Improve Outlook 2007 IMAP Performance

It’s no secret that I’ve had recurring issues using IMAP with Outlook 2007. I would be ready to abandon Outlook entirely but I’ve fallen madly in love with Xobni.

Every few months I try Thunderbird or Outlook Express or Windows Mail. Today I even tried something called Barca. They are all fine but after my most recent fling with Thunderbird, I realize I’m not prepared to give up Xobni. So in a fit of desperation I disabled everything in the Outlook Trust Center except Xobni and Plaxo:


That’s right, I even disabled the Windows Search Email Indexer. You really don’t need it if you’re using Xobni. I also have Skype integration disabled (in the Skype View menu, uncheck “Show Outlook Contacts”).

Furthermore, I adjusted my Send/Receive group to the download complete items including attachments for subscribed folders:


Something I did worked. Outlook now starts faster, and more importantly I have access to my inbox much sooner. And most importantly, Outlook is responsive while retrieving mail (especially during the initial Send/Receive at startup).

YMMV. If you are dissatisfied with the performance of Outlook 2007 with IMAP accounts, please try this out and let me know how it works for you.

  21 comments for “Improve Outlook 2007 IMAP Performance

  1. Darren
    August 16, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I REALLY wasn’t happy with outlook 2007’s speed…tried everything else, but none gave me the contact control i wanted like outlook. Your tips on disabling the add-ins (which id never have used anyway) worked a charm! Since i dont use Xobni, my outlook is MUCH faster to load…MANY THANKS!!

  2. September 15, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    I disabled all add-ins to see how good Outlook can get, and it still isn’t very good. I’m connected to IMAP, have 190K+ of email (not much compared to some other mail readers I’ve used), and it still takes quite some time to load (just the headers!).

    I’d appreciate any other suggestions….

  3. Derek Hatchard
    September 16, 2008 at 12:10 am

    @Steve Lipka,

    Did you disable the Windows Search Email Indexer add-in? That seems to be the one that kills Outlook IMAP performance for me.

    I also sometimes have trouble using Gmail IMAP regardless of my add-in configuration.

  4. shawn
    November 19, 2008 at 2:33 am

    Where is the account options you reference in the screenshot. that’s a new for me! drop me a line at [email protected]

  5. Derek Hatchard
    November 19, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    @shawn, it’s Tools > Send/Receive > Send/Receive Settings > Define Send/Receive Groups. Then click the Edit button.

  6. shawn
    November 19, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Thanks. In all my years I’ve never been there before! I believe this alone made big issues with having a full local sync with two of my biggest folders.

  7. Steve
    January 29, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    How do you “disable” add-ins?

  8. Derek Hatchard
    January 29, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    @Steve, click the Go button at the bottom of the Trust Center screen (after you’ve selected Add-Ins).

    If you’re running Vista, you might have to do this twice, once with normal permissions and once by running Outlook as Administrator (right-click on the Outlook shortcut and select Run As Administrator).

  9. July 1, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Thanks – worked brilliantly!

  10. Ryan
    February 18, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    This looks great… but for some reason, it still doesn’t download the message. Each message still only downloads the header. I have to “Mark to Download Message…” to actually download them.

    Any suggestion where to look?

  11. Aaron
    March 11, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    I want to add my thanks for this post, Derek. I found it after I asking myself these questions: Why is Outlook so slow? Answer: Windows Search, startup features, and plugins all running at once. Perhaps unarchived items. What alternatives are there to the Windows Search Indexer for Outlook? A: Unsure. Can I keep Outlook and make it run more efficiently? A: Hmm…

    Well, you provided just the solution I was trying to put my finger on. Looking forward to disabling these plugins (dare I disable my Skype plugin too?) and trying Xobni. Thank you.

  12. May 24, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Thank you! I have not been able to find those two panels in Outlook. Also installed Xobni.

    Best regards,

  13. Dan
    June 14, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Brilliant, made a huge difference just chnaging the download header reference.

    Thank you

  14. Jim
    July 7, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    any suggestions? I keep geeting a message on Outlook, 2007, IMAP server wants to alert mail is not available. I click it, I get mail, but the alert flashes every time I load outlook. Someone says, IMAP file is bad? I removed Outlook, reloaded, same problem. HELP

  15. Nick
    October 6, 2010 at 8:19 am


    Not sure which bit works but it seems to have done the trick for my GMAil IMAP account constantly freezing Outlook 2007 especially on startup.

    Thanks very much for your post.


  16. February 3, 2011 at 4:26 am

    Thanks for the tips. I’m excited about Xobni.

  17. Mario Yiannakou
    September 30, 2011 at 5:18 am

    I am having issues with Outlook 2007, where I only get emails if I click out and then back into the Inbox. I have tried disabling everything in Add-ins but still no joy – any suggestions please??


  18. Errin
    April 12, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Arbitrarily disabling features until something appears to get better… I guess that’s what Microsoft did in reverse in order to develop outlook.

  19. John
    August 9, 2012 at 7:35 am

    I know this is an old thread, but just in case this helps:

    On outlook 2007 and a win 7 64 bit.
    Oulook was always freezing, especially on start up and sync. Then i noticed that it only froze when my wife was also in the office on her computer.

    So, after coming in fresh today to try and sort out the issue, i had an epiphany!
    As me and my wife shared some accounts, all i had to do was disable automatic sync on the shared accounts for each computer… For example, when my wife is not in the office i check out her email and vice versa, but these accounts were automatically syncing on both PC’s. So i just disabled her folders automatic sync on my PC, and my folders automatic sync on hers ( we still have access to each others accounts by clicking on the folders ) And voôla! All working perfect.

    So if you have more than one PC automatically syncing the same folders ( accounts ) you may experience this same problem.

  20. Diederik
    December 9, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Awesome post.

    it is old, but very accurate!
    I made a little mistake while installing outlook locally.
    I set up my emailadres and didnt see this one special important question…

    Outlook will download all of your inbox to your local installed outlook… and i just clicked by it…
    so when i finished installing it went downloading like all my email form hotmail server from 2003 untill now…. and deleting it aswell on the server…

    so i tried to find a way to get all my email on the server again. because i wanted to have acces to my email from everywhere in the world…

    so i found this option IMAP.. so i made a folder that syncs with the hotmail server and im putting all my earlier downloaded emails in this folder… and it will make a copy on the hotmail server..

    problem was this kept on crashing in like a few minutes…
    so i just got all add ins off and now it seems to go go go!

    so i hope it will stay working untill im finished wih my 15000 emails.. 🙂

    for now a big thanks from me!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: