Outlook 2013 Hanging on Open

Outlook 2013 Hanging on Open

This one was a doozy, I had two identical laptops with Office 2013 on them that I was told would hang when opened on the Loading Profile screen. Sometimes they made it further than the loading process, but the Outlook client would never fully open until sometimes 5 hours later (again I was told).

Outlook 2013 Hanging on Open

What made this tricky is I would remote into the system to take a look and Outlook would work fine for me, no issues, no slowdown it would just work. So not being able to experience the issues first hand I just went into fix all mode. I patched the heck out of it, firmware, drivers, spyware checks, Windows SFC checks, Office re-install/repair, re-created Outlook profiles, network settings, Outlook plugins, Antivirus you name it! Same story every morning Outlook is still hanging…

I went onsite to experience this first hand and sure enough Outlook was hanging when opened. Something to do with me remotely connecting was causing Outlook to work fine. At least I had a place to start and I could troubleshoot during the problem.

The fix was as follows:

  • Task manager showed some serious activity from security essentials when Outlook was opened. I though this was the issue because on one of the laptops Outlook would immediately open once I disabled real-time monitoring. This was not the case on the other one, but I excluded OST/PST files anyways just in case. This was more of a red herring as even though Outlook would now open on the one laptop, the exclusions did nothing If left the real-time monitoring on and it flat out did nothing on the other laptop.
  • Opening Outlook /safemode did open outlook, but disabling all add-ins still did nothing when opening Outlook in normal mode (still hung). Outlook /resetnavpane & /resetfolders also did not help.
  • I had a feeling at this point it was display related as that was the one thing I couldn’t troubleshoot remotely so I began digging. I came across some posts about people having issues with 2013 and Windows Desktop Manager. I opened up services and stopped it and boom, Outlook opens. While this is great progress turning off that service turns off all the pretty functions in Windows 7 such as Aero etc. I didn’t think my clients would be to thrilled about that.
  • Outlook 2013 Hanging on Open
  • The final fix was to disable hardware graphics acceleration, this solved the Outlook hang and let me keep the pretty graphics. In this case on these laptops I went into regedit and went to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice15.0Commonand created a new Key called Graphics. I then created a DWORD (32-bit) Value called DisableHardwareAcceleration with a value of 1.
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I closed everything down and Outlook was now behaving properly opening instantly. Logging in remotely was obviously turning off the windows graphics features so therefore it was never misbehaving for me. Some things just cant be solved remotely.

There is also an option to turn off acceleration from within Outlook, but I didn’t get a chance to try that. It’s under Options –> Advanced.