Troubleshoot Outlook Express Keeps Crashing in Windows XP – Top 7 Solutions

Written By Nimisha Ramesh  
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh 
Published On May 6th, 2024
Reading Time 9 Minutes Reading

Outlook Express is one of the most widely used email clients and is full of security holes which are often exploited by hackers. Connecting this email program to the internet for downloading and sending emails makes it worse. Sometimes, while launching, closing or performing any operation, it freezes/stops working and throws an error message, i.e., Outlook Express keeps Crashing Or, the program is stuck on a screen that displays “Processing”. This can be very annoying because this problem occurs randomly and this random behaviour makes it challenging to determine the reason for the crash.

Well, there may be be several possible reasons for Outlook Express to behave this way; thus, there is not a single solution for this. In this technical paper, we are going to disclose some actual working and potential solutions to resolve Outlook Express keeps crashing issue.

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Reasons Which Causes Outlook Express Keeps Crashing?

This Outlook issue is caused by multiple sources. The following is a list of some of the main causes of the Outlook issue:

  1. Corrupted Outlook Data Files: Crashing may result from the corruption of Outlook data files, including PST (Personal Storage Table) and OST (Offline Storage Table) files.
  2. Add-ins: Crashing occurs when third-party add-ins installed in Outlook clash with other add-ins or Outlook itself. disable add-ins and check whether the problem continues after trying to disable or not.
  3. Outdated Software: Using outdated versions of Outlook or other software components can result in crashes and compatibility problems. Verify that all software is latest.
  4. Insufficient System Resources: Outlook can crash when used on a PC with insufficient memory or processing capability, particularly when users are handling big email accounts or attachments.
  5. Antivirus or Firewall Software: Overzealous firewall or antivirus software can occasionally cause Outlook to crash by interfering with its functionality. To test if the problem goes away, try turning these off for a short while.

Top 7 Methods to Troubleshoot Outlook Express Keeps Crashing Windows XP

Apparently, there are multiple reasons behind the crash of Outlook Express email client application. But we are helpless to avoid these reasons. To fix Outlook Express keeps crashing issue, we will discuss the top 7 solutions.

Approach 1: Patch Up Windows Operating System with Latest Updates

The first solution to fix this issue is to run your Windows operating system updater application. The new patches will seal the security holes and also fix the errors that have crept in during the course of programming. Security plugs are not only essential for Outlook Express but also for the Windows OS and Internet Explorer browser applications.

Approach 2: Update the Antivirus Program with Latest Definitions

presence of malicious emails in Outlook Express inbox, also become the cause of Outlook Express keeps crashing issue. Well, an email does not need to be opened to infect the user’s computer. Also, sometimes the email message downloads a few corrupted files on the local machine. Thus, it is recommended to update your antivirus program and then run a full system scan to troubleshoot Outlook Express crashing when opening emails.

Approach 3: Remove Faulty or Corrupt Folders from Outlook Express

As we know, Outlook Express keeps its emails in five default folders, and it also allows users to create more folders for email segregation. All its folders, which are displayed in email application, are actually the data files, which are hidden deep inside of the directory structure. Sometimes the folder files also get corrupted due to malicious email or incorrect closing of the email client. If your Outlook Express is not working on your PC and this is happening only when you are launching the program, then, you need to delete the faulty files. Outlook Express will create its default folders once again after launching it. However, before deleting the folder files manually, we recommend keeping a backup of your entire data, as you may lose it during the process. Now, follow the below-mentioned guidelines:

Step 1: Find Out the Location of Storage Folders

  1. In the toolbar, click on Tools >> Options
  2. Now, under the Maintenance menu, click on Store Folder
  3. This will display the location of Outlook Express folder files
  4. Next, copy the directory path and go to the Start button
  5. Select Run program and paste the location; hit the OK button
  6. Now, you will get all the Outlook Express folder files (comprising .dbx extension) in Windows Explorer
Note: If the Outlook Express storage files are hidden, then, you have to force Windows to show them. For this, click on Tools >> Folder Options >> View >> Show hidden files and folders

Step 2: Spot the Corrupt Outlook Express Folder

If Outlook Express is unresponsive then start it and the problem probably lies in the Inbox folder. If you are having problems while deleting messages, then the issue is within the Deleted Items folder that is stopping you from deleting emails. Via this, you can simply detect the suspicious folder that incorporates the corrupted files and remove them.

Step 3: Take Backup of Outlook Express Data

Either you can take a full backup Outlook Express emails or you can simply select all the important emails and drag them into a temporary folder. Therefore, if you think the problem is within Outlook Express Inbox folder, then, choose the emails you need to retain and drag them into a temporary folder. After that, manually delete the suspected Inbox.dbx files and restart your Outlook Express.

Approach 4: Reinstall Outlook Express Program

The last option to resolve this issue is to reinstall Outlook Express. However, this is not an appropriate technique as the application distribution has been stopped. One can try this with Internet Explorer version 6 by setting up the file that is available from (the Outlook Express set up file was included with the browser).

Approach 5: Disable your Outlook add-ins

Disable any recently installed add-ins if the “Outlook express keeps crashing” problem has never given you any bother in the past. Usually, I disable each one individually, shutting Outlook thereafter. This helps to pin down the wrongdoer that causes Outlook to freeze.

  • Go to the Tools menu in Outlook 2007, select “Trust Center,” then select “Add-ins,” and then click Go.
  • Navigate to the File tab in Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013, select “Add-ins,” and then click Proceed.
  • All that you need to do is uncheck the add-ins and exit the dialog box.
  • Close all open programs and applications on your system

Outlook uses a lot of resources because it is one of the more complicated programs in the Microsoft Office suite. When Outlook does not have enough memory to run or complete an essential task, it may hang. This frequently occurs with antiquated, low-capacity PCs. But even the most powerful and contemporary cannot be safe from this. Now let us “feed” it by shutting down any other apps that you do not currently require.

Approach 6: Repair your Outlook data files

To automatically repair damaged parts and errors, if any are identified, in your Outlook data files (.PST or .OST), use the Inbox repair program (Scanpst.exe), which comes with the Outlook installation package.

Initially, you must shut down Outlook in order for Inbox Repair to begin. If you are using Outlook 2010, then open Windows Explorer and go to the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE14 folder.  If Outlook 2013 is installed on your system, you can find it under C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE15.

Double-click Scanpst.exe, then choose the .PST or .OST file you wish to check by clicking “Browse.” Once you have selected all of the scan settings, open the “settings” window and click “Start.” The Inbox repair tool will notify you and prompt you to start the repair procedure if it finds any issues.

Approach 7: Cut Down the Size of your Outlook Data File and Inbox

Microsoft Outlook needs substantial amount of resources in order to operate effectively. Additionally, if the size of one or more of your Outlook data files (.pst) has increased significantly, “Outlook Express keeps crashing another”  error also occurs due to another reasons. There are three easy approaches to handling this issue.

Keep your emails in several subfolders: Rather than just one folder. Outlook might not have enough time to show every message if you keep all of your messages in one folder—the Inbox. Usually, while you are trying to access a specific email or navigate to another folder. Outlook is hanging, which makes the situation worse. We are furiously staring at the screen and furiously pressing buttons. The answer is simple – Create a few subfolders and store your emails in them. This will, more than anything else, make your work a little more pleasant.

Compact the Outlook data file: Be aware that merely removing unnecessary messages from your .PST file will not reduce its size or free up space on your hard drive. You must instruct Outlook to specifically compress your data files. In order for Outlook to compress your data file, do not forget to delete the Deleted Items folder before proceeding.

  • Outlook 2010 users can access the Compact option via the File menu’s Info > Accounts Settings > Data Files tab. After selecting your folder, select Settings. After selecting the General tab, select Compact Now.
  • As an alternative, you can right-click the Personal folder (like Outlook or Archive) in Outlook 2013 and 2010 and choose Data File Properties > Advanced > Compact Now.
  • Archive your old items. One more way to reduce the size of your Outlook file is to archive older emails using the AutoArchive feature. If you need detailed instructions, I’ll refer you to Microsoft again.

Archive your old items: Put your old stuff in the archives. Using the AutoArchive tool to archive older emails is another way to shrink the size of your Outlook file. 

Concluding Lines

Considering common user query that Outlook Express keeps crashing Windows XP, we have come up with this article. Here, we have discussed some easy workarounds to resolve the issue. Now, users can opt any solution according to their present requirements and preferences.


By Nimisha Ramesh

Nimisha Ramesh is a dynamic professional known for her expertise in content and brand strategy. With a passion for crafting compelling narratives, Nimisha excels at creating content that not only engages but also aligns with brand objectives. Her strategic approach to content development and brand management has made her a valuable asset in reaching broader audiences and driving business success.