The "Why Outlook 2003 Sucks" Challenge

I'm tired of people telling me that Outlook 2003 doesn't suck. The fact of the matter is: it DOES suck, and I can prove it by running Outlook 2000 on a slower machine next to Outlook 2003 on a newer machine. They made UI design choices that were just plain wrong. There was virtually no QA done on this product – and I can point out how and where. Let me just sum up my argument by making just a *FEW* blanket statements that cannot be proven incorrect:

  1. In Outlook 2003, I can watch a new message window redraw itself on my screen. WTF?! It snaps up in Outlook 2000. And if you're telling me that you can't notice the difference, you've automatically disqualified yourself as someone who understands what's going on.
  2. In Outlook XP and 2003, Microsoft made a BONEHEADED decision to merge the client's POP3 and Exchange functionality. This was a mistake – a tremendous mistake – and people who don't use Exchange have suffered because of it. The Outlook team knows it – they KNOW it. THEY KNOW IT!!!
  3. In Outlook 2003, the margins of a new message window are padded unevenly (even in plain text mode). WTF?! If the UI is sloppy, just think about what's sitting underneath it.
  4. In Outlook 2003, the new Folder list is confusing as hell – period. I don't know what folder I'm in, mode I'm in, etc. That, and the padding / dividing lines are uneven and imbalanced.
  5. Outlook XP and 2003, as clients, are slower. They're just slower, period. Sure, you might be able to access Exchange quicker – but at what cost? And what about those of us who don't give a damn about Exchange? Outlook Express isn't a friggin' PIM, and the new Windows Mail client isn't likely to be a viable replacement, either.
  6. Outlook 2000 was the last version to support Net Folders. I told you a thousand times: I don't want an Exchange server because I simply don't need it. Yet another hassle in my friggin' life, yet another service to depend on, yet another monthly bill. NO.
  7. Outlook is still NOT a multithreaded application! In Outlook 2000, this is excusable. In Outlook 2003, this is unforgivable.
  8. Outlook 2003 suffers from the “I'm gonna freeze right now for a few seconds – but I'm not going to tell you why” problem. I've seen it happen on more than one machine, folks. This isn't my imagination.

If you want to use Outlook XP / 2003, be my guest – I'm not going to stop you. If you wanna see what the hell I'm talking about RE: performance, I'll challenge your laptop to a duel. Watch me (with my Outlook 2000) run circles around your newer client(s).

61 thoughts on “The "Why Outlook 2003 Sucks" Challenge”

  1. Do you use Net Folders often? Sounds cool but I don't know that I'd ever use it.
    As for the margins in the reading pane, maybe they're like that for a reason? 😛

  2. If I could do away with Outlook, I would. My Pocket PC, however, has different ideas about syncing up my email, tasks, etc. I use 2003 beause that is what I am stuck with, and I refuse to go back to the Palm platform for my portable device. I agree with almost everything in Chris' rant…no, on second reading, I agree with all his points. What do we have in store with Office 12, I wonder.

  3. My PocketPC also has it's own ideas about what it would like to talk to while it's synching it's data, but I have Outlook 2002 which hasn't provided me with too many issues. That said, if a more secure program came along that could do the job Outlook does for my iPaq, I'd be more than happy to switch and do away with the continual worry of corruption and bugs that Microsoft's applications always leave me with.
    Thankfully, for the very simple jobs of copying over notes, working with appointments, and transferring my already filtered email onto my iPaq, Outlook 2002 is headache free mostly.

  4. Here Here! I wholeheartedly agree, but I have issues with Outlook 2002. The GUI freezes – totally inexcusable in the modern application world. When I loose my internet connection or my VPN goes down, its really “goes south” for awhile. Now it gets an access violation and blows out! The reason I posted a comment is that I want Microsoft to know there are people who aren't happy with Outlook.

  5. As it has been for quite some posts now — trying to criticize a product without any solid proofs (just crying saying this is wrong, that is wrong…”period”), expecting a product as perfect, totally subduing any thoughts regarding the features of the product that you may seem to like. May be you need to do this less often, else people will know that you try to think out of the box for the same of thinking of out of the box thinking.

  6. Never liked Outlook for mail because of the poor backup scheme. But I do use 2K on my main PC under Windows as a non-mail bound PIM.
    As for version 1892 (2002), the last time I tried that POS I was found three days later in a clock tower throwing AOL CDs at unsuspecting software engineers. It was not a pretty sight to behold, let me tell ya. I remember ever so vividly standing there bellowing out; “Why? Why couldn't they just leave it the @#$#@ alone!!!!!”

  7. Chris Pirillo once “again” drops the ball on why Outlook 2003 or any version of the product sucks. You use these crappy little excuses that no one ever notices except for you out of 400 million Outlook users. By the way, Outlook is meant to compliment Exchange Server, if you don't like it, don't use it, 47 million Exchange users seem to think its just fine.
    You are the only enthusiast that complains over a product that no one from the Outlook Team never even acknowledges. Especially for someone who seems to be on the cutting edge in terms of technology and has the fastest computer, its really a shame for you to be comparing Outlook 2003's speed on legacy machines that have probably been replaced by most users or are still running prior versions of Outlook anyway. You are not even an Outlook MVP, which proves even further why you have no right to make any comments about the product. You simply have nothing to do so you say to yourself, what the heck, let me bash Outlook on my blog.

  8. “Outlook is still NOT a multithreaded application!”
    Anyone who knows anything about programming will quickly tell you that this statement is utterly false. Perhaps you mean to say that it's not using separate threads for certain tasks where you think it should..

  9. Yes Outlook 2003 sucks and everything that has been said in this website against Microsoft Outlook 2003 is pale next to the reality, I cannot understand why no one has mention that when you upgrade to Microsoft Outlook 2003 you can import everything except THE RULES for all your FOLDER and SUB FOLDERS, do you realised what it means, you have to set up every single rule. In addition, for those who have a Treo or a Sprint PCS Vision PPC 6700 and other devices, we are unable to transfer information from Microsoft Outlook to our smart devices. Why do we continue to use Microsoft?

  10. I’m involved in a 25,000 seat upgrade of Office 2000 to Office 2003. And y’know what? Chris’ criticism is entirely valid and we are seeing it all come true right now – and impacting our users, adding friction to how they do their jobs.

    Don’t get me wrong, I would not go back to Outlook 2000. I’m addicted to conversation view; it’s a lifesaver when you get a high volume of email conversation threads. But it comes at a price, most of which Chris correctly points out we should not have to be paying.

  11. 1. The incompetent import/export feature (still) sucks.
    2. Automatic Formatting can only take so many entries before the Add button becomes DIM and you can’t add any more auto formatting entries.
    3. You can’t get rid of the stupid FLAG icon in the flag column. It becomes gray, not blank.
    4. You can’t export mail RULES the same way you could before. And it’s not under FILE>Import/Export. You must now go to TOOLS>Rules & Alerts>find the OPTIONS button> and THEN click Export rules. There’s no way to export or import rules under FILE>Import/Export. yeah. go figure. nice well thought out program organization there.
    5. You can’t export mail ACCOUNTS the same way you could before, or like you can in Outlook Express. This was great before when you needed to set up a 2nd one with nearly all the same info, one could just save one, rename it, and import it. done. now you have to use this childish Wizard thing and create one all over again from scratch.
    6. There’s no way to change the office interface to just normal windows theme, not this gradation shaded blended button crap going from light gray at the top to darker gray at the bottom of every bar and button on there.
    7. If you download mail headers they get into outlook and if the pop account is not accessible or deleted, then you can never delete them.
    8. They removed NET FOLDERS which was perfect.
    9. The options dialogs are all disorganized into this nested rats nest of button clicking: Tools, Options, Email, Email Settings, Advanced Email Settings, Optional Advanced Email settings, More Optional advanced email preferences, Even More Advanced Optional Email Format Preference Settings Tab, Still even more Add-in Optional Advanced Email Formatting Preference Settings Options….. c’mon. MS-idiots. You need to click through a friggin maze to get to what you want.
    10. Now to tell it you want to include or not include the account in sending and receiving mail you have to go to this retarded Tools, Send & Receive like you’re going to get mail, then go down to Send/Receive settings, then Define Send & Receive Groups, then a dialog box comes up, then you have to click NEW, then type a group name, then another dialog box comes up, then you have to go pick through little scrolling icons on the left side 1 by 1 of accounts and then checkmark a box on the right side to include the selected account in the group, and then you need to go to account options, and then pick to select the options for that account, and then checkmark the box to send items, and then pick Receive mail items, then click OK, Then you have to make sure to pick “Include this group in send/receive(f9)” then click close button. wtf! Before, you could go Tools>Accounts>pick it and checkmark Include this account. done.
    11. The find command does not bring up a dialog box, it brings up this BAR that hovers above your subject lines. You have to go click ADVANCED FIND to get back to the normal ‘grown-up’ find command. CTRL-F forwards an email, it is not FIND like in just about every other program. To get FIND you have to press ALT-T+I or CTRL+E. To get to advanced Find you have to press CTRL-SHIFT-F.
    12. Toolbar icons are either little tiny things, or if you pick LARGE icons it changes to this PLAYSKOOL blown up clownish pixelated unusably large sized dork-mode icon size.
    13. On the list of Mail Rules, you can’t just click on the name of the rule and get an insertion I-bar and edit the name, you have to 1st select the rule, and then click the “CHANGE RULE” button, and then pick “RENAME RULE” then wait for a tiny dialog box to come up, type a new rule name, and then click OK button.
    14. If you want to re-arrange the order of rules, you need to click them 1 by 1 one at a time and click the UP & DOWN arrow buttons to change the order. AND YES, the ORDER of the RULES MATTERS! if you use the command “do whatever & stop processing rules” you need to make sure other important ones are ABOVE & BEFORE it. Arrow keys don’t work. Mouse won’t move the rules up & down. You can’t select more than 1 rule at a time and move it. Oh, sure you can control-click and select multiple rules, then the up & down icons become GRAYED OUT! and you can’t move anything. Go try it.
    15. You can’t RIGHT click any rule and do anything. Normally when one right clicks anything in any program there are options. Even in outlook if one clicks an email message one could delete it, copy it, etc etc. but NO. Not in the RULES! Thanks microsoft. Good one.
    16. Stupid “OFFICE CLIPBOARD” useless popup thing, thanks for that.
    17. Categories can’t be sorted.
    18. Can’t change the ORDER of mail folders. It alphabetizes them instead. Can’t re-order them like you can FAVORITES and FAVORITE url FOLDERS.
    19. Built-in Junk email filter thing is useless, goes by spammer’s email address. Spammers change their email address every time and forge it. Blocking things by sender’s address, That method was made obsolete in 1996 10 years ago! come on. The writers of the largest selling email software in the world, owned by the richest man in the world, by the company that WROTE the operating system, built an entire email server called exchange, controls and monopolizes the email program market, has hundreds of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of programmers on staff, and the best they can come up with is ‘block sender’ and ‘safe sender’ and Low & High junk setting? pft.
    20. You can’t tell outlook to independently control javascripts and activex controls inside email messages by sender, or even independently of settings for web.
    21. URL’s and underlined links in a browser can show the REAL url link in the status bar below. Outlook doesn’t show the REAL url of links embedded into email messages. ….WELCOME to PHISHING 101.
    22. Outlook screwed up the ability to copy an entire email with source including the headers for reporting to spam services. Now you have to do this stupid right click, options, and then look in this little teenie tiny scrolling window an inch high and copy the body of the headers out of there and then go open a text editor and paste that in there, and then go to the actual email message and right click that, then view source, then wait for notepad to come up, copy that, join the two in the other notepad window and save it in order to get the full source of an email message. What einstein thought that method up?
    23. “Use WORD as your email editor”… don’t even get me started.
    And there’s 500 more things like this why OUTLOOK sucks. If they would FIX it, Outlook wouldn’t suck.

  12. Ossifer’s comments were very worthwhile – although even his technique does not necessarily provide the real source of the message. Chris Pirillo’s comments were good. MrDee totally missed the points. I’m one of those many users linking to an Exchange Server with Outlook 2003, and it is much worse than the earlier products (except for the conversation view — woopie). Microsoft ignores almost all their users, and Outlook 2003 is obviously a major degrade from Outlook 2000 – and earlier versions.

  13. I’ve used Thunderbird for years now, but I want to start synching my laptop calendar with an online calendar service and a phone. Thunderbird has little to no support for this. Only Outlook or Palm are supported by most of the major online services. (Airset, Yahoo, etc)

    Also, my Sony phone can only backup via bluetooth to Outlook. That’s all I am currently using Outlook for. Be nice to have a synched address book among online service, desktop, laptop and phone.

    Dreading going back to Outlook 2003.

    When I try to use the file open dialog box in Outlook 2003, it is hanging up Outlook for approx 10 seconds. (no exaggeration.) I believe this ‘consantly hanging’ behavior was what drove me away 3 years ago. That and I only use IMAP email. I believe the Outlook team may have tried to give Exchange Server another edge by pulling a: ‘Outlook ain’t done, til IMAP won’t run.’

  14. I can’t believe that anyone with any experience with Outlook would defend it. Perhaps if they worked for a big company with a staff that managed the Exchange servers, had spam filtering in place, and lots of other things done for them. But if you are trying to use it for POP or IMAP it is pretty pathetic.

    And to suggest that someone can’t say that the product is bad because they ‘aren’t even an Outlook MVP’ is absurd. Am I supposed to get an advanced degree from MS to be able to use their email program? If it takes more than 20 minutes to set up for anyone who can obviously have their own blog then the program is a failure as a mass market product.

    I agree the faults listed above, but there are many, many more.

    Mostly stuff just doesn’t work.

    Today’s frustration is around rules that don’t work (a quick Google search turned up one recommendation and lots of people who had tried it with no success) and the fact that it often wants to talk to an LDAP server and you must wait for it to time out if you don’t actually have one.

  15. Love these comments, I’m trained by MS 24×7 Product Support and nope I don’t like Outlook either. But I do have a question. Anyone figured out how to get Oulook 2000 to work with http mail? MS has a workaround which is opening the Hotmail webpage by setting up a new folder and then setting the folder properties to the hotmail url. Welllllll… you can open hotmail but you can’t organize anything in Outlook nor save messages to Outlook and on and on. Yucky workaround.!!

  16. just want to add one more reasno why outlook sucks: YOU suck.
    I have Outlook2003 at home, runs fast as hell and though I don’t have exchange (obviously) I never had any problem, nor I suffered like you said I should. backup problems? come on, just be smart enough to save your pst file not on the standard location and the backup is as fast as copying one fuckin file to wherever you want.
    finally, this is my first comment but when I clicked on OK just ONCE, I got a message stating that I can insert just one comment every 15 seconds so I had to retype everything. Please check this, o perfect cowboy.

  17. I agree. I just purchased a new Dell wit the MicroSoft office professional 2003 and its seems to be doing ok for now, but there is one BIG PROBLEM. My PC outlook (2003) won’t synchronize with my HP iPAQ outlook (2002), nothing from outlook will transfers. This frustrates me because i depend on my iPAQ for travel & work. and plus i paid a lot for it. awww!!!. Anyone have any suggestions or know what i could do. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  18. I found this post via Google because the amount of times my Outlook 2003 freezes (5-6 times a day) and for how long (5-10 minutes each) has become intolerable, especially when I come back from being away from my computer for more than a few minutes. I was hoping to find a solution, but the only solution I see here appears to sadly be switch to another product. After being a loyal Microsoft user for about 15 years now, I just might have to.

  19. Same as Mike S, I Googled here due to constantly crashing (freezing up). MS Error Report keeps telling me to its Symantec’s WinProFax problem and go there to fix it; of course you guessed it: NO SUCH PROGRAM ON MY MACHINE! I used to like Outlook … not anymore. Looks like Thunderbird is only option — I do hear that are many 3rd party add-on soluions over there so as soon as work slows, I am off to Mozilla=land. Thanks for this string – confirms my next move.

  20. I am a longtime Outlook and always thought it was great! Then…this week, I decided to install 2003 which has been sitting on my shelf longer than I can remember. I kept Outlook 2003 on my computer for two days and after too much frustration, I removed it (kept the rest of the 2003 Professional suite) –but gave Outlook the boot. Maybe I’m lazy, but I liked the “Outlook Today” screen, it was clean and easy to see what I had going on. Is it gone or could I just not find it? Don’t even ask me about the time I spent waiting for 2003 to do “its thing” and the annoying messages. Not good! Bye bye Outlook 2003.

  21. Personally, I’m a die-hard OS/2 user (eComStation, these days:, and of course, we have no Outbreak for OS/2. So, 99.9% of the time I use SeaMonkey (the successor to the Mozilla Suite: for mail (and web). The other .1% of the time, I simply use my CommuniGate Pro server’s webmail interface. It’s slow, but gets the job done.

    Most of my clients (I’m an IT consultant) use a mix of SeaMonkey, Thunderbird, GroupWise, and one – only one, until a couple weeks ago – uses Outbreak 2000. I have a new client who swears by Outbreak 2003, and would not have anything else. So, the last couple of days have been my first experience with this more recent piece of Microshaft trash…

    Yes, it’s true: *if* you use Outbreak to deal with an Exchange server, it does a fairly good job (I’m not talking about message composition or anything else, right now; merely moving messages between folders, creating new folders, etc.). However, its IMAP handling is about ten years behind the times. In order to keep the app from completely going down, I had to tweak the IMAP server settings to the shortest possible timeout. Moving messages from Exchange to the IMAP server (my CommuniGate Pro 5.1 box, running on OS/2) is an exercise in frustration, as it is so d-mned slow, even when I’m sitting on the same 100Mbps LAN segment as the server.

    Office 2K3 itself was a hoot to get installed. The trial version came bundled with this cr-ppy Vaio notebook (I’m a ThinkPad guy; this thing is a toy). The first time launching Outbreak, it crashed. After the third time in a row, I finally got smart and read the little blurb to “click here for help solving this problem” which opened a browser window telling me that there was an update available which may address my problem (evidently, the issue was with the Office Engine – g-d only knows).

    Off to MS I went to download the “fix”. The first round of updates was 45MB. (The engine itself must be downloaded separately, so I figured to let the update process apply all of the others it wanted to pull first.) The next time around, another 35MB came streaming down. Finally, I was all set to pull the main update for which I had been waiting so patiently… But wait!

    As this was the 60-day trial version, and not a fully registered one, I wasn’t allowed to download the patch. Okay, so let me get this straight: I have a 60-day trial which won’t work; the help tells me to download a patch which shuold correct my problem; I can’t download the patch until I fork over the greenbacks for a fully licensed copy. Hmmm… Something doesn’t quite smell right, here.

    Luckily, I knew that I would have to make the purchase (didn’t want to wait for one of my wholesalers; I needed this thing up and deliverable ASAP), so I went online to Microshaft and forked over the $279 for the upgrade version (the Vaio comes with a complete install of MS Works, which qualifies one for the upgrade version of Office). Once I got that and applied the key code, I was able to download the patch. Well, at least it didn’t crash after that (well, not until Outbreak was running for about fifteen minutes, at least).

    After the instability I’ve seen of this app (Outbreak, in particular), I will never complain about a crash in a SeaMonkey nightly test build again. Even those are more stable – on any platform – than Outbreak.

    Just a professional’s two cents worth.


  22. Another thing that sucks is the stupid envelope that gets stuck in the notification area (by the clock!) when you have ONE or more emails that come in, get filtered and marked as read. Now you have to search every folder for to find the d*m* email that was marked as read and mark it as unread so the d*** notification will go away. I do not mind the envelope when it works properly, but come on I had the ******* message(s) filtered and marked as read!!!

    Since we are talking about Outlook 2003: The calendar sucks as well. Why the hell did I go through all of the trouble to create a well laid out color coded calendar for the office just to find out the ******* colors are not shown when I share it?? WTF, Chuck?? What the hell is the point of the ******* “Automatic Formatting” when it does not show the selected information to other people?? My calendar has color, thanks to auto formatting, and the others see a nice piece of s*** with text. Thank you for wasting my time Microsh*t!

  23. Yaay, I’m so glad I found this bash Outlook thread. So I can write something while my Outlook restarts yet again. I’m connected to Exchange server (which is slow), I use other IMAP account for my other mailboxes (which is even slower). And I’m using the new Outlook 2007, which tops it all.

    I know the problem for stems from some add-ins, but why the **** can a crappy add-in bring down the whole application? Why does the UI become unresponsive, when Outlook is downloading and filtering mail? Did people at MS heard of multithreading? And then when I roam to a different location and lose my VPN or vconnectivity for a moment Outlook decides that it is the best time to hang. So I restart it (not it safe mode) and Outlook hangs yet again on start. And then maybe on the 5th restart it starts normally.

    Sure I have many accounts, rules, e-mails etc but that’s not and excuse for crashing. GOD. When I have to think I have to endure this for years to come and the new version hasn’t fixed anything and supplied another bulk of bugs (Lookup folders on IMAP – do they even work???) I just want to cry. I just want a simple Exchange positive groupware client.

  24. Ok. There are sooooo many valid points here, but to say that a whole application sucks because of some problems is ludicrous. Every application has bugs, and, in my opinion, no application is written perfectly. Everything in the world has flaws. You just have to make the best of it. We still have high-schools that teach information that is worthless for adulthood, and they don’t teach necessary information like doing your taxes, opening a bank account, writing a resume or applying for a job. My wife shops too much, and some of her meals aren’t great. Does that mean that I should replace her? NOT. She has good points too… and so do most applications like Outlook 2003. Do I like it? Sometimes. Do I hate it? Sometimes. I don’t think of it as a necessary evil, but it does take some getting used to. The bottom line is, you should always complain about what you think is wrong. No one would attempt to fix the problems of the world if there weren’t people complaining about those problems. Feedback is great when it is constructive and pointed in the right direction. Personally, I have more problems with XP-SP2 since it broke many of the network diagnostic tools that I have been using for years. I HAVE to use W2K on a workstation just to utilize some tools to keep my networks secure. Now THAT SUCKS. I have actually had to revert to an older OS at times so I can do my job properly. At least I can’t say that about MS Office.

  25. I find it hard to believe that in this long list of complaints about Outlook, you failed to mention it’s near total lack of support for e-mail. Sure, it has support for something that somewhat resembles it at a distance, but IMHO, Outlook (all versions, including Outlook Express) must not be used for anything, under any circumstances.

    Lack of support for format=flowed [RFC 2646]
    Outputs HTML format e-mail by default, and the source code it generates is complete garbage. (IMHO, all e-mails should be plain text only)
    Although I despise HTML e-mails anyway, Outlook 2007 has taken out the IE rendering engine in favour of the one used by MSWord, which doesn’t support much in the way of HTML and CSS at all. (I know IE sucks as well, it’s rendering engine is at least tolerable.)
    Failure to quote properly in replies, even in plain text mode.
    Signature is placed above the quote in replies by default (i.e. top-posting).
    Lack of support for sending the proper sig separator: “– ” (the space on the end would be stripped before sending, even if you typed it manually)
    Failure to remove the signature when replying to e-mails that do use the proper sig separator.
    Country specific prefixes to subject for replying and forwarding.
    Incorrectly formatted (bloated) attribution line.
    When combined with Exchange, it uses it’s own proprietary protocol, instead of standard IMAP or POP3 (Exchange also sucks, BTW). This has created an awful vendor-lock-in situation, that so many organisations are suffering from.
    Completely useless/non-existent junk mail filter (third-party filters can be used, but why bother when Thunderbird has a fantastic one built in)
    Finally, it’s a totally insecure piece of garbage that is vulnerable to so many things, it’s not funny!

    Those who do use Outlook, Outlook Express or any other derivative, should at the very least install and use QuoteFix, which fixes some of those problems, I always strongly recommend that people use any other e-mail client (as long as it’s not based on Outlook), and usually suggest Thunderbird.

  26. Hmm – Commentary stretching back almost two years and still no fix from Microsoft. And before you ask, yes I tried the patches and the tips and on and on and on without any luck. If you have to use IMAP, make sure you don’t waste your time and money with Outlook (any flavor)!

    I wonder if we can sue MS for lost productivity when using their “productivity” solutions…

  27. Outlook 2003 and why it sucks?

    Two more reasons:
    1) Find command searches from back to front (from older to newer emails) so you end up watching three years old e-mails matching the search criteria popping up first in the results list and waiting substantial amount of time for the e-mail from last month you searched for.

    2) If you create a rule that moves an outgoing e-mail into a specific folder (e.g. according to receiving address) it shows up as UNREAD e-mail (though it is very hard to write an e-mail without reading it 🙂

  28. Tell me about it, I have used Mdaemon as a mailserver and
    thunderbird an mac mail as clients. We never ever had any problems.

    Now some people want to use a shared callendar, that they also want to sync to their mobile phone, so no other option then to use outlook.

    Ever since 4 users have outlook as their client I have been constantly running around to solve problems with hanging mails, startup will last for over 3 minutes and the computers are extremely slow ever since.

    When you ask around on the internet, the only thing you hear is, it is your problem, because you want to use outlook without an exhange server.
    This is in fact true, but we will have to invest thousands of Euro’s, because a few people actually want an agenda en therefore need outlook.

    I also heard that when you use exchange, then there is no other option then to let all your users use outlook, because if you would use thunderbird and the imap that exchange uses you are in troubles.
    I can even understand that if you choose for a product that you then have to use the best sollutions for that product and to use outlook.

    The bottom line seems to be, that if you want callendaring for lets say 4 to 8 users, the only sollution is to go with outlook and exchange and the
    nescesary investment for an exchange server.

    The only thing I haven’t been able to find out is, if you go for exchange and outlook, if then every problem is solved, or if it is if I have some problems they will not let me know, ah if you want to do this or that, you will have to buy extra plugins.

    I also do not feel very confident with the things I have seen in exchange, that if you want to solve some problem you have to digg so deep into sub, sub, sub menu’s to solve it that it gets a bit confusing. Also all faults are logged somewhere in log files and if you have a problem until you find the right log, i guess you have alreaddy so manny angry people on the phone that you have no time to look further.

  29. Michael – we can’t sue MS for lost productivity. Check out the EULA, Item 12: “Microsoft warrants that the Software will perform substantially in accordance with the accompanying materials for a period of ninety (90) days from the date of receipt.
    If an implied warranty or condition is created by your state/jurisdiction and federal or state/provincial law prohibits disclaimer of it, you also have an implied warranty or condition, BUT ONLY AS TO DEFECTS DISCOVERED DURING THE PERIOD OF THIS LIMITED WARRANTY (NINETY DAYS). AS TO ANY DEFECTS DISCOVERED AFTER THE NINETY-DAY PERIOD, THERE IS NO WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF ANY KIND. Some states/jurisdictions do not allow limitations on how long an implied warranty or condition lasts, so the above limitation may not apply to you.
    Any supplements or updates to the Software, including without limitation, any (if any) service packs or hot fixes provided to you after the expiration of the ninety-day Limited Warranty period are not covered by any warranty or condition, express, implied or statutory.
    LIMITATION ON REMEDIES; NO CONSEQUENTIAL OR OTHER DAMAGES. Your exclusive remedy for any breach of this Limited Warranty is as set forth below. Except for any refund elected by Microsoft, YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO ANY DAMAGES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, if the Software does not meet MicrosoftÆs Limited Warranty, and, to the maximum extent allowed by applicable law, even if any remedy fails of its essential purpose. The terms of Section 14 (ôExclusion of Incidental, Consequential and Certain Other Damagesö) are also incorporated into this Limited Warranty. Some states/jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitation or exclusion may not apply to you. This Limited Warranty gives you specific legal rights. You may have other rights which vary from state/jurisdiction to state/jurisdiction.”

    So, for the first 90 days out we could have sued. That period is definitely over. MS protects itself quite well from lawsuit with this section of the EULA, which everyone agrees to when they install Office 2003 (you have to agree to the EULA in order to install the product).

  30. Try using Outlook 2003 without enabling the MS Word editor for creating emails. It doesn’t work. Unless you like typing words without them appearing on screen until you stop and move the mouse. Nice touch.

    And the failure to remember the POP password is quite useful unless you WANTED that feature. Yeah I tried the MS fixes. Tried lots of things, but after hours spent, I was no closer to a solution. Other than abandoning computers altogether.

  31. Awwwwwwwe ….. Let’s all get our Kleenex to wipe the tears from our eyes. Yeah I know that this “opinion” was started way back when, but let’s face some other facts. Microsoft always pushes, if not nudges you to the next latest and greatest thing that they have produced. Sooner or later, for what ever reason, you WILL be using Office 2003, so quit your bitchin and get used to it. Now lets look at Office 2007, shall we? WTF is with all the ribbons? Talk about confusing, try using Office 2007!
    Microsoft claims that they put out a survey about it and it seems to be what the people wanted. YEAH RIGHT! We love confusion scratching our heads if not our asses trying to figure out how to do something. WHOO HOO! So like it or not, suck it up, quit your bitchin’, and learn to adapt!!!

  32. Well, this convinces me of what I have suspected all along that it is time to give up on Outlook. I found this page looking for a quick fix to the “Ctrl-F” is “forward email not find” — try convincing my fingers of that when every other application (from MS too!) uses it for find.

    Vista is the final stake in the heart. I am switching to MacOS and hopefully Unix for my next PC.

    The problem with handheld syncing is bigger problem.

    I did not look at all of the posts here but would be interested in folks opinions as to what best non-Outlook options are…

  33. dropped Outlook years ago, although some jobs I’ve had insist on using it. For most of my mail now I use gmail’s fantastic web interface with the calendar etc. The other alternative is Thunderbird, great for email and infinitely extendable with the add-ons – can even build your own, open-source is really rocking now!

    Microsoft products look to be heading toward more and more ‘corporate management’ friendly and less and less user friendly. Unfortunately too many IT departments are hooked on the Microsoft gravy train and are too scared to go out on a limb and dump a shonky product.

  34. All of prior comments pale in comparison to what Outlook 2003 has done to me. My .pst files suddenly have passwords which I did not enter and cannot identify. Three years of email records might just as well be written in Swahili – no, then they would at least be translatable.

    What I have now are simply files I can’t open. Thanx again, Bill G.!!

  35. Outlook 2003 cached exchange mode is an improvement, as well as the “merging exchange and pop3”. It isn’t stupid at all, it works very well and gets rid of the problems in 2000 when you wanted to switch to corporate mode and the windows installer popped up and you were screwed if you didn’t have the CD handy. I’d question someone’s technical ability who can’t use the new POP3 functionality.

    The toolbar down the left hand side, isn’t great but useable. And customisable. The shared calendars and shared contacts side is definately a big improvement since 2k.

  36. It amazes me that a 4yr-old piece of bad code is still the “standard”.

    Outlook runs my PC to 30% CPU load (both CPUs), once every 15 seconds, and there is no way to turn it down. Actions are “new”, “forward”, “reply” and reply-to-all”, but actually _gettting_ my email is a listed as a “Tool”!

    Outlook is the only email for which a college course is available. Once you spend that money, you will have to convince yourself that its good, too.

  37. What the hell are you talking about?

    I understand the “I’m gonna freeze right now for a few seconds – but I’m not going to tell you why” problem, but the other problems? WTF alright!

    It must be your computer that is screwing up Outlook 2003.

    I think you TOTALLY screwed up on Microsoft Outlook, because – how did I get access to my Hotmail account then?

    That was the most TIRING job ever. I didn’t give up the fight.

    POP3 and SMTP don’t suck. Nor does Outlook 2003.

    Maybe you should get Outlook 2007; OR if you don’t want to upgrade, get Mozilla Thunderbird.

  38. I sure hope you haven’t upgrade to Outlook 2007. It is MUCH MUCH WORSE than outlook 2003. I’m like, why the heck did I upgade to dual core if Outlook still manages to freeze my computer when retrieving POP3.

  39. I got a free copy of Office 2007 at a Microsoft developers’ convention a while back. Installed it and immediately thought, “Gee whiz–this is kind of cool.” Within three months, I was seriously sick of it, getting far less done in far more time, and missing the simple functionality of Office 2000. I dumped 2007 and went back to 2000. What a relief. Sometimes you just need to leave well enough alone–or at least tweak it in a more minor way. I guess the folks at Microsoft have never heard the K.I.S.S. rule.

    I recently gave 2007 to my Dad. I wish him all the luck in the world with it.

  40. This happened:
    -The mail-file suddenly got encrypted in my pc, and I am not able to access it by any password/username. But hey as all BillSoft crappy progs work… they work in one pc and not in another… So folks I really am able open the crypted file in my friends pc with same outlook version (2003), no password/username ! This really sucks big time !

    -Thunderbird+Firefox rules forever !

  41. Outlook 2003 was a PITA on XP, it is a disaster on Vista. All of this related directly to IMAP. On XP, because we had extremely large and complicated folder archives on the server I was willing to live with the frequent lockups as I was sure that they were because of this same folder structure with thousands of archived messages and about 14 separate Inboxes.

    But now that I am using Vista, these crashes are happening with a very simple folder structure, a single IMAP inbox, and no e-mails archived on the server – all e-mails are archives locally. This should have made using it much easier, but now, regardless of how long I adjust the timeout period for, Outlook will stop responding everytime I am replying to an e-mail – MID REPLY no less! The entire program freezes and the only thing moving is the annoyingly unending Vista hour-circle. Eventually the program will error with a timeout. Then and only then can I actually complete the reply I was working on and send manually – forget automatic send/recieve…

  42. Yup…it clearly sucks. Mine (Outlook 2003 on XP) will hang forever on a fast P4 machine. Crashes often. And at work Outlook 2007 on Vista is also terrible. Hangs forever despite a smoking fast Core2Duo machine with tons of memory and nothing else running. I can open apps as fast as I can click on that machine and outlook still gums up the works.

    And the hotmail ‘support’ is laughable. It’s so slow it’s painful. And it fails to connect 1/2 the time, and get those annoying pop-ups asking me to re-enter my password (I’ve probably hit the little save-the-password checkbox about 1000 times in my life) which hangs all else.

    It’s a big bloated behemoth. Very powerful, if it doesn’t drive you nuts. I can;t count how many times my system starts acting squirrely and I open the task manager and shut down OUTLOOK.EXE and all is well again.

    While we’re on this topic, Office XP on the whole just plain sucks too. Can’t find anything on the newer supposedly-intuitive ribbon interface. The new templates are not that great and some features are missing. I can’t do a sum in a table inside of Word anymore…WTF is that? If SOMEONE can find it, please let me know. What exactly was the problem with Office 2003 anyway that required this upgrade? Oh yeah, BillyG had no excuse to get peopel to upgrade and spend more money…NOW a remember.

    And furthermore, while we’re on that topic, Vista is a solution to a problem that nobody had also!! Now, having setup about 5 vista machines at my office, If I were gonna buy a new machine tomorrow I’d probably get XP Pro. THE ONLY BENEFIT OF VISTA THAT I LOVE IS THE (FINALLY) IMPROVED AND RAPID SEARCH FEATURE. They can keep the rest. Somebody who was on The ScreenSavers once (R.I.P.) had a utility that they gave away for the day that did the same thing; it used the NumLock key to activate and had a blisteringly fast search function. I’d kill to find out what happened to that utility. I downloaded it to a machine that had a hard drive failure 2 months later and I didn;t back it up (mea culpa).

    I feel much better now….just had to vent….thanks all.

  43. it’s not just outlook… everything about windows is garbage. i have to troubleshoot windows problems daily at my office, but the only non-windows computer (mine) just keeps going and going…

  44. I use Endnote with Word… I can’t send an email using Word as the editor without having endnote insist on starting. So now I’m stuck with having to use that suckhole editor inside Outllook.

    But at least I don’t have to use a fricken Mac. I’ve never been that good a walking on my hands.

  45. I just say: Lookeen instead of Outlook search!!!!! Its much more faster, more accurate, easier etc etc.!!!

  46. Please do not complain about Outlook until you have used Lotus Notes!! If you think that Outlook is bad, just try Lotus Notes for a day. I dare you!!!!!

  47. I have had Outlook 2003 on about a dozen different computers. On half of them Outlook does not block any spam at all. You can add all of the emails to the block senders list you want (I have thousands on the list), Not one of them gets filtered to the junk email as it should. It ignores the list Microsoft won’t help. Their help menus are for fools. They never give any specific answers. They want you to buy 2007 Outlook to fix the problems. Outlook 2007 sucks worse than 2003 and if you cancel your TRIAL copy, it leaves crap all over your computer. These software companies are a bunch of thieves, releasing new packages every year or every other year and then not supporting the old stuff. Die Outlook Die. What the hell ever happened to Lotus Notes. It was the only mail program I ever had that always worked right.

  48. When you get an email with a hyperlink in it, and click on it, it takes much longer than you’d expect to open that link in your web browser. Sometimes, it takes so long that some kind of timeout occurs, and Outlook fires up some kind of “help me find this content” dialog box, which is basically like a file -> Open dialog box. I mean, I’ve just clicked on a link to a *web page*, how am I supposed to find it in a folder on my own hard drive?

  49. I finally dropped Outlook and went with Thunderbird. No more locking up, failing to sent mail, failure to receive mail. Trashing Outlook has saved me immeasurable time and frustration. I originally thought that the problems were with yahoo mail, but as soon as I started using Thunderbird, the problems went away. And all the Outlook files were pretty seamlessly migrated as well.

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