Microsoft Corporation has released an update to Outlook 2007 designed to speed up the communication software's much-criticized sluggishness. The 8.3 MB update should accelerate the download of messages from the Exchange e-mail server and reduce temporary freezes resulting from deleting messages or copying them from one folder to another as well as allow faster switching between messages and enable faster program startup. "I can't say that this will 100 percent solve the latency issues, but users should see a big improvement," said Jessica Arnold, Outlook's program manager.
Arnold said that while Microsoft had started hearing about problems even before Outlook's release to businesses last November, "until we had enough users, the data wasn't clear." Arnold said Microsoft will monitor the effectiveness of this patch to see what other performance problems to address next, if any. The problems are mostly due to changes made under Outlook's hood to accommodate new features. For instance, RSS newsfeeds are now downloaded and stored in users' local databases as .PST files but because they can quickly grow to several gigabytes in size for some users, they become very slow to read or write to, Arnold said. Meanwhile, Outlook 2007's indexing of e-mails, while allowing for near-instant search results, can also cause delays even when run in the background.