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Microsoft Outlook Not Responding Message


Posting this hoping it saves someone else the three days of headaches I’ve just went through…

Outlook 2003 would open fine, and I could maniupulate one or two emails normally, the third would be very slow, and with any additional clicks the screen would grey out and the message on the top would read: “Microsoft Outlook (Not Responding)” Nothing to do at that point but shut down and restart.

I searched and searched and found all kinds of folks asking about this, but very few possible answers, and most of those were way over my head.

Finally, I found this one, and it worked like a charm on the first try.

Close Outlook. Find and rename outcmd.dat to .old. (If using Windows 2000 or XP, you will need to enable searching hidden and system folders.)

Once you have done so, reopen Outlook and it should open fine. You will need to rebuild any custom toolbars or customizations as the file outcmd.dat controls how the toolbars display.

When it becomes corrupted, it will cause Outlook to hang because it cannot create the toolbars that you expect.

I have Vista, but still had to use the advance search option, and check the “hidden folders” box. It was a slow search, and my results came right at the end.

Hope this helps!



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30 thoughts on “Microsoft Outlook Not Responding Message

  1. Hi. I searched my hard drive for outcmd.dat and it was not found. Where should I expect to find it?

  2. Sorry, you did say enable hidden (non-intuitive in Vista). I found it and tried what you suggested. I hope it works!

    (Sometimes Outlook works fine for days w/o this problem. Other times it happens in frquent successon.)

  3. Michael,

    Exactly, I forgot to enable hidden files the first time I tried, and found nada.

    “Sometimes Outlook works fine for days w/o this problem. Other times it happens in frquent successon.”

    Yep, that’s how it started for me too.


  4. Roxane on said:


    I was having the same problem with Outlook 2007. I could get thru a few emails and then it would just sort of “hang” or “freeze” then gray out and the Outlook not responding message would appear. Somehow, I figured it out. My problems was caused by the Google Desktop running in the icon tray. When I turned it off so Google search was not displayed in Outlook, the problem stopped. I think the Google Desktop came as a dowload.

    So, if you have the Google Desktop running in your icon tray, turn it off and see if it works for you.

    – Roxane

  5. Roxane,

    Yeah, I’ve had nothing but trouble with the Google Desktop (or any of the “desktop” programs) an finally went in a uninstalled it.

    Many problems were solved right there!



    • Perry- Thanks so much for posting this solution. I was working with our IT dept for weeks with no improvement. I followed your instructions and issues are resolved. Wow! Thank you!

  6. Roxane on said:

    After figuring out that Google Desktop was the cause of my problems with Outlook 2007 (running Vista), I uninstalled the Google Desktop and my Outlook fine. No more error messages! And Microsoft couldn’t figure this out, imagine that.

    – Roxane

  7. Perry,
    I’m not a Religious person but God bless you! Your solution worked like a charm. Although I’m so pleased and thankful that my issue was resolved but the reason I’m writing these words is to recognize your ‘style of writing’; so logical, precise, detailed but not overwhelming. Excellent!
    P.S. When learned that you are actually a Writer, I was even more impressed …. by the way, Happy Birthday (did you say 30th …!!!???)

  8. Thank you! You are a lifesaver. My outlook was complete DOA before I found your fix.

  9. Anonymous on said:

    Thank you, thank, thank you. What little hair I have left I have been tearing out for the past few weeks. Now Outlook is back to normal with you fix and it onlt took a minute.
    Thanks again Bern…

  10. Thanks, Perry! For the past ~30 hours, Outlook has been running just unbelievably slow & this fixed it!

  11. Glad to help everyone!

  12. Grandma Moses on said:

    My Outlook had the same classic symptoms, and your cure fixed it right up! Thank you so much.

  13. I work on an exchange server, if I use this fix, will it mess up anyone else’s files on the exchange server or does it only effect my laptop?
    Also will it effect custom forms?

  14. JesusJones on said:

    Hi Perry, I used this site before for ‘troubleshooting’ so thanks for putting this out there 🙂

    Your fix for ‘Outlook not responding’ didn’t quite work for me directly, but I found starting it in safe mode (start, run, type ‘outlook.exe /safe’) can give you access to your mail, and selecting ‘help/detect&repair’ from the menu can fix things. It may ask for your office CD, but although I couldn’t find mine it resolved the problem anyhow 😉

    Good luck all in cubeville!

  15. Thanks Perry. Amazing how hard it is sometimes to find an answer to some problems but your solution was right on the button.

    Many thanks

  16. You da bomb. This worked instantly.

  17. Peter G on said:

    Thanks, this has been driving me mad for months, thought it was just an overloaded Outlook file or some other app competing for memory…this seems to have fixed it immediately. How come Google and MS don’t tell us about this or fix the problem?

  18. Perry, thanks for the posting. I am encouraged by the comments on your solution but can’t seem to find the outcmd.dat file on my system. My OS is windows vista.

    Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

  19. Gregg on said:

    I renamed the file and rebooted Outlook… Did not fix the problem. 😦

  20. Roadboss on said:

    Thank you for the fix it did not fix my problem fully so I just tried JesusJones idea and it fixed my problem which had been locking up my outlook now for 24 hours.

    Thanks to both of you 🙂

  21. Perry,

    Used your fix back in early September and it worked as you stated. Noticed the same thing started happening again yesterday and it progressively got worse. I thought I should have saved your fix and was glad I was able to find this thread again today. Applied it today and all is well once again. Many thanks for sharing.

    Foresthill CA.

  22. Mike, you bet! Glad it worked!

  23. Mark Powell on said:

    So the renamed file should be “outcmd.old”?
    I tried this and it did not work. Still stuck – I also tried Jesus’ idea and my XP SP3 would not recognize “outlook/safe mode.” I hope you are still around…..

  24. Mark,

    Yes, outcmd.old is the correct file name for this. These steps always worked for me.

    I went hunting and found another thread that may help:


    Please come back and less us know the outcome!



  25. Elliott on said:

    Hi – Not sure how to rename the file – I added .old to the file (which doesn’t show the .dat) so that looks good but… it is still a .dat file and just adds the .old before the .dat -it’s an adobe file but adobe won’t open it – says it’s corrupted. Help in any of the details to rename?

  26. Hmm…I just right-clicked on the file, chose “rename”, and then replaced .dat with .old

    If it’s not showing the .dat file extension, what file extensions IS it showing?

  27. Anonymous on said:

    Hallelujah! I have been searching for this fix for a week! Thanks, Perry!

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