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  1. #1
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    Outlook freezes when attaching files (2003/SP2)

    Periodically -- not always -- OL freezes for 60 seconds when I attach a file. The same thing happens when I try to forward a message that has a document attached -- so it's not simply the action of grabbing the document. It doesn't seem related to the file size -- it just happened with a 26KB file. It always happens the first time I try this action after starting up OL. After that, it's intermittent. I've tried 2 different anti-virus programs, and told both not to scan outbound email. That made no difference.

    In addition, when I try to open an attachment OL will sometime freeze for a minute. That's less common -- perhaps only because I do it less often.

    The symptom is that the Outlook screen turns into a blank white page with just the menu bar at the top. I can toggle to other programs, but not between OL and the open message. Task Manager says the program isn't responding. CPU activity is low -- usually 97% idle and OL is getting 1% or less of the CPU. After a minute, everything starts working normally.

    I think this began after upgrading from OL 2000 to 2003, though I'm not sure.

    I have XP's encryption turned on. Perhaps that's related.

    Any ideas?

    Robert

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Outlook freezes when attaching files (2003/SP2

    If you are using Exchange server, perhaps it's something on the server side? Of course, then many people probably would be affected...

  3. #3
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    Re: Outlook freezes when attaching files (2003/SP2

    No, this is a standalone system using Internet mail.

    Robert

  4. #4
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    Re: Outlook freezes when attaching files (2003/SP2

    I haven't received a solution to this and it's still a problem. I've determined that it only happens when I try to attach an MS Office document. There's no delay if I attach a PDF, Unfortunately, most of the time I'm sending Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files.

    It happens the first time I send an attachment after starting Outlook. I just tried two tests -- the first one took 90 seconds to attach a Word file. The second test with a Word file was immediate. I think it may recur later in the day, but since OL crashes periodically it's hard to say that that's not the cause.

    Here's what's occurred to me:
    1) A compatibility problem between OL 2003 and Office 2000. There are other symptoms that suggest this -- clicking on a link to a Word file in an email message sometimes causes similar behavior.
    2) It's caused by XP's encryption. But I don't see why PDF's would behave differently than Word files, or why it wouldn't happen every time.
    3) Software corruption.

    Any suggestions?

    Robert

  5. #5
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    Re: Outlook freezes when attaching files (2003/SP2

    In Exchange Messaging Outlook 22 July 2004, in the article titled "DOES YOUR EMAIL OPEN TOO SLOW?", someone mentions that turning off speech and handwriting recognition solved a similar problem. I don't know if it'll work for you, but it's worth a try. See How to turn off the speech recognition and the handwriting recognition features in Office 2003.

  6. #6
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    Re: Outlook freezes when attaching files (2003/SP2

    I don't think it will be encryption - I attach encrypted files to Outlook , and save Outlook attachment files to encrypted folders, without performance penalties.

    Does it make a difference if you use plain text message format and view all messages in plain text (Tools | Options | Preferences tab | Email Options dialog).

    This isn't likely to be a problem, because it's an issue related to attachment size rather than attachment type, but does performance improve if under Internet Explorer you reduce the number of days history in Temporay Internet Files (in IE Tools | Internet Options | General tab | Days to keep pages in history)? Outlook used to run into problems with running out of Temporary Internet File space, but that was solved with Xp and Outlook 2002 (SP2 if memory serves). I periodically clean my OLK temporary folder under the TIF anyway - in my XP installation it's under:

    Cocuments and Settings<username>rLocal SettingsTemporary Internet FilesOLK94

    But in your mix of products it may be elsewhere, look for a hidden folder starting with OLK that hangs from Temporary Internet Files, clean out anything you don't need.
    -John ... I float in liquid gardens
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  7. #7
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    Re: Outlook freezes when attaching files (2003/SP2

    Turning off speech and handwriting recognition didn't make a difference.

    Changing my mail composition format from HTML to Rich Text cured the problem instantly. THANK YOU!

    As an experiment, I changed the format back to HTML and restarted Outlook. It seems to be working properly now. Does that make any sense?

    Robert

  8. #8
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    Re: Outlook freezes when attaching files (2003/SP2

    There has been a recent Microsoft update (in May 2007) that causes typing in an HTML format e-mail in Outlook 2002 and 2003 to be extremely slow if you have SpywareBlaster and/or Spybot Search and Destroy installed and set to block nasty sites. This problem can be cured by not using HTML format or by starting Outlook in Outlook Today. But you didn't mention typing being slow...

  9. #9
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    Re: Outlook freezes when attaching files (2003/SP2

    I do have Spybot S&D installed. But the problem isn't slow typing.

    I thought that switching from HTML to RTF and back fixed it. But it's happening again, after restarting Outlook. I'll have to keep testing.

    Robert

  10. #10
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    Re: Outlook freezes when attaching files (2003/SP2

    Anyway, does it help if you set Outlook to start in Outlook Today? (Tools | Options..., Other tab, Advanced Options)

  11. #11
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    Re: Outlook freezes when attaching files (2003/SP2

    The problem will recur on every restart of Outlook. MS hasn't fixed this problem yet.
    -John ... I float in liquid gardens
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  12. #12
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    Re: Outlook freezes when attaching files (2003/SP2

    I don't see the Outlook Today option in the Startup In list. It looks like I would have to install an add-in to get that option.

    Sending messages in RTF format seems to fix the problem. I'm going to try that. I have it set to convert RTF to HTML for Internet messages (which are all of my messages). In tests sent to myself, the RTF messages look just like HTML messages (the last time I used RTF format -- years ago --some mail clients and listserves had problems reading it).

    If this fix isn't acceptable, I'll try installing the Outlook Today add-in.

    Thanks for the help.

    Robert

  13. #13
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    Re: Outlook freezes when attaching files (2003/SP2

    Using RTF or plain text only will indeed solve the problem.

    Outlook Today is not an add-in, it is the "root" of your mailbox. It may be called "Mailbox for rlweiner" or something like that on your PC.

  14. #14
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    Re: Outlook freezes when attaching files (2003/SP2

    Hans -- I don't see that option, either.

    John -- is this problem documented somewhere?

    Changing to RTF seems to completely fix it. I've restarted OL several times without it reoccurring.

    Robert

  15. #15
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    Re: Outlook freezes when attaching files (2003/SP2

    Which options are listed then?

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