Friday, April 25, 2008

Outlook 2007 - Still Craptastic after a year

You can read my original post on this subject here.

A year and a service pack later and I'm still having problems with Outlook. The latest bug is one that's plagued me since Outlook 2007 came out. I sort my Inbox by the Received date with the most recent emails at the top. When I have several unread emails in my Inbox, I like to open the oldest one first, read it in a separate window, act on it by deleting it or moving it to another folder (or ignoring it) and then automatically moving to the email directly above the email I just read. In previous versions of Outlook, this always worked flawlessly, even if the option for it is named based on the assumption that everyone sorts their Inbox in the exact opposite order that I do. In Outlook 2007, the option is found by going to Tools, Options, Preferences tab, E-mail Options button and it's the select box at the top of the dialog: "After moving or deleting an open item:"; I set the option to "open the previous item" (which should be worded as, "open the item above").

The bug is that if you receive a new email while you are reading an older email, Outlook 2007 forgets where you are in your Inbox and as soon as you delete or move the email you're reading, it jumps past the "previous" item (the one immediately above it) and instead opens up the email you just received. I don't want to read that email yet and, worse, this behavior sometimes tricks me into believing that I've gone through all the items in my Inbox after I've read the email that just came in and nothing else is opened automatically.

I did a Google search and could find no mention of this problem anywhere. So, I'm posting it here in the hope that someone at MS has a search alert setup for Outlook 2007, will see this post, acknowledge that it's a bug and fix it. Come on, MS, this worked for years and now it's broke.

Revisiting to my original list from last year:
  • ICS problem that was affecting Google Calendar - Either MS fixed the problem or Google Calendar worked around it, but it's working OK now.
  • If I shut it down and then hibernate my computer too soon after the shutdown, when I start it up again, it tells me that it "failed to shutdown correctly" and I have to wait several minutes for a fruitless and pointless error check to complete before I can use Outlook again. - This occurs much less in recent weeks. I think it was addressed by a patch that dealt with plugins or addins that didn't release all their threads (or something like that).
  • It crashes randomly - for the last crash, all I did was close a Note window and boom. - I still get random crashes, but not as many as I used to.
  • It's terribly slow - much slower to start up, much slower to deliver mail. - Still terribly slow.
  • I can't delete bad nicknames because the MS article that explains how to do this is wrong and I can't figure out where the new nickname file is stored. - MS finally documented that the new nickname file name for Outlook 2007. I think it's outlook.nk2, but I'm too tired to search for this now, but I deleted the file and I no longer have this problem or the next one.
  • Because I can't delete bad nicknames, it has this annoying habit of not sending some emails - they get stuck in the Outbox because the email address is invalid but there is no visible warning to me that they're there.

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