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Performance Issues

Entourage randomly freezes for a period, takes over system resources, slows down machine, disk churnning, hangs, heavy disk activity, freezes when new mail received. All of this is enough to drive you mad.

There are options in Entourage that can improve performance, but you must also look to hardware for the cause.

Options in Entourage that can improve performance:

  1. Add your Identities folder to Spotlight Exclude list
  2. Turn off the background database check
  3. Investigate your Project Center projects
  4. Check your preferences for linking
  5. Check Sort Order in Address Book
  6. Other performance issues:
    1. Why is it taking so long to open my Address Book?
    2. Entourage and other Office apps take a long time to quit
    3. Long time to switch between folders
    4. Typing slow in Entourage
    5. Takes longer to sort on Custom Fields
    6. Long delay before font list drops

Check your hardware:

  1. Problems from Insufficient RAM and Free Hard Disk Space
  2. Memory for Classic Users


  1. Use the Activity Monitor

1) Add your Identities folder to the Spotlight Exclude list.

Your Identities folder is found in the Microsoft User Data/Office 2004 or 2008 Identities in your User's Documents folder. Add your Identities folder to your Spotlight Exclude list in the System Preference Panes. Drag the folder into the pane rather than use the + (add) button. It could be that Spotlight it trying to index you database and inducing this general slowdown. Entourage has a different mechanism to provide Spotlight information for e-mails and contacts so you don't lose this functionality by excluding the database. More info on using Spotlight with Entourage

2) Turn off the background database check.

  • Launch Entourage while holding down the Option key; Database Manager is launched instead.
  • Select "Set Database Preferences"
  • Uncheck background integrity checks.

If you turn this option off it is highly recommended to periodically run Verify Database to be on the safe side. I suggest setting a Task to remind you.

As long as original messages exist elsewhere this is a safe option. For users in Exchange Server or IMAP environments where email is already stored on the server this is not an issue. Home users need to create a backup strategy to prevent loss of data.

3) Investigate your Project Center projects for a possible cause. Freezing in Entourage whenever new mail is being received can be tied to your projects. When you have large numbers of Project Center projects, corruption in a project can cause crashes and freezing. Tip: Archive your older projects.

See Troubleshoot Project Center for details on troubleshooting your projects.

4) Check your preferences for linking. Sometimes linking can cause slowdowns.

5) Check Sort Order in Address Book .

One user reports: Simply resorting the names in the  Address Book appears to have completely alleviated the freezing, stalling and slow window switching that had plagued me along with so many others for several weeks. I have even turned on again the Background Database Integrity Check without any perceptible degradation of performance.

For example in the Address Book: Once it opens, click on the name column to re-sort your contacts. That should cause Entourage to re-sort the list and speed things up.

1) Use the Activity Monitor to view YOUR system activity.

Open the Activity Monitor in your Applications --> Utilities folder. Sort by % CPU to identify CPU hogs. To free up memory:

  • Quit applications when you're finished.
  • Quitting and relaunching the browser helps.
  • Checked your Dashboard widgets lately? Third-party widgets can distract your processor too. See what they're doing in Activity Monitor. Clear out the more processor hungry widgets that you installed but never use.