pcns - blog - eric braun, owner.

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nov 2006 - scorecard: pcns: 2   bestbuy geek squad:0



Rescued another Best Buy Geek Squad customer.  Outlook 2000 was taking 1,932,735,283 bytes (yes, that's 1.8 gigabytes of Ram).  The customer gave Geek Squad two shots at it.  They suggested some workarounds, (such as adding memory to the computer), but this didn't solve Outlook consuming enormous amounts of memory.  The final attempt Best Buy Geek Squad charged the customer $269, and still no solution.  Total expenditure over two visits:  over $400.

Solution

You can diagnose a lot of strange Outlook problems, simply by running Outlook in Safe Mode.  Click Start, Run, type outlook.exe /safe

In this case, Outlook started normally, used only 97 Megabytes of memory, and ran great.  Running Outlook in Safe mode runs with all extraneous third party plug-ins disabled.  We are therefore able to isolate a bad or malfunctioning plug in.  But disabling all external COM plug-ins did not resolve it, still it was using 1.8 gigs of ram.  So I went to Tools, Customize.  This shows you what toolbars, both internal and plug-ins to Outlook, are being recognized in Outlook.  I found an interesting item, which was deselected - Hotbar.  Humm, Hotbar, has been positively identified as Spyware.

Well the customer had the latest version of Webroot Spysweeper, so I surmised that this PC was once infected with Hotbar, and Webroot took out the spyware, but it failed to remove the entries in Outlook.  Therefore, remnants of the software was in Outlook.  Was this confounding Outlook? 

In Outlook, there's a special file, called outcmd.dat, which keeps track of toolbar customizations.  If this file is damaged or corrupted, this will cause Outlook to stall when loading, and use large amounts of memory.  In this case, simply deleting outcmd.dat resolved the issue.  More details here.  Note if you do this, if you have any third party toolbars installed in Outlook, the software with the third party hooks may have to be re-installed.  This problem has become more prevalent because of Spyware and Malware.