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Help! Outlook 2010 Keeps Freezing and then Restarting!

Are you using Outlook 2010?  Does the application freeze up and restart every time you attempt to open certain email messages?  Are you frustrated?  Are you thinking about uninstalling Outlook 2010 and reinstalling Outlook 2007?  If so, read on…

warning dialog box

I have been using Outlook 2010 for over 6 months now and ever since I first installed it on my computer, it has been freezing and then restarting whenever I attempt to open certain incoming messages.  When this first started happening to me, the application had just been released.  I thought that maybe I was the only one who was having this problem and that it was happening because of the way my work computer was configured.  I soon realized that the same thing was happening on my laptop, my home computer, and on the computers in our labs at IU.  When several of my colleagues started using Outlook 2010 and began complaining about their Outlook crashes, I knew that I needed to do some research. 

I remember searching for information about the problem in June of 2010.  At that time, I couldn’t find anything about it online, and since it only happened occasionally and usually only when an email was linked to a commercial website (or so I thought at the time), I was able to ignore the problem for a while longer. 

Now, five months after the application became available for retail and online purchase, the forums and blogs are filled with crash reports from frustrated Outlook 2010 users, and there are lots of confusing theories about what is causing the problem.  Consequently, it took me a bit of time to wade through all of the information in the forums and blogs and then to experiment with possible solutions.  I won’t bore you with all the details of my troubleshooting sessions, but I will summarize my  findings below and hope that this will help you to understand and deal with the issues.

Google Search

 

Problem:  Outlook 2010 freezes when you attempt to open certain email messages.  After it freezes, you see a dialog box that informs you that Microsoft Outlook has stopped working and that Windows is looking for a solution to the problem.  The dialog box then disappears and the application  restarts.  You are unable to open these email messages without Outlook freezing. 

 

Related Problem:  Microsoft Word 2010 freezes and then restarts when you attempt to use certain fonts.

 

Related Problem:  You are unable to use the  “save as pdf” feature in some applications.

 

Probable Cause of the Above Listed Problems:  You are trying to work with a document that uses one of the Adobe Postscript Type 1 fonts, and the font is installed on your computer. Due to compatibility issues, the Office 2010 applications tend to freeze up when dealing with PostScript Type 1 fonts (especially Helvetica and Times). 

 

Short Term Solution #1:  Configure Outlook 2010 to display all messages that you open in plain text.  To do this:

  1. Click on the File tab
  2. Click on Options.  The Outlook Options dialog box opens. 
  3. On the left side of the dialog box, click on Trust Center
  4. On the right side of the dialog box, click on the Trust Center Settings… button. 
  5. On the left side of the dialog box, click on E-mail Security
  6. Under the Read as Plain Text section, click on the “Read all standard mail in plain text” checkbox.

Trust Center dialog box

If you don’t mind reading all  of your email messages minus the  formatting, this may be a good, easy solution for you.  I’m afraid, however, that I am one of those “touchy, feely types” who enjoys getting an email with colored fonts, embedded images, or stylized text from time to time.  (Since I know that I am not the only one, I will continue and offer other solutions.)

 

Short Term Solution #2:   Each time you open Outlook, create a new email message.  In the body of the message, add some text.  Format the text using the font that is causing the problem (Helvetica or Times).  It isn’t necessary to send or save the message.  When you close it, you should be able to open up all other email messages without a problem.  Unfortunately, you will have to do this every single time you open Outlook.  

Personally, I think this solution is even less palatable than the previous one.  Call me lazy, but I don’t think reading one’s email should require so much work!

 

Long Term Solution:  Delete any Adobe Postscript Type 1 fonts that are installed on your computer.  To do this, follow the directions below:

  1. Click on the Start Orb in the bottom left corner of your screen.  The Start menu opens.
  2. Click on Control Panel.
  3. In the search box that is located in the top right corner of the dialog box, type in “Fonts.”  A list of options appears.
  4. Click on “View installed fonts.”  A list of the fonts that are installed on your computer will appear.
  5. Look to see if Helvetica is listed.  If so, select it and then press your delete key.  (You will need to provide an administrative username and password.)
  6. Look to see if Times is listed.  If so, select it and then press your delete key.  (You will need to provide an administrative username and password.)

Note:  If you get a warning message saying that the fonts cannot be deleted because they are being used, first drag these two fonts to your desktop, then see if you can delete them from the dialog box and the desktop.  If this does not work, you may need to start windows in safe mode and then delete the fonts.

After following these steps, restart your computer and open Outlook 2010.  You should be able to open all of your email messages.  While this solution may seem more complex than the others listed above,  you only have to do it once. 

 

Replacing Fonts:  Most computer users won’t even miss the offending Postscript fonts, but what if you are like me, and you use Helvetica and/or Times frequently?  (In my department, we use Adobe FrameMaker for developing instructional materials and Helvetica is used for headings.  If we delete this font from our computers, FrameMaker substitutes another font in its place.  Since we want all of our materials to be consistent, deleting Helvetica for good is not an option.)

In this case, it will be necessary for you to replace the offending Postscript fonts currently installed on your computer with the same OpenType fonts.  Be sure and check the specs for the application that you currently use with these fonts to make sure that the OpenType fonts are supported (e.g., in my case, I must verify that my version of Adobe FrameMaker supports OpenType fonts). 

 

What is the difference between TrueType, PostScript and OpenType fonts? 
For a quick overview, go to the following website:   http://www.fonts.com/AboutFonts/Help/_FontFormats.htm
For additional information about OpenType fonts, go to the following Adobe website:  http://www.adobe.com/type/opentype/ 

 

Where do you get OpenType fonts?  While it is possible to download some free fonts from the Internet,  you probably won’t find the Helvetica and Times fonts available for free download.  You will probably have to purchase the OpenType fonts from a vendor (e.g., adobe,  fonts.com, linotype.com, fontshop.com, etc.)  Before you place an order, verify that you are ordering the specific font you need.  The following Adobe documents should help you to identify which OpenType font you need to purchase in order to replace a PostScript font that you have used in the past: 

  • Type 1 to OpenType font conversion FAQ
  • Type 1 to OpenType Cross Reference (PDF: 1.5 MB)
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    10 Responses to "Help! Outlook 2010 Keeps Freezing and then Restarting!" to “Help! Outlook 2010 Keeps Freezing and then Restarting!”

    1. Michael Johnson Says:

      There is a small firm that deals mainly in publishing I used to service and If it was not for your information here I was going to pull my hair out from not being able to find the answer to the problem. It seemed especially difficult to diagnose because it is only something I see on Vista. Thank you for your reasearch you did on this it worked great.

    2. Fern Says:

      Thank you, thank you! Bless you. I’ve done short term solution #2 for now, and it works brilliantly.

    3. heather Says:

      i tried your short term solution (plain text) and that did not work. so i tried deleting the offending fonts, but i have neither Helvetica or Times (i do have new times roman). and my outlook is only freezing when i try to open the “msnbc headlines” emails that get sent to my computer regularly. i could just not look at them, but i kinda like being able to get headlines sent to my computer as the happen. any ideas for me? by the way, i know almost nothing about computers. Thanks

    4. Donna Says:

      Heather,

      Try this. Each time you open Outlook, create a new email message. Type in a few words and change the font to Time New Roman. Then close the message. You shouldn’t even need to save it. Now attempt to open one of the messages that usually causes Outlook to crash. Hopefully this will solve your problem.

      Good luck!

      Donna

    5. John barrett Says:

      We deleted the offending fonts but outlook is still frozen and the same error message appears. We have uninstalled and reinstalled outlook 2010 severL times. Any advice?

    6. John barrett Says:

      We removed the offending fonts, un-installed outlook, reinstalled outlook and still it is frozen and then the same error message appears. Help

    7. Donna Says:

      Hi John,

      I feel your pain! My advice is to contact customer support at Microsoft.

      Good luck.

      Donna

    8. Richard Says:

      I have Windows 7 and my Outlook 2010 keeps shutting down; have to click it on again several times a day.

      Can you help—thanks immensely

    9. Dwayne Says:

      Outlook uses an immense amount of memory. Have you tried opening another program that uses intense memory to run programs like a video editor or audio editor? If they crash as well, then you have a hardware issue not a software issue.

      Open outlook in Safe mode, then open task manager and take a at the resource monitor. Note the memory used for outlook, then close outlook in safe mode and open it in regular mode. Now look at the memory usage.

      If its excessive higher than it was in safe mode, you could have a hardware issue. Try switching out your RAM memory chips.

      Before resulting to that, go to the Performance settings on WIN7 (right click Computer, properties, Advanced System Settings, then Settings under Performance. Check the box next to Adjust for best performance. Save it all.

      Now run a cleaner to clean out your temp files. CCleaner seems to work great for this. Run a registry scan then the cleaner.

      NOW…. open Outlook.

      Enjoy.

    10. Kara Urban Says:

      I have been searching for WEEKS for a solution to my problem with Outlook 2010 crashing and restarting. Until today, everything that I found either didn’t seem to apply or sounded like I needed a technical degree in order to try. THANK YOU SO MUCH for this information. Short Term Solution #1, while not ideal, does seem to pretty much fix the problem – I did have one crash after disabling HTLM, but that was in the process of weeding through 1,000 messages. Previously, I’d be lucky to get through a dozen before Outlook crashed. I am curious though, what caused this problem to start. I’ve been using Outlook 2010 for years, and only recently started having this problem.

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