Outlook 2011 – resource hog


My MacBook Pro hasn’t felt this sluggish… well… ever. But I install Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 and start using Outlook and geez…

I’m guessing it’s got some serious memory and resource management issues. I have so much slowdown in part because there seems to be tons of VM swapping going on. The longer the app is running, the worse things get. I’ll use the Activity Monitor and see the amount of memory that Outlook consumes just growing and growing and growing. What’s worse, the WindowServer process also grows huge. So put those two together and the machine just gets consumed. Thinking about it, the nature of the app makes you open and close windows all day long (I’m not using the preview pane / all-in-one-window mechanism… I open each email in its own window… maybe that’s not the codepath used much by the developers), and they are probably leaking windows (amongst other things).

Quit Outlook (which takes numerous minutes, which is crazy) and then not only do I reclaim all the memory from Outlook itself, but I saw my WindowServer process go from taking like 500 MB of real memory down to about 53 MB.

And Outlook is just slow. Slow to open a mail message. Slow to do a major context switch (making Outlook the front process). I’m floored at how sluggish things are.

I really hope that the MacBU is aware of this and working on it. I’ll drop them a line, don’t know what good it will do. But man… instead of seeing any more features, bug fixes, or bringing back Entourage 2008 features that we lost (more of which I’ve found, like I can’t cmd-shift-return to save as a draft)… I’d love for them to just spend time in Instruments, fix leaks, optimize, and so on.

I’m very tempted to move back to Entourage 2008…. but unfortunately I just accepted that Outlook wouldn’t suck and didn’t set myself up to keep things in sync, so I’d lose a bunch of mail. *sigh*


8 thoughts on “Outlook 2011 – resource hog

  1. Have you tried rebuilding your email database? This has fixed the sluggish problems that I have had in the past with Entourage and people who have thousands of messages. Also, Entourage doesn’t seem to like thousands of messages in a folder, so if you keep the totals less than 2000 msg per folder it seems to perform much faster.

    Here is the link to the Microsoft KB on how to fix rebuild the database. Its very easy and generally safe.

    • Well, this is a fairly recent upgrade from Entourage 2008 to Outlook 2011… so I would like to think the import process from Entourage to Outlook would have been fairly well done and not need a rebuild. But I guess it can’t hurt to try.

      As for lots of messages, well… in a lot of respects my mailboxes now are the same as they were in Entourage a few weeks ago. Even if Entourage was slow, Outlook is being slower. But that’s not really the issue. The issue is Outlook itself is being a massive resource hog for me for whatever reason (I could see not everyone having the problem as we all have different configurations, and depending what exactly is causing the resource hogging you may not trigger it). If I quit and relaunch Outlook, things are zippy. If I leave Outlook running and do lots of work throughout the day in it, eventually it consumes massive amounts of memory, seems to be causing the WindowServer to also consume massive amounts of memory (tho that could be unrelated, but it always seems to go hand-in-hand that I can see), and eventually my machine as a whole slows to a crawl because there’s so much VM swapping going on and Outlook doesn’t want to page any of its memory out (it’ll be consuming 500MB or more).

      So, I’m not thinking it’s anything per se with the database and that rebuilding it will remedy. I think there’s some bugs and memory leaks in the app itself.

  2. WWYT?

    Outlook? Seriously? Couldn’t find a Lotus Notes client? Outlook is painful to use on Windows. I can’t imagine the OS X client being any better.

    • Well, this is a different Outlook… this isn’t the same Outlook that MS had for Mac from many many years ago. This is Entourage evolved… well, supposedly evolved, there are some steps backwards. It’s mainly “Outlook” in name only.

  3. Pingback: » Is Outlook 2011 a resource hog on your Mac? chimac.net – Stuff worth knowing about

  4. We use Exchange at work so I use Entourage 2008 ONLY for calendaring– I use Thunderbird for my actual mail client. I’ve done it this way for years– other than having Entourage running all the time and needing to accept meetings in Entourage I haven’t had any other real problems with it.

    • yeah, Entourage 2008 is good, but has a few shortcomings that well… Outlook did address, but then it was like some steps forward, some steps backward, and then a few off to the side. It’s been an irritating situation.

      I have often thought about just going with a 100% Apple solution: Mail, iCal, AddressBook, etc.. I use them for most things, but Mail I don’t because Mail just pales in comparison. I’d like to use them all since it really provides better overall system integration (e.g. AddressBook) as well as iPhone integration. But Mail just pales in comparison.


      My kingdom for software that doesn’t suck!

      • I use the GPG integration (enigmail) pretty heavily for both work related encrypted emails and I use it for storing all my passwords– I basically have a mailbox that has all my passwords GPG’d. I’ve done this for at least 7 years or so. I’ve tried a variety of password keeping tools and also use LastPass, but never trust it as the source of final truth for all my beloved passwords.
        I believe there is some type of PGP/GPG integration with Apple Mail but have never bothered to look very closely into it.

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