Hate Microsoft Outlook? How to fix top annoyances

Microsoft Outlook is big, slow and quirky. Here's how to make it work better for you.

Now it's time to find out which add-in or add-ins are causing the crashes. There's no logical way to do this; you'll have to use the process of elimination. At the bottom of the screen, make sure that the COM Add-ins drop-down is selected, then click Go. You'll see a screen like the one pictured below.

Those add-ins that are active have check marks next to them; those without check marks are inactive. Uncheck the box of the add-in that you think might be causing the problem, click OK, and then close and restart Outlook. Outlook will now run, but the add-in will be inactive. If Outlook works properly, you've discovered the cause of your problem.

You can keep running Outlook with the add-in inactive or instead remove it from your system. Some add-ins can be removed using Windows' normal Uninstall routine. Others, though, won't be visible there. To remove those, get back to the screen you used for disabling add-ins. Highlight the add-in you want to remove and click Remove. Be careful before you do this, because you won't get a dialog box asking if you really want to remove it, as you do when you use Windows Uninstall. Click it, and it goes away immediately.

If it's an add-in that you would prefer to keep using, check with the publisher to see if there's a workaround or fix before deleting it.

Annoyance No. 6

My .pst file is corrupt. If you've used Outlook long enough, at some point, your .pst file may get corrupted and no longer load. What can you do?

How to fix it: First off, prevention is better than recovery. When .pst files get up to 2GB, they can easily become corrupt, so make sure that your .pst file does not get to be 2GB or larger in size. (See Annoyance No. 3 for details on how to find the location of your .pst file. Then simply open Windows Explorer, navigate to the correct location and click on the file icon to check its size.)

In addition, it's always a good idea to back up .pst files so you can revert to them if any gets corrupt. Now that you know where Outlook 2007 files reside, take advantage of that knowledge by making sure to back up those files regularly.

Now on to fixing the corrupt file. There's a free Microsoft utility called the Inbox Repair Tool that's designed to fix corrupt .pst files.

The file name is Scanpst.exe, and its location seems to vary from machine to machine, but a good place to look is in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12. Before running the program, back up your damaged .pst file. Then run the program (as you can see at right), choose your .pst file location and tell the program to do its work.

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Preston Gralla

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