How to speed up Outlook

Lawrence Gill

Posted by: Lawrence Gill

Feb 17, 2012

Categories: IT services
How to speed up Outlook

For many businesses Microsoft Outlook plays a key role in communication. The more emails you get the slower Outlook can become and the risk of data becoming corrupted can increase. Fortunately there are several ways we can reduce the risk of data corruption and keep Outlook running quickly.

Why Outlook can slow down

Outlook stores all your emails, contact and calendar in a PST file. Every time you receive new emails from your email account or add a new contact outlook adds it to your PST file. The larger this file becomes. Like any other file, the larger it is the longer it takes to load and the higher the chance that when opening and closing the file it could become corrupt. The rate at which your PST file grows will depend heavily on how many emails and contacts you add each week. The maximum size of a PST file is 20GB but once you start getting much about 1 or 2 GB you may start to have issues.

You can find your PST file by going into the account settings of outlook and clicking on the data files tab. From here you can see the data files currently being used and will have the option to open the folder where they are located.


What can you do about it

Understanding how to manage your outlook mailbox can dramatically increase the performance of your outlook. Here are some of the ways you can keep everything manageable:

  • Delete emails which are no longer useful such as out of office auto replies and old marketing emails.
  • Regularly empty your deleted items.
  • Regularly empty your sent items 

Archiving emails

For those emails which you need to keep but are unlikely to be required in the near future Outlook has the facility to archive them. Archiving emails will move them to another PST file which will only be accessed when you specifically need something from it. 

You can set Outlook to automatically archive things over a certain age or you can manually drag and drop emails and folders into the archive mailbox. If they become relevant again you can always move them back to your main mailbox manually.

If you are using Microsoft Exchange or an IMAP email it is important to note that archiving emails will remove them from your email system and the only copy will be on your PC. You will not be able to access your archive from any webmail logins and you will need to ensure that they are backed up along with other important files.  

Lawrence Gill

About: Lawrence Gill

As Jarrett & Lam’s Technical Support Engineer, Lawrence provides clients with frontline support on business-critical IT issues while also providing assistance to the wider team on a range of operational matters.

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