OL97: Office Programs Stop Responding While Outlook Is Busy

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Article ID: 167975 - View products that this article applies to.
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When you try to carry out any file action (Save, Open, or Print) in a Microsoft Office 97 program or in a Visual Basic for Applications program, the program may appear to stop responding. This occurs while Microsoft Outlook 97 is busy performing an action that takes a long time, such as synchronizing an Offline Folders File (*.ost), autoarchiving, or exporting.


This problem can occur when all of the following conditions are true:
  • You started Outlook before you started the Office 97 program that is not responding.
  • You have the option to "Automatically record these items" in the Journal selected for the Office program that is not responding.
  • Outlook is busy with another action.
Under these circumstances, the file action of the Office program triggers a request to write to the Journal. Writing to the Journal must wait until Outlook becomes available. The file action of the Office program cannot proceed until the Journal entry is complete.


There are three ways to avoid this behavior:
  • Start the Office program before you start Outlook.

  • Wait until Outlook finishes whatever action is keeping it busy before beginning any file action in another Office program.

  • Turn off the option to "Automatically record these items" in the Journal for the Office program that is not responding.

More information

The Outlook Journal automatically records a log of user activities. Each Office 97 program provides AutoJournal capabilities, logging to an Outlook Journal entry each time you open, save, or print a document. With the Journal and the Outlook 97 Timeline view, you can find information based on when you worked on a document, and not worry about where you saved it or what you named it. To configure Outlook 97 to use the AutoJournal feature, use the Journal tab on the Options dialog box. With this, you can add, remove, and edit, the types of AutoJournal entries.

If you start Outlook first and have the Outlook AutoJournal feature selected for any of the Office 97 programs, Outlook tries to record the Office program's activities directly to the Outlook Journal. If Outlook is busy with another action, the Journal entry must wait for Outlook to become available. During this wait, the Office 97 program is unable to complete its file action and appears to stop responding.

NOTE: This behavior is different in Outlook version 8.02; file actions do not wait on Journal actions in version 8.02. For more information about Outlook version 8.02, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
166022 OL97: Summary of Changes in Outlook Version 8.02
If you start the Office 97 program first and have the Outlook AutoJournal feature selected, the Office program makes a call to the Mso97.dll file that causes the Journal entry to write to the Offitems.log file in the Windows folder. The Journal processes these entries after a Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) idle time of 30 seconds. In this situation, the Office program passes off the Journal entry that the file action triggered, even if Outlook is busy. The Office program does not have to wait on Outlook. When Outlook becomes available, the Journal action proceeds.


For more information about how the Journal feature affects Office programs, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
166850 OL97: Outlook Starts Slowly with AutoJournal Feature
166852 OL97: Outlook Continues to Run After Exit with AutoJournal


Article ID: 167975 - Last Review: November 2, 2013 - Revision: 2.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Outlook 97 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Office 97 Professional Edition
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