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Outlook 365 Freezing for up to 30 seconds when opening email

I am having an issue with the Exchange account of a person in our company.  She uses Outlook 365 to access her Exchange account on our email host.   When she attempts to open an email, Outlook will freeze for 5 to 30 seconds.  If she already has an email open and she attempts to use the previous or next item arrows, the email will freeze, and a small blue circle will appear for the duration of the freeze.  
 What happened:
 A little over two weeks ago this user's hard drive became corrupted.  I installed a new SSD into a spare PC of the same model and specs and configured Windows and patched it up.  I then installed all of the normal productivity software including Office 365 which we started using in January of 2020.  I configured her Outlook to work with our email host and installed the new PC that evening.  I received a phone call the next morning from her and she told me she was having the problems I described above.  And there my troubles began.
 What have I done to try and fix this:
 Please keep in mind I have tried many of these solutions multiple times across many PCs.  
 -created and recreated profiles about 20 times
 -disabled graphics acceleration
 -I usually run accounts in cached mode but I have tried both on her machines multiple times.
 -disabled all add-ins.  Tried add-ins one at a time.  It isn't add-ins.
 -safe mode.  Yes.
 -Contacted the host's technical support because I became convinced that the account had become corrupted.  The tech set her account up on a VM and connected to the account using Outlook in cached mode.  The tech was able to open and close email on the virtual machine without a problem.  He insisted that I use AnyDesk to login to the VM to witness that it wasn't the account.
 -After that, I configured her old PC with a new SSD.  I just installed Windows 10 and Office 365.  Same problems.
 -After a week and a half into this, I became convinced it was the account and decided to move all of her email out of the account to a PST and delete the account.  After I deleted and recreated the account, I sent 6 test emails from various accounts. I had the same problems with just those six in the account.
 -  This weekend I configured a PC with 32 Gigs of RAM and a M.2 SSD.  I installed Windows 10 from an MS installation disk rather than the Dell restoration disk.  I installed Office 365 and then configured Outlook.  Same problems.
 I have spent the last two weeks reading the same solutions over and over again.  If anyone has some insights, I am open for suggestions.  Thank you.


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Robert Berke
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Andrew Porter
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Ouch. I can relate to problems like this...I've been there. Here are a few things to consider:

1. How large is her mailbox?
2. Have you tried having the user login via OWA on O365 to see if it behaves poorly there?
3. Does the user have any "server side" rules setup that could be contributing/causing?
4. Could the user have some other program that is causing a conflict?

Fellow Expert Andrew Leniart and I wrote some Outlook articles that discuss some good troubleshooting tips - some already listed above, I would look at Andrew's first as my pertains to password issues, but I mention using and installing ProcMon to look for conflicting apps or errors captured and also to check Event Viewer

Sometimes freezing can indicate odd behavior, such as malware or viruses - did you ensure there are no viruses on the station? Run a full AV scan on the safe side. Also, are they using different AV software than other users? Sometimes AV or security software can contribute to Outlook performance issues as well, so once you verify there are no viruses test temporarily disabling the AV.

If all else fails and our article troubleshooting tips do not help, I suggest raising a case to Microsoft support as they have helped pinpoint unusual issues.
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Robert Berke
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Thank you both for being helpful.  
1-It was about 3.5 GB at the time the original hard drive crashed.  It is about 250 MB now.  Before the crash, she had no trouble with the account.  This was also on a 7200 rpm mechanical hard drive.
2-Yes.  She is actually using OWA because the lag is getting to her.  She doesn't have issues with the webmail.
3-She wouldn't know how to do anything like that. She is very smart but she isn't tech literate.  Those problems would have gone away when I deleted the original account too I believe.
4-It isn't likely.  She isn't someone who would install a policy non-compliant piece of software.  I am having the same problem on the barebones PCs that I am setting up was well.

1-Yes indeed.  I patched up all three of the new Win10 installs.  On the one she is currently using, on the second SSD and on the M.2.  I have also been walking back updates one at a time on the current test PC to see if one of the them was the culprit with no luck so far.  
2-Those updates are also done.
3-I used the tool multiple times on the different drives on different applications.  The only error that appears is an Office 365 SSL cert validation failure.  I am not certain if this would cause the problem I am having now with her.  I ran the tool on my installation of Outlook and I seem to be having the same issue but my Outlook is functioning fine.  I suspect that the cert problem would appear on the other PC in my network.  
4-I did.  I have also tried creating new profiles and removing old OST files and allowing new ones to be created.
5-She has a number of old PSTs but none of them are attached right now.  There is one attached to the profile with the email I removed from the account before I deleted it.  There are no PSTs attached to the PC I am testing on.  
6-I will look over your articles and see if there is a solution in there for this problem.
7-Both of the test PCs I configured, the one with the new SSD and the one with the M.2, exhibited the problem on with Outlook so I don't think it is an infection.  The latest test PC only has Windows 10 and Office installed.  

Thanks again for the input.  
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Thanks for your input as well.  

1-I will give that tool a try in the morning.
2-That was a bit of snark on my part.  Running Outlook in safe mode is on every trouble shooting list. I will give dual safe modes a try tomorrow but I am not certain anything will come of it.
3-All of the updates including hardware and BIOS updates are done.  
4-This could be it.  I do have a Win 2012 file server here in the office. I am not certain why I wasn't looking at active directory before.  Tomorrow I will create a second account for her on the server and create a new account on the PC based upon that to see if the Outlook problems go away.

Thanks again.  
Tomorrow I will create a second account for her on the server and create a new account on the PC based upon that to see if the Outlook problems go away.

Definitely sounds good. It will be interesting to see the results of that.

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Robert Berke
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My previous suggestion was to create Mary2@yourdomain.com and try it on SamsComputer.
But, I have an even easier test that does not require a Mary2 account.
Please note, I am assuming both employees are using the same email host. For instance Mary@emailHost.com and Sam@emailHost.com.
If I am wrong, the following suggestion will be less useful.
For discussion let’s say Server 2012 has these two Server2012 login names.
Mary1@yourdomain whose Outlook hangs on 3 different computers including a barebones computer.
Sam1@yourdomain whose Outlook does not hang on SamsComputer.
You should configure Sam’s Outlook to have two profiles – his original Outlook profile will be untouched, plus a new outlook profile for testing Mary.
If Mary’s email profile hangs, and Sam’s email profile does not, I think you have to go back to the emailHost provider and escalate their troubleshooting.
 ---- Details ----
All of the following can be done with the Sam1@yourdomain account on SamsComputer
Sign off as Sam1, then sign back on as Sam1. (It is always nice to start your testing from a clean signon)
Close Outlook > Control Panel > Mail (32 bit) >  Show Profiles >
> Select “Prompt for a profile to be used” radio button  > Apply >
> click Add
> Type “Mary July 2021 Test” into Profile Name > OK
Set all  Mary@emailHost.com parameters. (I am sure you know how to do that and how to see the automatic test message that Outlook will send.)
> Close the Mail (32) bit profile builder >
> Start Outlook.  Sam will be given the opportunity to test Mary’s email profile.  
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Robert and Jazz.  Thank you both very much.  I used ProcExp on the new test machine.  I right clicked on Outlook.exe in the process list and chose Properties.  I went to the TCP/IP tab and I noticed in addition to the email hosts address there was an unresolved IP address.  Every time I opened an email in her Outlook there would be an attempt to access the IP along with a five to ten second freeze of the program. It turns out that IP belongs to Outlook.com.  I scan secure traffic passing through my firewall and that was blocking the connection.  I don't use hosted email through Microsoft but the version of Office 365 I use at our work place is hosted on Microsoft's servers.  I am not certain if this is something that happens when I install a current version of Office 365 or if my email host is adding something during the auto discovery process.  I have cases opened for both products so hopefully I will have this completely resolved soon. Thanks again.  
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Robert Berke
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Thanks for marking me as the "solver", but you deserve the credit for using ProcExp.  Unresolved address often hang thing for many seconds/ After windows wait for a while, it gives up and takes the whatever default action is appropriate.

I wonder what the address was? Did you enter wrong data for incoming or outgoing servers in the Outlook Profile? I am looking forward to hearing the final resolution.
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Robert Berke
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Did the Event Viewer show anything associated with the unresolved IP address? If so please post the associated events.

This would be very helpful to me for a different EE question that is related to Outlook hangs.

rberke (aka UncleBob)

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Thanks again.  The unresolved IP addresses were all outlook.com address.  I looked them up on mxtoolbox.com and sure enough they all had outlook.com mx records.  Once I whitelisted outlook.office365.com the freezing immediately stopped.  The host I have uses auto-discovery for configuring Outlook so I don't enter information Outlook for connecting the account.  I just enter account and the password and two-factor.  I am thinking that either something in the installation of Office 365 or in the auto-discovery process from the host is adding in outlook.office365.com as a host.  I have ticket in with MS and the host.  I am hoping I can get an answer from them soon.  I didn't see anything in the event viewer but that may have been tunnel vision on my part.  I was looking for a conflict between applications.  I had dismissed a network problem earlier on because I had worked with Windows firewall to make certain it wasn't blocking the host and I had all of the host traffic whitelisted in my system firewall. 
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Robert Berke
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I had hoped you would find an event id that corresponded to the 30 second delays.  Sadly, it is often difficult to definitively say "No there was no such event id" so I am not surprised about your response.

Thanks, the specific idea of white listing outlook.office365.com is helpful.  I will add that trick to my toolbox.


Microsoft Outlook is a personal information manager from Microsoft, available as a part of the Microsoft Office suite. Although often used mainly as an email application, it also includes a calendar, task manager, contact manager, note-taker, journal, and web browser.

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