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Outlook not responding, stuck at "Processing," stopped working, or freezes

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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.

Note: These steps are not applicable to new Outlook for Windows. Check to see if the new Outlook toggle is turned on or off. If it's on, please go to Troubleshooting Outlook issues.

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.

  1. Close Outlook.

  2. Launch Outlook in safe mode by choosing one of the following options.

    • In Windows 10, choose Start, type Outlook.exe /safe, and press Enter.

    • In Windows 7, choose Start, and in the Search programs and files box, type Outlook /safe, and then press Enter.

    • In Windows 8, on the Apps menu, choose Run, type Outlook /safe, and then choose OK.

  3. 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.

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 Microsoft 365 files are repaired automatically.

  1. Quit any Microsoft 365 programs that are running.

  2. In Control Panel, choose Programs and Features.

  3. In the list of installed programs, right-click Microsoft Office 2016, and then choose Change.

If repairing your Microsoft 365 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.

If repairing your Outlook data files didn't resolve your issue, move on to the next step.

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.

  1. Close Outlook.

  2. Choose one of the following:

    • In Windows 10, choose Start. Type Control Panel and press Enter. Choose User Accounts > Mail > Show Profiles.

    • In Windows 8, open the Apps menu, choose Control Panel > Mail > Show Profiles.

    • In Windows 7, choose Start > Control Panel > Mail > Show Profiles.

  3. Choose Add, and in the Profile Name box, type a profile name, and then choose OK.

  4. 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.

  5. Once the profile is created, on the Show Profiles dialog, choose Prompt for a profile to be used.

  6. 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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