2016

Outlook 2013 & 2016 Blank Screens and Crashing

Since going from Outlook 2010 to 2016, I’ve noticed several issues. They’re outlined on this TechNet¬†article which lists:

  • Buttons on the Outlook ribbon failing to paint properly
  • Email messages displaying either blank or black in the Reading Pane
  • The Navigation Pane failing to draw all folders properly
  • Various rectangles appearing in the Outlook user interface (UI)

There’s also just Outlook crashing/freezing/running slow. This has been an ongoing problem, and I suspected 3rd party addins to be the culprits. That’s sort of true, however it turns out it’s an overall memory issue with 32 bit Outlook having ~2GB of RAM to access, shared amongst all the 32 bit apps running on your computer.

If you want to know that low memory is the cause of your issues, one way is to use the Sysinternals VMMap utility and follow these instructions. If your free memory is under 250MB, then you’re working below the requirements of what Outlook needs to have available to continue running smoothly.

The article above is very well written and detailed, with the primary remediation suggestion being to go 64 bit Office. This isn’t a short term realistic solution for many companies who have legacy 32 bit addons, or vendors who just haven’t got there with 64 bit addins yet. It only takes 1 addin for that idea to come crashing down, and then there’s the testing of all the re-written apps, and then deploying out; an uninstall of the whole Office 2013 or 2016 32 bit suite, uninstalling all the addins, deploying Office 64 bit, deploying the new addins… it’s potentially a huge project to take on.

There is hope though for those of us who can’t go 64 bit (again the article has many suggestions), which is a new feature called Large Address Aware (LAA). It doubles the amount of memory (4GB) available to the Office apps. It’s already rolled out to Outlook 2016 build 1709. That makes sense if you’re using the Click to Run (CTR) version of Office 2016, but the MSI version that many still use hasn’t got this update yet. Referring to the TechNet article again on this issue, there’s no exact specific mention that LAA will come to the Click to Run version of Outlook 2016, so we’ll have to wait and see.

If you’re experiencing a less than great experience with Outlook 2013 or 2016, it’s worth understanding the above and seeing if you’re affected. This may drive you to change to Office 2016 CTR, Office 2016 64 bit, or even both – or leave you to work out how you can improve the experience, with potentially disabling Outlook addins that aren’t necessary.

I am trying to work with Microsoft on this issue too, so feel free to ask any questions or make any comments and I’ll see if I can assist.

Welcome to 2017

Welcome to 2017! I figured this was a great time to reflect over 2016, as well as looking forward to what 2017 holds.

Last year I wrote New Year 2016 Resolutions which is worth a rehash to see how I went:

1. Be more personal in what I do (selectively).
I did this a little, but can probably do it a little more. My last blog post in 2016 was an opinion piece, but I need to do more personal I believe.

2. Get less caught up in particular individuals or situations.
Mostly achieved :) It still happened a few times but I walked away quicker, continue working on this one too.

3. Be more positive
I think I did fairly well on this – I’ll still call someone out on it when I don’t agree, but overall I feel like I didn’t dwell on many negative things.

4. Get more involved in communities
Tick :) I was handed the Adelaide Windows User Group to run, and merged with Adelaide System Center User Community to become Adelaide Windows and System Center Community. I’ve also presented in the user group a few times, as well as another short presentation at itSMF. More presentations needed

5. Helping others
I always want to do this more, but I’ve tried to do this where possible. It’s been happening, which is great!

6. Do more writing
I did more but could have done more again. Will see how 2017 goes, I have a few external posts scheduled, and writing this post is a good start.

You can probably see a theme here – I worked towards what I wanted but felt I could have done more. What will 2017 hold for me then?

I’m off to a pretty good start. I was awarded the Microsoft MVP title in the area of Cloud and Datacenter Management! I can proudly display this logo now:

This category covers all these areas:

 

  • Azure Stack
  • Datacenter Management
  • PowerShell
  • Hyper-V
  • Storage
  • Networking
  • High Availability
  • Installation and Servicing
  • Enterprise Security
  • Group Policy
  • Windows Server for Small & Medium Business
  • Linux on Hyper-V
  • Chef/Puppet in Datacenter
  • Container Management
  • Linux in System Center/Operations Management Suite

This doesn’t mean I’m a pro at all of them either… don’t bother asking me about Chef/Puppet right now for example, as I’ve never had to use them in real life! If you want to know what a MVP is, have a look at Microsoft’s overview.

Who knows what this new title will bring, but it’s incredibly rewarding to be recognised at this level. I’m hoping to be able to visit Microsoft HQ as part of the MVP Global Summit later this year too :)

I’ve had a huge response to announcing my MVP title which has been very touching in itself; just people bothering to respond with a ‘congratulatons’ is a very nice feeling – thank you all who have!

Beyond that, I’m really going to be continuing on the points I set back at the start of 2016. Nothing’s really changed there, so I’ll continue down that path.

Right now, I aim to make the most of being an MVP and continuing to do what I do; there’s always lots more to learn, and plenty of opportunities to pass on those new skills and tips.

An area of focus for me will be Azure and Office 365 which is ever changing, and it’s where all the exciting new things are these days ;)

Looking forward to 2017 both work wise and family wise (and continuing to keep the balance between both) – bring it on!