Outlook 2003 Beta

Date Published: 23 July 2003

Outlook 2003 Beta

Thought I'd blog about my experience thus far with the beta.  As I wrote in an earlier entry, I upgraded to Outlook 2003 Beta some weeks ago.  The results have been largely positive, but I do have a few complaints.  Here's the rundown:

Best Features:

  • Junk Mail Support - It has yet to mis-classify a message as spam, and it has reduced my spam that I actually have to deal with by about 90 to 95% I'd say.  I get about 500 spams per day as a result of several aliases being published on popular websites.  With Outlook 2003, I get maybe 10-20 spams per day in my inbox.
  • Flagging - I really like the mult-colored flags for TODO items.  It would be cool if I could assign labels to the colors somewhere, so I know that red goes with ASPAlliance and blue goes with Family or whatever without me trying to remember that, though.
  • Message Rules - Setting up rules by simply right-clicking on a message is a breeze.  Very well done.

Missed Features:

  • Add to Address Book - why can't I right-click on a message and add the sender to my address book?  I have to drag the message into Contacts, which is less intuitive.  Also, why can't I right-click on an email in a message and add it to my contacts?
  • Newsreader - Is there a way to use Outlook for NNTP?  Not that I've found.
  • Share Calendar - Why can't I share my calendar with another Outlook user without MS Exchange Server being involved?  And no I'm not talking about just showing 'busy' times using the web.

Worst Features:

  • Recovery Time - Any time I shut down the computer unexpectedly, it takes a LONG time for Outlook to reload.  Like half an hour.  It says "The data file 'Personal Folders' was not closed properly.  The file is being checked for problems."  The next item exacerbates this issue.
  • Weird Video Bug - Every now and then, like once every other day or so, Outlook will flake out with some weird video behavior that consumes all of my CPU.  The video aspect of this behavior involves all text in Outlook -- it only displays the top half of the text.  The only solution to this I have found is to power cycle; the system hangs too much to allow me to shut things down any other way.  Naturally when this happens, I must then wait up to half an hour while Outlook checks my Personal Folders data file...

Ok, so that took me about 10 minutes or so to write.  Outlook has been recovering my personal folders that entire time, and claims to still have 15 minutes to go.  If nothing else, I guess I can say it is prompting me to blog more.  I really like it compared to OE -- just the junk mail and rule features make it worth it.  But the startup time and the recovery-from-improper-shutdown issues really suck; I hope they get fixed.  Admittedly I have a LOT of email (several years' worth of listserv discussions), but I have archived the older items and OE managed to do it with minimal delay (seconds for the largest folders), so I don't see why Outlook should choke on it so badly (being the enterprise, $$$ product).


(not listening to anything cuz Outlook is chewing up all my CPU)

Steve Smith

About Ardalis

Software Architect

Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.