Shutting Down Outlook

Shutting Down Outlook

  • Comments 53

This is one of those things that I thought only happened to me. For years, I've been running multiple Outlook profiles: one for my personal e-mail, and one for my Microsoft e-mail. It's quite common for me to exit Outlook and fire it up again so I can check a different e-mail account. As a matter of fact, I do this many times each day. Unfortunately, a quick re-start of Outlook doesn't always work, because the OUTLOOK.EXE process usually hangs around for awhile before it terminates. I'm not afraid to admit that I'm quite used to popping up Task Manager to see if the process is closed, and if I get too impatient, I close it myself. Come on...admit've done it too (dad...if you're reading this, I'll explain what Task Manager is later). :-)

Like I said, I thought it was a problem that was unique to me. However, I received an e-mail today that not only confirmed that I wasn't alone, but it actually contained a suggestion for eliminating this problem altogether! If this information is to be believed, closing Outlook by clicking on the X doesn't always shutdown the OUTLOOK.EXE and WINWORD.EXE processes right away; but, if you use File/Exit, both processes shut down immediately. Of course, I've been trying to test this tonight, but Outlook is closing immediately in all cases...kind of like the car that doesn't squeak when you drive it to the dealership.

While searching the internet for similar cases, and I've found a few other solutions:

  • KnockOut - a tool that sits in your system tray and lets you know if the Outlook or Word processes are currently running
  • Shutdown Addin - a tool that helps Outlook shut down more quickly, and if it doesn't after a period of time, the addin forcefully terminates the process
  • A list of software that may cause problems

If you can confirm that File/Exit does the trick, please post feedback!

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  • The problems seems to occur when the project is
    a WEB FORM, and there is no problem with a WIN FORM.

    Does it help some body ?
  • instead of OL shuting down it wont start up at all i re-install, un-stall, then re-installing it but it always gets stuck on the welcome message. i even went to mirosoft to see if there was an up-date there wasnt. if you find the answer plz email me at
    (3 L's) thanks
  • I havnt notice outlook doing this, but i have noticed winword doing this often, even if i just launch word and cross it off (not even though outlook). Same deal with all of the Office suite and as of late... iexplorer.exe ahs been doing the same thing.. File->Exit works, but Alt+F4 or crossing it off just hides the UI and leaves the process to consume/use RAM
  • We experience the same problem on system shutdown. The shutdown occours before outlook has closed the Archive files and next boot Outlook takes 5 minutes to check the Archive files
  • I wonder if this failure to shutdown is somehow related to the Windows prefetch utility.  There is some mixed opinion about prefetch and I currently have my registry set for prefetch to save only the essentials.  However, apparently Microsoft considers any application they developed an essential.  


  • Seems like it's still an issue with Outlook 2007

  • I can verify it still happens in Outlook 2007 and clicking the X or file/exit doesn't make a difference.

  • Running Outlook 2007 on Vista Business, Alt+F4 will keep the process running, while File\Exit will not. Thanks.

  • I am running OL 2007 and am having the same problem X does not kill the exe but file exit does WTF?? I was running OL2003 for a couple of years without a problem but OL 2007 chews the memory and causes more grief - I did have a bit of success by going into tools -> trust centre addins and disable everything but it only worked on the first time I tried - any other ideas without running some background app to close another app that should be closed??

  • I have the same experience as Alan Barker above. Using Outlook 2003 I experience the persistent background OUTLOOK process. If I shut off my machine right away, I will get a message like "Outlook was not closed properly, checking Archive.pst for problems" So I right click > close my archive file and keep it closed until I need it.

  • I've had this problem with every version of Outlook I've ever used and under both XP and Vista.  I can't imagine anyone not having the problem.  I assumed Microsoft just thinks no one should ever have to close Outlook.  But thanks for the tip that closing using the X and closing using File/Exit are two different procedures.  Sure enough, that seems to be working for me tonight (Vista Enterprise with Outlook 2007). Maybe you've helped solve a big headache for me! But I'm not going to get my hopes up too high until it has worked for several days in a row.  

  • Using taskmanager, applications -> End task to shut down Outlook 2007 on Vista without using X or File -> Exit first, is the only thing working for me. And it shuts down cleanly.

  • I run OL 2007 in Windows Vista Ulitmate and I have this problem.

    I have my PST-file on a memory stick, to access it on three different pc's.

    Every time I kill the process, on restart of OL I get an error message claming that the file was not properly closed during last shut down of OL, and that it has to be checked for faults.

    I worry about my data!

    Just letting you know.

    I'm now turning my attention to newsgroups to check if there is a solution to this very annoying mishap.

    Have a nice 2008!

  • incredible but It works !!!!!, now outlook.exe takes 3 to 5 seconds to close,

  • This has pissed me off for years. Especially when I notice multipy .exe for outlook and winword in Task Manager and neither is actually running. For me they hang around forever ... I first noticed this problem when I was getting some wierd responses from Outlook.

    BTW, thanks for the Exit tip. I just tried it and it worked like a charm. (and I had a Winword just sitting there.) Now all I have to do is get the whole family to exit, instead of x-ing.

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