Why Does MS Outlook Take So Long to Start?

By Tricia Goss

Once you fix the problem, Outlook will start up quickly again.
i Tomasz Trojanowski/Hemera/Getty Images

When you try to start Outlook 2013 and it lags, hangs or stops responding, the problem may lie with the program, your system or another issue altogether. Once you've checked the basics -- installed the latest updates and made sure that Outlook isn't in use by another process, such as syncing with your mobile device. -- you can move on to troubleshoot a handful of common causes to pinpoint and resolve the issue.

Problematic Add-ins

Load Outlook without any add-ins to determine if a corrupt add-in is causing the problem. Click "Run" from the Windows 8 apps menu, type "outlook/safe" into the Run box and click "OK." Restart Outlook. Select the "File" tab, choose "Options" and click "Add-ins." Choose "COM Add-ins," click "Go," clear all check boxes and click "OK." Restart Outlook. If Outlook runs fine, go back and select the check boxes for each add-in one at a time, restarting Outlook after each one to determine which one causes the issue.

Check Your Mailbox

It takes more of your system resources to open an Outlook mailbox loaded with items. To check the size of your mailbox, start Outlook, choose your account name in the navigation pane and select the "Folder" tab. Click "Folder Properties" and then click the "Folder Size" button to view the folder size in kilobytes. Make your mailbox smaller using the AutoArchive feature. Select the "File" tab, click "Options" and choose "Advanced." Click "AutoArchive Settings" and choose how often you wish to archive items. Click the "Apply These Settings to All Folders Now" button and click "OK."

Repair the Program

Office 2013 has a built-in repair feature you can use if none of your other troubleshooting is successful. Exit Outlook and any other MS Office programs. Open the Control Panel, choose "Programs" and select "Programs and Features." Right-click "Microsoft Office 2013" in the list of currently installed programs and choose "Change." Select "Repair," click "Continue" and follow the steps to complete the repair. Restart Outlook following the process to see if the issue is resolved.

Create a New Profile

If all else fails, create a new Outlook profile, as your current user profile may have become corrupt. Exit Outlook and open the "Apps" menu. Choose "Control Panel," select "Mail" and click "Show Profiles." Choose your current profile name and click "Remove." Click the "Add" button and enter a name for your new profile. Enter your user name, the SMTP address of your email account and your email password. Click "Next." If you see the "Allow This Website to Configure Yourusername@Domain Server Settings?" prompt, select "Don't Ask Me about This Again" and click "Allow."