For those of us heavily dependent on Outlook whether for email, calendar or contact management, the idea of Outlook crashing is unthinkable. But as many of you have learned the hard way, it can happen from time to time. My Facebook and Twitter pal Jim Turner recently ran into some trouble with his Outlook profile which prompted him to request a post on good preventative maintenance for Outlook. So, Jim, here you go:
Use Good Virus Detection Software
I’ve seen a lot of computers functioning well below peak performance with free anti-virus software loaded on them. In all fairness, it is not always the freeware so much as the fact that it was used as a bandaid when there were already problems not properly addressed before it was loaded. On the other hand, I’ve also noticed that much of the Outlook antivirus freeware tends to interfere with other Outlook add-ins (see Arrow-Tip #5 Use the Right Anti-Virus Software). Folks, these days especially, anti-virus software is not where you want to skimp. See Arrow-Tip #5 for some recommendations on good anti-virus software that plays nicely with Outlook. And by all means, IT professionals, fee free to comment on other great products you’ve used successfully with Outlook and Outlook add-ins.
On that same topic, some spam filters loaded locally can also cause problems with Outlook add-ins. I’ve used a lot of spam filters both locally and at the Exchange level and so far without a doubt my favorite is Defender developed and hosted by MX Logic for Mailstreet (my Exchange service provider). Its unbelievable how much Defender has cut down on spam and since it runs at the Exchange level Defender does not interfere with Outlook add-ins at all.
Keep Your Mailbox Size Down
One of the real keys to keeping Outlook stable is to manage the size of your over all mailbox which as a side benefit also helps speed up performance as well. By far the largest mailbox hog is your Inbox and Sent items file especially if you hang on to emails with large attachments. I’ve written several posts on how to manage the size of your inbox so here is a quick recap:
Check for Updates
One of the great things a good IT support company will do for you is make sure that critical Microsoft updates are installed on your computer. If you are not working with an IT support company, then create a monthly task to check the Microsoft website for important Windows, Word and Outlook updates all which can effect Outlook performance. Alternatively, you may want to check out a weekly newsletter called EMO for Exchange Messaging Outlook that lists all recent Microsoft Outlook updates and what they fix. But realy the best and easiest solution is to have a great IT support company maintain your computer and handle the updates for you.
So there you have it. If any of you IT support gurus have some additional suggestions for good preventative maintenance, please share in the comments.