any addons on outlook?
Y YconsultantAuthor Commented:
thanks, netcmh,
Her mailbox size is 1.5GB, not the largest one in the company at all.
I have disabled all addons in her Outlook yesterday, but the problem happened again this morning.

Regarding her network connection, this is a good question.
The connection seems to be fine. Her internet works, her OWA works. Her problem is her Outlook only. I will connect her PC to a different wall jack, this will be one of my next troubleshooting steps.

check also the ping times to the Exchange server (maybe a faulty port on a switch somewhere) could be causing this.
Y YconsultantAuthor Commented:
thanks ajmehta,
it makes sense. it will be one of my next steps of troubleshooting
Y YconsultantAuthor Commented:
Replacing the computer fixed the problem.
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.