Microsoft Outlook Support
The steps below assume an installation of Microsoft O365 on a Windows 10 computer.
Outlook not responding, stuck at "Processing," stopped working, or freezes
Did you get an Outlook not responding error? Is Outlook stuck on a screen that simply says "Processing"? Or does Outlook freeze or stop working when you're opening a file or sending an email message?
There are a number of possible reasons for Outlook to behave this way. We've presented the potential solutions in order from quickest to most time consuming.
Start Outlook in safe mode to fix "Processing" screen
If Outlook stops responding at a screen that says "Processing," you can close Outlook, start it in safe mode, then close it and open it normally to fix the problem.
- Close Outlook.
- Launch Outlook in safe mode by choosing Start, then type Outlook.exe /safe, and press Enter.
- Close Outlook, and then open it normally.
If Outlook isn't stuck at a screen that says "Processing," or this didn't resolve your issue, continue to the steps below. If those steps don't work, see Need additional help? at the end of this article.
Step 1: Is there a dialog box open?
Some things you do 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 choose an option on that dialog box, Outlook won't let you do anything else. Check for open dialog boxes. Pressing Alt+Tab will help you switch from window to window and help you see what dialog boxes might be stopping Outlook from responding.
If you can't find a dialog box open, move on to the next step.
Step 2: Make sure Outlook isn't working on a large or long process
If you try to delete or move a large number of messages at once, Outlook can appear to freeze, but really, it's working behind the scenes. Check the status bar at the bottom of the screen. If Outlook is performing some operation on hundreds or thousands of messages at once, it might appear to be stuck. Give Outlook a few minutes to finish the process and it should start to work again.
If Outlook isn't working on a large or long process, move on to the next step.
Step 3: Install the latest Windows and Office updates
Outlook works best when it's up to date. We recommend setting Windows Update to automatically download and install recommended updates. Bug fixes, new features, and performance enhancements are released regularly.
- To install the latest Windows and Office updates, see Install Office updates.
If installing the latest updates didn't resolve your issue, move on to the next step.
Step 4: Repair your Office programs
Repairing your Office programs can resolve issues with Outlook not responding or freezing. Errors in Office files are repaired automatically.
- Quit any Office programs that are running.
- In Control Panel, choose Programs and Features.
- In the list of installed programs, right-click Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise, and then choose Change. You should be presented with two options:
- Quick Repair - Fixes most issues quickly without the need for an Internet connection.
- Online Repair - Fixes all issues, (may be too bold a statement) but takes a little longer and requires an Internet connection throughout. You can select this option if you are still having problems after a Quick Repair.
If repairing your Office programs 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 resolve issues by scanning your Outlook data files and repairing errors.
- To use the Inbox Repair Tool, exit Outlook, go to Repair Outlook Data Files (.pst and .ost) and follow the relevant steps.
If repairing your Outlook data files didn't resolve your issue, move on to the next step.
** Note: please discuss this option with the Alliant IT department before proceeding **
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.
- Close Outlook.
- Choose Start. Type Control Panel and press Enter. Choose User Accounts > Mail > Show Profiles.
- Choose Add, and in the Profile Name box, type a profile name, and then choose OK.
- Enter an email address and a password for the primary email account you use in Outlook and then walk through the steps to create the profile.
- Once the profile is created, on the Show Profiles dialog, choose Prompt for a profile to be used.
- Start Outlook and choose your new profile.
If creating a new profile solves your issue, you can return to the Show Profiles dialog and delete your old profile.
Need additional help?
If you're having issues with Outlook as part of a Microsoft 365 for business subscription, we can diagnose and fix several common Outlook problems issues for you. If our automated tool can't fix your issue, you aren't using Microsoft 365 for business, or you'd like to talk to support, you can contact the Answer Desk.
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