Troubleshooting Outlook's Slow Loading: How to Improve Performance and Speed

Reasons for Outlook’s Slow Loading

Several factors can affect the performance of Microsoft Outlook and cause it to load emails slowly. Although many issues can influence the overall speed and responsiveness of this tool, we will focus on two key areas: the presence of RSS feeds and the number of COM add-ins. Let's have a look at these two factors in detail.

Presence of RSS Feeds

RSS feeds (or Really Simple Syndication feeds) allow users to access the most recent updates from their favorite blogs or websites directly via their mail client. While this service can be highly beneficial, having too many active RSS feeds can give rise to performance issues with Outlook and slow down its loading times.

When a user subscribes to multiple RSS feeds, Outlook has to retrieve and download these updates, which can require a significant amount of bandwidth and processing power. This can slow down Outlook's operation, particularly when loading new emails. Therefore, disabling RSS feeds that are not essential can help improve the speed of Outlook's email load times.

Too Many COM Add-ins

COM add-ins (or Component Object Model add-ins) are third-party plugins designed to extend the capabilities of Microsoft Outlook. Users can integrate different applications with Outlook by using these add-ins. While useful, they can also be a common cause of Outlook's slow performance when used excessively.

Each COM add-in that a user loads into Outlook requires memory and processing power. If too many add-ins are enabled simultaneously, it can significantly slow down Outlook's performance, and cause the slow loading of emails. Therefore, it's advised to limit the number of add-ins running concurrently and disable any that are not currently needed to enhance Outlook's performance.

Disabling RSS Feed Feature

If you find that the number of active RSS feeds is causing Outlook to load emails slowly, you might try disabling this feature. Doing so can conserve resources and significantly enhance Outlook's overall performance. Here are the steps that you need to follow:

Open “File” Tab in Outlook

Start Microsoft Outlook and navigate to the upper-left corner of the window. Click on the "File" option in the menu bar to access the dropdown menu. This will lead you to the main Outlook options.

Click on “Options”

When the dropdown menu under the "File" tab appears, locate and click on the "Options" button. This action will open a new dialog box displaying various settings that can be adjusted according to your needs.

Switch to the “Advanced” Pane

In the dialog box that opens once you've clicked on "Options", you'll find a navigation pane on the left. Look through the list and select the "Advanced" option. This will further display a series of settings on the right side of the dialog box.

Uncheck RSS Feeds Boxes

Within the "Advanced" option, locate the "RSS Feeds" section. Under this section, you will find several checkboxes related to RSS feeds, such as 'Synchronize RSS Feeds to the Common Feed List'. Uncheck all these boxes to disable the RSS feeds feature completely. This will stop Outlook from continuously checking for and downloading updates from the RSS feeds.

Confirm Actions by Clicking “OK”

Once you've unchecked all the boxes related to RSS feeds, don't forget to save your changes. Scroll to the bottom of the "Advanced" dialog box and click the "OK" button. This action will implement the changes and close the dialog box. After performing these steps, restart Microsoft Outlook to ensure the changes have taken effect.

Disabling COM Add-ins

In case you notice Outlook loading slowly, it's worth considering disabling COM Add-ins. These are third-party plugins that connect and add functionality to Outlook, but can also slow down the application when too many are activated concurrently. Here are the steps to disable COM Add-ins:

Access “File” Button in Outlook

First, open Microsoft Outlook. In the menu bar at the top of the screen, you'll see the "File" tab. Click on this to open up further options.

Select “Options”

From the dropdown menu that appears, choose "Options". This will bring up a new dialog box, where Outlook allows you to modify various settings.

Switch to the “Add-ins” Tab

In the dialog box that pops up, go to the left-hand pane and select the "Add-ins" tab. This brings up a list of all the add-ins currently installed in your Outlook.

Set 'Manage' Option to "COM Add-ins"

At the bottom of the "Add-ins" tab, you'll find a drop-down menu labeled 'Manage'. Set its value to "COM Add-ins". This action will display only the COM Add-ins installed in Outlook.

Open and Uncheck All COM Add-ins

Next, click on the "Go" button next to the 'Manage' drop-down menu. This will open a dialog box displaying all the active COM Add-ins. Uncheck all the boxes to disable these add-ins.

Confirm by Clicking “OK”

After unchecking all the boxes, click on the "OK" button to save the changes you've made. Usually, you'll need to restart Outlook to let the changes take effect. By disabling the COM Add-ins, you should notice an improvement in Outlook's speed when loading emails.

Other Solutions to Improve Loading Speed

There are a myriad of ways to improve the speed at which Outlook loads emails. Working with huge data files, having hardware acceleration enabled, and improper AutoArchive settings can all impact performance. Here's what you can do:

Compact the Data File Associated to Your Email Account

Over time, your Outlook mailbox can grow large, slowing down the speed at which Outlook loads messages. By compacting the PST data files associated with your mailbox, you could alleviate this issue. To do this, open Outlook and navigate to File > Info > Account Settings > Account Settings. From here, under the Data Files tab, select the PST file associated with your account and click "Settings". You'll find a "Compact Now" button - clicking it will compress your PST file, saving space and potentially speeding up Outlook.

Disable the Hardware Acceleration Feature

Outlook's hardware acceleration feature can sometimes lead to slower performance, especially if your computer's hardware is not sufficiently robust. Disabling this feature may result in Outlook running more smoothly. In Outlook, you can disable hardware acceleration by going to File > Options > Advanced > Display and then checking the box for "Disable hardware graphics acceleration".

Adjust AutoArchive Settings or Disable it

Outlook's AutoArchive feature, if not properly configured, can also slow down the loading of emails. This feature moves older items to an archive folder, which helps to keep your mailbox from becoming too large. You might want to adjust these settings so that only emails older than a particular age are archived, or you could disable the feature entirely. You can access these settings via File > Options > Advanced > AutoArchive Settings.

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