Does your Outlook crashes when you are sending messages or receiving emails? Does your Outlook shows ‘Outlook not responding error’, or ‘Outlook stuck on a screen that says – Processing’? There are many factors which cause Microsoft Outlook to crash or stop responding. It is necessary to find the real cause of ‘Outlook crashing or stop responding’ issue before attempting to troubleshoot it.

Simple Outlook issues may get resolved with system-reboot but some issues arise due to corruption in Outlook data files and may require file repair.

This article presents the solutions to troubleshoot ‘Outlook Crash or Stop Responding’ issue. But before moving on to steps, try out the following basic measures:

Check for Windows and Office Updates:

You can check for the latest updates. Setting Windows update to ‘automatically download and install recommended updates’ helps in replacing outdated files and fixing vulnerabilities.



Figure 1: Activate Office and Windows Updates

Click the following link to install the latest Windows and Office updates: Keep Windows up to date with the latest Updates.

Start Outlook in Safe Mode:

Starting Outlook in Safe mode helps in fixing ‘Processing screen’ issue. You can open Microsoft Outlook in safe mode by using the following steps:

  1. Close Outlook
  2. Launch Outlook in safe mode with the help of following steps:
    • For Windows 10, go to Start. Type Outlook.exe /safe and press Enter
    • For Windows 7, go to Start. Locate Search Program and Files box, type Outlook.exe /safe and press Enter
    •  For Windows 8, go to Run and type Outlook.exe /safe and press OK.
    • Close Outlook and open normally.

Figure 2: Open Outlook in Safe mode

If Outlook is still stuck at a screen that say ‘Processing’, it means opening Outlook in Safe mode doesn’t resolve the issue.

Methods (or ways) to Troubleshoot Outlook Crash or Stop Responding Issue

  1. Check if any dialog box is open
  2. Ensure that Outlook is not working on a large process
  3. Repair the Office program
  4. Repair Outlook data file (PST)
  5. Create a new user profile

1.     Check if any dialog box is open:

You might have come across some dialog box from Outlook which asks for confirmation. For example when you trying to ‘Dismiss All’ in reminders, Outlook asks if you are sure you want to do that. You might forget to make a selection, and then completely forget about it, but Outlook gets stuck and doesn’t allow you to perform any further action on the email client.

Press Alt+Tab to switch from one window to another and check which dialog box is stopping Outlook from responding.



1.     Ensure that Outlook is not working on a large process

Sometimes your request to move or delete emails with large attachments may appear to be an ‘Outlook hang’ issue, but in reality, Outlook is working behind the scenes.

Check status bar displayed in blue at the bottom of Outlook screen. It will provide the status for the process working in backend, which has caused the Outlook to get stuck.

Wait for Outlook to finish the process, and it should start working again.

 

2.     Repair the Office program (meant for issues in Office 2016, 2013)

Repairing the Office program repairs the errors in Office files, automatically.

  1. Close all Office programs that are running
  2. Go to Control Panel and click Programs and Features
  3. From the list of installed programs, right click Microsoft Office 2016 or 2013 and click Change

This will help you to fix the issue by repairing your Office programs. If the issue is not fixed, then repair ‘Outlook data files’.

3.     Repair Outlook data files

Outlook not responding or crashing issue can be resolved by repairing the Outlook data files. There are two ways to repair corrupt PST viz. use Scanpst.exe, use PST repair software, as follows:

A.      Using Scanpst.exe or Inbox Repair Tool

Scanpst.exe is inbuilt repair utility in Outlook, which can scan Outlook data files and repair corruption. Following are the steps to use Scanpst.exe:

  1. Exit Microsoft Outlook and start Scanpst.exe utility
  2. You can start the exe file automatically or manually. Check the Outlook setting and use the right method.
  3. Open link Repair Outlook Data Files (.pst and .ost) and follow the steps to repair PST file.


Scanpst.exe repairs the Outlook PST file, and has certain limitations:

  1. If Outlook data file is available in .ost format then Scanpst cannot repair file. From Outlook 2013 and later, Exchange, iMAP and Outlook create an OST file. To use Scanpst.exe, you need to create a PST file as a backup. But, when Outlook crashes or stops responding then you can’t export Outlook contents to a PST file.
  2. Scanpst repairs corrupt PST file and includes all the repaired items in the ‘Lost and Found’ folder. But, when you open this folder, it is always found to be empty. All the repaired items are lost and never recovered by inbuilt repair utility.
  3. Repair utility cannot repair large PST files.
  4. In case of severe corruption, ScanPST fails.
  5. ScanPST does not repair network-located PST files.

Or also you can use any PST repair software that can help to reconstruct mailbox data and maintains data integrity, thus resolving ‘Outlook crash or stop responding issue’. A good point is that you can recover complete mailbox data along with deleted emails by using graphical user interface of tool. You can then export the repaired PST to Microsoft Outlook or Office 365

 

1.       Create a new user profile

When repair utility fails, try to create a new Outlook profile and add your email account to new profile.

The following steps help in creating a new user profile:

  1. Go to Show Profiles
    1. For Windows 10, go to Start. Type Control Panel and press Enter. Select Microsoft Outlook’s User Account followed by Mail and Show Profiles.

b.      For Windows 8, open Apps menu, go to Control Panel and select Mail and then Show Profiles.

c.       For Windows 7, go to Start and type Control Panel. Select Mail followed by Show Profiles.

  1. Click Add, and Profile Name box opens. Type a profile name and click OK.
  2. Enter an email address and a password for the primary email account you use in Outlook. Follow the steps to create profile.
  3. A profile is created. On Show Profiles dialog, choose Prompt for a profile to be used.
  4. Open Outlook and verify your new profile.

Creating a new profile can resolve the problem of Outlook crashing or not responding. Return to Show Profiles dialog and delete your old profile. The only drawback with this method is that old data cannot be retrieved in all cases.

 Conclusion

‘Outlook crashing or stop responding’ issue is experienced by many Outlook users and may get displayed as follows.



It is obvious to panic if such an error message appear, but taking the right approach resolves the error and relieves you of the panic situation.

This article is a great resource for dealing with such situations. Outlook crash or not responding errors occur mostly due to corrupt data files, therefore you should adopt the right method to repair corrupt data files.

Though Scanpst.exe is an ideal solution to repair data files, but ever wondered what happens if you lose your important emails during repair? By using a PST repair utility, you have an assurance that the data is intact and complete. The powerful scan engine of software can read severely corrupt PST files and reconstruct mailbox data including emails, attachments and other mail items in entirety.  Also, compacting or splitting large PST files into smaller units reduces further chances of data file corruption.

References:

https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/troubleshooting-mail-and-calendar-issues-241bb0fc-b201-4bb2-98d3-74750a27029e

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/outlook-not-responding-stuck-at-processing-stopped-working-freezes-or-hangs-5c313d04-64af-4441-82d2-44e5a43eee5a