Improve Outlook Exchange Performance

If you are using Microsoft Outlook on an Exchange Server and performance is consistantly slow, this might help. One way to make Outlook much faster is to do the following.

  1. Create an offline .ost file
  2. Set Outlook to be offline by default (and leave it “offline” all the time)
  3. Set Outlook to check for mail very often

From now on, Outlook will draw upon the local data file instead of constantly checking for changes over the network. It completely syncs up every 60 seconds so you’ll never be out of date.

After you do this, Outlook won’t ask you for the Exchange password for 60 seconds. Make sure you type in the password or Outlook won’t send an receive email properly! One workaround is to click “Send/Receive” whenever you start Outlook. Then it will immediately ask for the password.

I have gotten this to work in Microsoft Outlook Office XP and Microsoft Outlook 2003. I haven’t tried any others.

These instructions are borrowed from intermedia.net.

To enable Offline Folders:

  • Launch Outlook.
  • On the “Tools” menu, click “E-Mail Accounts”, click “View or change existing e-mail accounts”, and then click “Next”.
  • In the “Outlook processes e-mail for these accounts in the following order” list, click “Microsoft Exchange Server”, and then click “Change”
  • Click “More Settings”.
  • Click the “Advanced” tab, and then click “Offline Folder File Settings”.
  • In the File box, type the path to the file you want to use as the .ost file.
    The default file name is Outlook.ost. If this file already exists, you are prompted for a new name. You should not use an OST file that was previously used. You may wish to first delete the existing file and create a new “outlook.ost”.Once you have created the offline file, Outlook will be able to download data to it. It may take several minutes or an hour to download all of the mail.

To manually control Offline Folder state:

  • Launch Outlook.
  • On the “Tools” menu, click “E-Mail Accounts”, click “View or change existing e-mail accounts”, and then click “Next”.
  • In the “Outlook processes e-mail for these accounts in the following order” list, click “Microsoft Exchange Server”, and then click “Change”
  • Click “More Settings”.
  • Now you are on the General tab. From here, do one of the following:
    • To always start Outlook offline, click “Manually control connection state”, and then click “Work offline and use dial-up networking”.
    • To choose each time you start Outlook whether to work offline or online, click “Manually control connection state”, and then select the “Choose the connection type when starting” check box.
    • To always connect to the network, click “Manually control connection state”, and then click “Connect with the network”.
    • To have Outlook automatically detect whether you can connect or not, click “Automatically detect connection state”. If Outlook is unable to connect with your server, it opens in Offline mode automatically.Note To specify the amount of time to wait for a response from the server before you are notified to retry or work offline, type a number in the Seconds until server connection timeout box.

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