When we suddenly see an “Outlook not responding” message, it understandably brings up a certain level of frustration. This issue takes us time and requires additional efforts to fix it – especially when you don’t know why it happened and how to fix it.

In this guide we collected the most common reasons for “Outlook not responding” Windows 10/Windows 11 errors and offered solutions to the problem. We’ll explore straightforward fixes, from using Safe Mode to mending corrupt files, ensuring you can quickly return to your uninterrupted work routine. Equipped with this knowledge you’ll know how to fix Outlook not responding on your PC.

8 Common Solutions to “Outlook Not Responding”

  • Force Quit Outlook

Sometimes you might not have enough time to fix the “Outlook not responding” problem. In this case force quitting Outlook can be your immediate (though temporary) solution.

In order to do so on your Windows:

  • Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete on your keyboard and then select “Task Manager” from the menu that appears.
  • In the “Task Manager,” look for Microsoft Outlook among the list of programs. If it’s not immediately visible, you might find it in the “Background processes” section.
  • Click on “Microsoft Outlook,” and then select “End task.” This action forcibly closes Outlook, regardless of its unresponsiveness.

Force quitting can result in unsaved data being lost, especially if you were in the middle of drafting an email. For this reason “force quitting” is rather an emergency solution than a recommended daily practice.

  • Disable Faulty Add-Ins

While add-ins are installed in Outlook in order to improve its performance, sometimes faulty add-ins can be the reason why Outlook is not responding.

In case your Outlook is not working for this reason, here’s what you can try:

  •   Press down the CTRL key and press the Outlook icon – this will start Outlook in safe mode.
  •   Try to send/receive emails in your Outlook. If you manage to do so, it means that add-ins were the issue.

In case you want to know which add-ins caused the problem you can do so by pressing File > Options > Add-ins > Go.

Considering that Outlook does not load add-ins in Safe Mode, you should first uncheck all add-ins and restart Outlook normally. After that try activating one add-in at a time and restart Outlook after each check. The moment MS Outlook is not responding properly – points to the faulty add-in, which needs to be removed.

  • Update Your Outlook

If your Outlook freezes randomly but you still can use it, try out the following method:

  1. Open Outlook and go to File. Then move to Office Account.
  2. Navigate to Product Information and select Update Options.
  3. Click on Enable updates > Update now.
  4. Wait for the process to finish. The “You’re up to date!” window will appear.

Now the app is supposed to work well. However, if it still does not and you keep on questioning how to fix the “Outlook not responding” issue – one of the following fixes is sure to help you.

Also read: How to stop Outlook from reopening emails after a crash?

  • Start Outlook in Safe Mode

A reliable method to potentially solve the “Microsoft Outlook not responding” issue is launching Outlook in Safe Mode.

Starting Outlook in Safe Mode means launching the Microsoft Outlook application with a minimal set of drivers and startup programs. This helps to eliminate software conflicts that occur when running Outlook. When you start Outlook in Safe Mode, it will disable all add-ins, customizations, and extensions. This will allow you to troubleshoot issues that might be caused by third-party plugins or corrupted files. Click on the Windows Start button and type “Outlook.exe /safe” in the “Search” box, then press Enter.

Alternatively, hold the CTRL key on your keyboard and double-click on the Outlook shortcut, then select “Yes” when prompted if you want to start Outlook in Safe Mode.

  • Repair Outlook Programs

Among the programs that can help you addressing and potentially resolving the problem of unresponsive Outlook are the following ones:

PST (Personal Storage Table) and OST (Offline Storage Table) are the types of files Outlook uses to store your data. If these get corrupted, then it could be the reason why Outlook keeps freezing, crashing, or refusing to open certain folders. With the Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe) provided by Microsoft you can mend a digital file.

Here’s how you can use this tool to fix corrupt Outlook data files:

  • Locate the Repair Tool: First, you’ll need to close Outlook. Then, navigate to your Office installation folder (commonly found in “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16” for Outlook 2016) and search for “scanpst.exe.”
  • Run the Tool: Double-click “scanpst.exe” to open the Inbox Repair tool. Click “Browse” and locate your PST or OST file (commonly found in “C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook”). If you’re unsure which file to select, search for files ending in “.pst” or “.ost.”
  • Initiate the Repair: Once you’ve selected your file, hit “Start.” The tool will scan your file for errors. If it finds any, you’ll be prompted to initiate the repair process. This might take some time, depending on the size of the file and the extent of the corruption.
  • Restart Outlook: After the repair is complete, restart Outlook. If everything went as planned, your Outlook should be back to its old self, free from the corruption that was causing it to freeze or crash.

Also read: How to Fix the “Recipient Address Rejected: Access Denied” Error in Outlook?

  • Temporarily Disable Your Third-Party Antivirus Software

Your non-Microsoft security solution might have come into conflict with Outlook and keeps it unresponsive. We advise you to turn off your antivirus product and see if the issue persists. If it is, try to configure the software to allow Outlook on your PC. If this is to no avail, contact your vendor or opt for another solution.

For the periods when your main antivirus is disabled, it is recommended to have tools that provide an extra layer of protection to your PC and run careful anti-malware scans. For example, Auslogics Anti-Malware will detect those threats your main antivirus might not be even aware of.

  • Create a New Outlook User Profile

The “Outlook not responding” issue might stem from your corrupt user profile. The best workaround in such a case is to create a new user profile:

  1. Click on the Windows logo icon. The Start menu will open.
  2. Locate Control Panel and click on it.
  3. Open Programs and select User Accounts.
  4. Choose Mail. Mail items will open.
  5. Select Show profiles.
  6. Locate your corrupt Outlook profile and click on Remove.
  7. Then click Add to create a new profile.
  8. Type a name for it into the Profile Name dialog box.
  9. Specify the profile details and click on Next to proceed.
  10.  If you see the prompt “Allow this website to configure ‘alias@domain’ server settings?” check the “Don’t ask me about this website again” checkbox and click Allow.

Now log in to Outlook with your new account.

How to Fix Specific Outlook Not Responding Issues? [3 Issues]

Outlook Keeps Crashing

Apart from the steps that were already mentioned in the article and in case your Outlook keeps on crashing, you can additionally try the following:

Fix 1: Restart Your Computer

 Sometimes the easiest solution is also the right one. In some cases programs running on your PC background can interfere with Outlook and cause Microsoft Outlook constantly not responding. This issue might be solved by restarting your computer.

Fix 2: Run Outlook Diagnostics

If you have tried all the steps offered in this article but your Outlook keeps on crashing, launch the recovery assistant.

Fix 3: Repair or Reinstall MS Office

In case none of the above steps gave a satisfactory result, reinstalling MS Office might be your last resort.

Related: How to Uninstall Programs and Delete Unnecessary Files in Windows 10

Outlook Stuck on Processing

Fix 1: Close and Restart Outlook

Sometimes, simply restarting the program can resolve the issue.

Fix 2: Launch in Safe Mode

Try running Outlook in Safe Mode (hold the CTRL key on your keyboard and double-click on the Outlook shortcut) to see if it bypasses the “Processing” screen. If it does, an add-in or extension could be the issue.

Fix 3: Repair Data Files

Using the Inbox Repair tool (scanpst.exe) to repair Outlook data files can sometimes resolve hang-ups.

Fix 4: Update Microsoft Office to the Latest Version

“Outlook stuck on processing” issue can often be attributed to outdated versions of MS Office or Windows on your system. To address this problem, consider updating both to their most recent versions.

ScanPST File Not Responding

Fix 1: Run as Administrator

Try running the ScanPST tool as an administrator, as it might require higher access rights to make changes.

Related: [FIXED] You need to sign in as an administrator to continue

Fix 2: Disable Antivirus Software

Sometimes, antivirus programs can interfere with the repair tool. Disable these programs temporarily while using the ScanPST tool.

Fix 3: Use an Alternative

If ScanPST is not responding or fails to fix the PST file, you might need to use a third-party tool. There are several reliable PST repair tools available online.

Fix 4: Check Disk Space

Ensure there’s enough disk space on your system drive, as the ScanPST tool requires sufficient space to create a backup during the repair process.


“Microsoft Outlook not responding” is a rather common issue. In this article we tried to answer the question, “Why is Outlook not working?” by covering the most common reasons for this problem to happen and providing solutions for fixing them. Being able to know what to do when your Outlook stops responding: be it a simple restart of your PC or disabling third party antivirus software.

Regular maintenance and being mindful of Outlook’s limits can prevent future disruptions. Equipped with these solutions, you can ensure a more reliable Outlook experience, keeping your professional and personal communications flowing seamlessly.


What Should I Do First When Outlook Stops Responding?

Try to open Outlook in Safe Mode to see if it works without any add-ins or extensions and consider force quitting the application if it’s unresponsive.

Can Corrupted Files Cause Outlook to Stop Working?

Yes, corrupted Outlook data files can cause the program to freeze or crash. Utilizing built-in or third-party repair tools can often resolve this issue.

Is It Safe to Manually Edit Outlook’s Files Or Settings?

It’s risky to manually edit Outlook’s files unless you’re confident in your understanding of the system. Always back up your data before doing this.

How Often Should I Update Outlook to Avoid Performance Issues?

Keep Outlook updated to the latest version, as updates often include patches for performance issues and bugs.