Usage guide: Outlook - Stability and Compliance


For many companies, Microsoft Outlook has become an essential tool for communication and collaboration both between employees and with third parties. It is imperative, therefore, that IT teams are able to monitor the status of this application across the organization, in terms of performance, stability, adoption, and network connectivity

This library pack will help you monitor, manage, and enhance the Outlook experience across your landscape to ensure employees can access all their Outlook functionalities and collaborate effectively without frustration. This page will guide you through the structure of the content and how it can be used.

Please keep in mind this is a guide and represents just some of the potential insight and actions you can take. There are many use cases and specific troubleshooting scenarios that you might uncover in your environment.

Ensure your library pack is properly configured by following the steps highlighted in its configuration guide

Configuration guide: Outlook - Stability and Compliance

Pack structure


The "Outlook - Stability and compliance" live dashboard acts as the starting point of this library pack. It provides visibility into your Outlook landscape to easily monitor and uncover any issues and/or areas of improvement.

Additional visibility into the overall health and reliability of the web and desktop client can be accessed from your Applications module using the Microsoft 365: Outlook application.

Advanced troubleshooting and remediation

For more in-depth investigations, you can rely on the results of specific data-gathering remote actions.

  • Get outlook plug-ins: Retrieves the installed Microsoft Office Outlook COM Add-ins sorted by status and name.

  • Get outlook storage info: Obtains the number of PST and OST files a user has connected to Outlook, and their overall size.

  • Get Outlook add-in diagnostics: Provides a deeper view into Outlook add-in performance and Outlook stability, to make it easy to understand where Outlook add-ins are experiencing poor startup performance or stability problems, which are causing add-ins to be set to disabled.

Some of these data-gathering remote actions are used to populate the live dashboard and should already be scheduled. You can query the results by investigating KPIs from the Live dashboard or from your own investigations.

To resolve some of the detected issues, the following remote actions can be triggered when required:

  • Set Outlook plugins: Enables or disables each Microsoft Office Outlook COM add-in specified in the parameters.

    • The "Set Outlook Plugins - Invoke" campaign can be used with its RA to notify users of the the outlook restart

  • Repair Outlook OST problems: Repairs Outlook problems with OST file by deleting it and restarting Outlook.

    • The "Repair Outlook OST - Invoke" campaign can be used with its RA to notify users of the outlook restart

Identify areas of improvement

In the dashboard's summary tab, you can access a helicopter view of where you might have problematic areas. Based on this information, you can navigate to the respective tab to troubleshoot in more details.

The filters above the dashboard can help you focus your visibility on a specific area, device or platform type. The time picker can also be used to look at your data on more granular or longer-term time scale.

Troubleshoot Outlook performance issues

The dashboard's performance tab identifies potential performance issues and correlates with common root causes. This information can be used to inform support teams to assist in making appropriate decisions, such as changes to the application or upgrading the affected devices.

Trend information is displayed on a line chart to help track improvements over time to see if any taken actions have been effective.

For instance, a common culprit of performance issues is application versioning. The bar chart shows potential correlations between CPU performance and the outlook binary. This can be further investigated in the "High CPU usage" diagnostics dashboard for Outlook.

If a specific version significantly impacts performance, such as CPU you could navigate to the "High CPU usage" diagnostics dashboard and look for the Outlook binary.

Troubleshoot compliance

Microsoft Outlook is an essential tool for facilitating and improving collaboration both between employees and with third parties. As a result it is imperative that Outlook is installed, and kept up-to-date, on all required devices. Devices without an up-to-date Outlook client may result in an impaired digital experience and should be investigated. Devices with Outlook not installed should also be investigated to ensure that this is not an oversight.

There is a new version of Outlook available, which depending on company policy, can be user activated. As this version of Outlook does not support multiple accounts, offline storage, or COM add-ins at present, devices running this version should be monitored in case ITSM tickets are logged in relation to these missing features. To avoid any issues, employees may be advised to switch back to the classic version of Outlook.

Troubleshoot storage

There are two types of local storage files used by Outlook:

Offline Outlook Data File (OST)

This is a synchronized copy of the employee’s mailbox information that allows Outlook to function when the device is offline. Devices should be investigated when these files reach a certain size. Above 20GB, Outlook will start to exhibit frequent short pauses on most hardware, especially when downloading new email messages. Outlook OST files are not supported over 50GB in size, so in order to help identify devices that may soon be affected, the remote action “Get Storage Info” has a new file size threshold parameter. Large OST files can be reduced by removing large attachments from emails, archiving or deleting old emails, and using the "Compact Now" function in the Outlook data file settings. If an Outlook profile contains more than one Exchange account, check whether the second account needs to be available offline. The OST file can be rebuilt using the remote action "Repair Outlook OST problem" included in this pack.

Outlook Data File (PST)

These files are typically used to backup or export items (email messages, calendar, contact, and task data) from the mailbox to free up storage space. When messages or other Outlook items are saved in an PST file, the items are available only on the computer where the file is saved. Devices should be investigated when these files reach a certain size. Above 20GB, Outlook will start to exhibit frequent short pauses on most hardware, especially when moving items between folders. Large PST files can be split into two smaller files, or the contents could be moved to an online archive if available. If the emails within the file are no longer used, the file could be removed from Outlook and backed up securely. Depending on company policy, the use of local PST files may not be recommended or supported for compliance, or data protection reasons. This section of the dashboard can be used to identify devices with PST files, especially devices with PST files stored on a network location as this is not supported by Microsoft.

Troubleshoot add-ins

For some organizations, the presence and function of specific Outlook add-ins is critical for effective employee productivity, whether it is to control access to a specific resource, or allow the signing of specific content.

To effectively track the operation of these business critical add-ins a new remote action that can monitor up to seven pre-defined add-ins has been provided as part of this pack. Using the “Add-ins” tab in the dashboard, a section for each pre-defined add-in provides the following information:

  • The add-in version

  • The time taken to start

  • The number of add-in crashes within the last 24 hours

  • Whether the add-in is disabled

  • If disabled, a description of why the add-in was disabled

To investigate any reported issues, dashboard filters, and drill-down investigations can be used to narrow the focus and take remedial action.

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