Outlook not responding, stuck at “Processing,” stopped working, freezes, or hangs

Applies to: Outlook for Office 365, Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013.

Did you receive an Outlook not responding error? Is Outlook frozen on a screen that merely says “Processing”? Or does Outlook hang, freeze, or malfunction when you’re opening a file or sending an e-mail message?

There are various possible reasons for Outlook to act this way. We’ve presented the possible solutions in order from fastest to the longest.

Start Outlook in Safe Mode to fix “Processing” screen

If Outlook stops responding at a screen that says “Processing,” you can exit Outlook, start it in Safe Mode, then close it and launch it normally to fix the problem.

  1. Exit Outlook.
  1. Start Outlook in Safe Mode by selecting one of the following options.
  • In Windows 10, press Start, enter Outlook.exe /safe, and press Enter.
  • In Windows 7, select Start, and in the Search programmes and files box, write Outlook /safe, and then press Enter.
  • In Windows 8, on the Apps menu, pick Run, enter Outlook /safe, and then select OK.
  1. Close Outlook, and then launch it as usual.

If Outlook isn’t static at a screen that states “Processing,” or this didn’t resolve your problem, proceed to the steps below. If those steps don’t work, read Need additional help? at the end of this article.

Step 1: Is there a dialogue box open?

Some actions you take in Outlook ask for confirmation. For example, the first time you try to Dismiss All on a list of reminders, Outlook asks you if you’re sure you want to do that. If you don’t select an option on that dialogue box, Outlook will restrict you from doing anything else. Check for open dialogue boxes.

Pressing Alt+Tab will help you toggle from window to window and help you identify what dialogue boxes might be preventing Outlook from responding.

If you see no dialogue box open, continue to the next step.

Step 2: Make sure Outlook isn’t working on a large or long process

If you attempt to delete or shift a large volume of messages at once, Outlook can appear to hang, but in reality, it’s working beneath the surface. Monitor the status bar at the bottom of the screen. If Outlook is running some operation on hundreds or thousands of messages simultaneously, it may seem to be lagging. Give Outlook some minutes to complete the process and it should commence normal operations.

If Outlook isn’t working on a huge or extensive process, proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Install the latest Windows and Office updates

Outlook works best with the latest updates. We strongly suggest setting Windows Update to automatically download and install recommended updates. Bug fixes, new features, and performance improvements are released frequently.

If installing the latest updates didn’t resolve your issue, move on to the next step.

Step 4: Repair your Office programmes

Repairing your Office programmes can troubleshoot issues with Outlook not responding, hanging, or freezing. Errors in Office files are repaired by default.

  1. Exit any Office programmes that are currently in use.
  1. In Control Panel, pick Programmes and Features.
  1. In the list of installed programmes, right-click Microsoft Office 2016 or Microsoft Office 2013, and then select Change.

If repairing your Office programmes didn’t resolve your issue, move on to the next step.

Step 5: Repair your Outlook data files

When you install Office, an Inbox Repair Tool (SCANSPST.EXE) is also installed on your PC. The Inbox Repair Tool can fix issues by scanning your Outlook data files and repairing errors.

If repairing your Outlook data files didn’t resolve your issue, move on to the next step.

Step 6: Create a new user profile

Your profile stores a variety of settings that control how Outlook looks and feels. You can create a new profile and then add your email accounts to the new profile.

  1. Close Outlook.
  1. Choose one of the following:
  • In Windows 10, select Start. Write Control Panel and press Enter. Choose User Accounts > Mail > Show Profiles.
  • In Windows 8, open the Apps menu, pick Control Panel > Mail > Show Profiles.
  • In Windows 7, select Start > Control Panel > Mail > Show Profiles.
  1. Choose Add, and in the Profile Name box, enter a profile name, and then press OK.
  1. Type an e-mail address and a password for the primary e-mail account you use in Outlook and then go through the steps to create the profile.
  1. Once the profile is created, on the Show Profiles dialogue, click Prompt for a profile to be used.
  1. Open Outlook and select your new profile.

If creating a new profile solves your issue, you can return to the Show Profiles dialogue and remove your old profile.

Need additional help?

If you’re having issues with Outlook in relation to n Office 365 for business subscription, we can diagnose and fix several common Outlook problems issues on your behalf. If our automated tool can’t fix your issue, you aren’t using Office 365 for business, or you’d like to talk to support, you can contact the Answer Desk.

Let us fix your issueNeed more help?
Automatically diagnose and fix Outlook issuesContact the Answer Desk.

This information was compiled using information courtesy of © Microsoft 2020. All rights reserved.

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