How To Fix Outlook 2016 Freezing on Loading Profile

I haven’t found a permanent fix for this problem in all cases. So consider this article “ongoing” for now. I’ve noticed that sometimes that Outlook 2016 will freeze on the “Loading Profile” screen on Windows 10 computers. This seems fairly specific to machines connected to an Exchange account of some kind.

The first few times I encountered it the below fix resolved it completely after one time. I have seen a few computers where, it still does this despite a local profile wipe (which on Windows 10 is not the best idea apparently). It usually happens after the user reboots. If anyone knows what actually causes this problem, and an actual fix, rather than the below “band-aid” I’d love to hear it and will give credit in an addendum to the article.

Fix Outlook 2016 Freeze on “Loading Profile” Screen

Step 1 – Either close Outlook or have the user do it. You can kill the task remotely or just close the load screen window. It isn’t really frozen, it’s just stuck most of the time.

Step 2 – Navigate to the following directory on the user’s machine: C:\Users\[user profile name]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

Tip: You can do this remotely by navigating to \\[user’s PC hostname]\C$\Users\[user profile name]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

Step 3 – Look for a file in that directory called “useremailaddress@domain.com.ost”. Delete it.

Step 4 – Have the user re-open Outlook.

This seems to resolve the problem. The issue seems to stem from a corrupted OST file or something. Sometimes this will keep happening when the user reboots the computer or the computer updates. Most of the time not though.  I’ve tried the following to fix the issue on the machines where this recurs with no luck:

  • Making a new Mail Profile and re-setting up Outlook
  • Doing a full Profile Wipe on the local computer
  • Doing a Windows 10 “restore”
  • Repairing Office.

I haven’t tried taking Office completely off and putting it back on, may try that next and see if it’s just a corrupted Office installation, nor have I tried removing the affected user’s Inbox at the Exchange level and see if that fixes it. I tend to think it’s a problem on the local machine as only certain PC’s have the problem.

I’ve read a few Technet articles and had very little luck with that either.

It could, in theory be some other file that’s corrupted, I have a hard time believing Outlook would repeatedly corrupt an OST file, I have not tried removing the entire Outlook Folder to see if that fixes the issue.

If anyone has any ideas please let me know!