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What are the Causes of “Outlook not responding” error?

Outlook not responding error or Outlook freezes when open a file

It goes without saying the Microsoft Outlook is one of the most prestigious and popular email clients in the world. However, like any other email client, it is also prone to some issues as well. One such issue is “Outlook not responding” error or outlook freezes when open a file problem. If you are also one of those users who are facing similar problems like Outlook not opening, outlook stuck at loading profile etc. then let me tell you are not alone. There are thousands of users who encounter this kind of problem on a daily basis. So, there is absolutely no reason to panic at all.

Generally, you receive the outlook not responding error message due to an Outlook crash. Sometimes just a simple restart can fix the problem. However, it is highly probable that out will receive the error once again after restarting. Read this post to know the most convenient and permanent solution to fix the “Outlook not responding” error or outlook freezes when open a file.

What are the Causes of “Outlook not responding” error?

This type of error message appears when you try to open a file or send emails in the MS outlook 2010 or any later version. With the occurrence of this error message Outlook freezes completely and you are unable to do anything on Outlook. Generally, we can say that this type of problems can occur due to one or more than one of the following reasons.

  • You haven’t installed the latest updates of MS outlook or windows
  • Another process is using MS Outlook.
  • The MS Outlook is downloading or uploading some external files such as images in the email messages.
  • An add-on installed previously is causing interference in the proper workflow of MS Outlook.
  • Your MS outlook mailbox is way too large.
  • The AppData folder is being re-directed to a network location.
  • Your MS Office program needs repair.
  • MS Outlook Data files are damaged or corrupted.
  • The Antivirus software installed in your PC is causing conflict with Outlook or your antivirus software is outdated.
  • Your MS Office profile is corrupt
  • MS Outlook is in conflict with other software installed in your PC.

You should note that outlook not responding error can occur in any version of the MS Outlook program. Additionally, the error can prevail in any operating system. It is not rare to see users complaining about the issues such as Microsoft outlook 2010 not responding or MS outlook 2016 not responding windows 10 etc.

How to fix Outlook not responding error or Outlook freezes when open a file problem?

No matter if your outlook 2016 keeps freezing or you are facing these problems with any other version of MS Outlook, you can fix the issue simply by following the instructions given below:

Check the System Requirement

The first thing you should ensure that is your PC fulfills all the system requirements of the MS Outlook program. Remember, the system requirement for MS Outlook 2010, 2013 and 2016 are different. You should match the system requirement according to the MS outlook version you are using.

Install MS Office latest updates

Many a time, outlook freezes when open a file with outlook not responding error due to missing MS office updates. The steps to install MS Office updates depend upon the version of MS office you are using. However, if you are using the latest Windows 10 then you should follow the steps given below:

  • Click on the windows “Start” button.
  • Then open “Settings”.
  • After that, you need to open the “Update and security” tab.
  • Then, click on the “Windows Update” button.
  • Finally, click on “Check for updates”. This automatically install all the available updates

You may visit the official Microsoft website to know how to update the windows you are using.

Make sure another program is not using MS Outlook

The overall performance of MS outlook tends to decrease while using the Outlook AutoArchive feature or syncing outlook to a mobile phone. The reason behind this is that these features can take up a lot of resources. You can check if some other program is using outlook through the status bar available at the bottom of the screen.

In case some other programs are also using MS outlook then you should wait until they finish the task otherwise you may face outlook not responding error.

Make sure Outlook is not downloading external content.

Usually, MS outlook freezes when open a file while downloading external content at the same time. Here are steps by which you can restrict outlook from downloading the external content.

  • Launch MS outlook program and click on the “File” button.
  • Click on the “Options” button.
  • Go to the “Trust Center”.
  • Now, click on the “Automatic Download” button.
  • Finally, you can choose any of the following two options as per your choice
    • The option stating "Warn me before downloading content when editing, forwarding, or replying e-mail"
    • "Don't download pictures or other content automatically in HTML e-mail" option
  • You should avoid sending an email with the external sources as well.

Run MS Outlook without Add-ons

Here are the steps you should follow in order to run MS Outlook without Add-ons

  • Click on the “Start” button. (Go to the upper right corner and click “Search” and then open “Run” window if you are a Windows 8 user)
  • Enter “Outlook.exe/safe and click “Ok”.
  • Open the “File” menu and click on the “Options” button.
  • Then click “Add-Ins”.
  • Choose “COM Add-ins” and click on the “Go” button.
  • Clear the boxes that are checked and click “OK”.
  • Finally, Restart “Outlook”.

You can also disable add-ons one by one to check which add-on is causing a problem.

Check the size of your Outlook mailbox (Inbox)

If the size of your Mailbox is too big then you may have to encounter Outlook Not responding error every now and then. To fix this issue, you may create subfolders in the mailbox. Here is how you can do it.

  • First of all, open “Folder” tab and click on the “New Folder” option under the “New” group.
  • Enter the name for your new folder.
  • Click the location within your Outlook mailbox where you want to place the new folder.
  • Finally click on “Ok”.

Disable redirection of the AppData directory

The outlook uses the AppData folder to store information like email signatures and the spelling checker dictionary. Redirection of AddData folder to a network location can also cause outlook not responding error. Here is how you can fix this problem.  

  • Exit MS Outlook.
  • Start registry editor.
  • Locate and click on the following subkey in the registry editor

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

  • Now, locate and double click on the “App Data” value.
  • Type the following path the “Value Data” box.


  • Finally, you can exit the registry editor and use outlook normally.

Repair MS Office programs

If the problem continues then you should repair MS office programs. Here are the steps by which you can repair MS office automatically.

  • Close down all the running MS office application (if any)
  • Open the control panel.
  • Click on the “Programs and Features”.
  • Locate and Right click the MS office program.
  • Select “Repair” from the list.

You should not encounter “Outlook not responding” issue after repairing MS office program.

Repair MS Outlook Data Files

In the case of Outlook freezes when open a file even after repairing MS office program then you should repair MS Outlook Data Files as well. In order to do that, you need to download and install the Inbox repair tool. This tool will scan and repair files automatically. You can download this tool from the official website of Microsoft.

Check if there is any software conflict due to antivirus installed in your PC.

The Antivirus installed in your PC can also make your outlook program to hang. You can temporarily disable your antivirus to see if this resolves the problem. You should note that doing so will make your PC vulnerable to a cyber attack. That’s why you should enable antivirus again if the problem continues.

You can also contact your antivirus software vendor to understand how you can configure your antivirus with outlook in a better way.

Create a new user profile in MS Outlook.

If MS outlook not responding even after following all the above mentioned steps then you should create a new user profile in MS Outlook by following the steps given below:

  • Go to the control panel and click on the “Programs” button.
  • Then, you need to click on the “User Accounts” button.
  • Click on “mail” in order to open mail items.
  • After that, you have to click “Show profiles”.
  • Choose the profile that you are looking to remove and click on the “Remove” button.
  • Now, Click “Add”.
  • Enter the name of your new profile in the “Profile Name” field.
  • Provide the username, primary SMTP address and password.
  • Click on “Next”.
  • Now, you will get a message stating “Allow this website to configure alias@domain server settings?”
  • Click on “Allow” after choosing the "Don’t ask me about this again" checkbox.

We hope that you are now aware of the procedure to fix "Outlook not responding" error or Outlook freezes when open a file problem. For further instruction, you can 24 hours contact Outlook support service.