SOLUTION: Microsoft Outlook 2013 hangs at “Loading Profile…” after Office Update

Now here’s an interesting conundrum.  A recent update to Microsoft Office 2013 that’s being pushed out automatically to clients results in some of them being unable to open Outlook 2013.  Instead of running normally, the program will hang at the “Loading Profile” stage of launch, as though the profile is corrupt (if you haven’t already checked this, it could actually be the case instead of course).  A workaround is to open Outlook using the well-known /safe command line switch; but this is merely a workaround (which in turn disables all add-ons), not a permanent solution.

For a much more reasonable resolution, try this instead:

  1. Run regedit (Start > Run > type regedit and press ENTER)
    1. On Windows 8, Win + R; type regedit and press ENTER
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common
  3. Right-click, select New > Key and name it Graphics
  4. Select the Graphics key you just created, right-click in the right panel and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value and name it DisableHardwareAcceleration.
  5. Double-click the new value and assign it a value of 1.
  6. Close regedit and try opening Outlook again.

This should fix the problem.  I first stumbled upon the solution when I realized that opening my TeamViewer Remote Support program while Outlook was loading kicked it into launching, which suggested either a network- or graphics-related cause (as TV affects both of those when launching).  The original solution listed here came from the Microsoft Office 2013 Issues Blog, though the symptoms listed are different from these.

Hope this helps! 🙂

The dangers of registry cleaners

Update 2014: Microsoft has since finally posted their own take on the use of registry cleaners, and it’s quite clear:

Some products such as registry cleaning utilities suggest that the registry needs regular maintenance or cleaning.  However, serious issues can occur when you modify the registry incorrectly using these types of utilities. These issues might require users to reinstall the operating system due to instability. Microsoft cannot guarantee that these problems can be solved without a reinstallation of the Operating System as the extent of the changes made by registry cleaning utilities varies from application to application.

Bottom line: don’t use registry cleaners, and view any product or company which recommends that you do in a rightfully suspicious light.

(My original post follows):

If you’re used to my work, you know how strongly against the use of any registry cleaners I am.  It’s no secret that many experts, including Windows guru Mark Russinovich, warn of their dangers.  The fundamental reason behind this position is that no program can know with certainty what is and is not desired or necessary to be stored in the registry.  And plus, even if plenty of unnecessary stuff is contained therein, it’s not really beneficial to remove it.  The registry as a whole is relatively small anyway compared with the amount of RAM available on modern PCs, and removing even a few thousand straggling values or keys provides very little, if any, performance improvement.

So in light of this, today I’m here with an update regarding one of the most popular posts I’ve had on this blog to date, and I felt like it deserved its own post thanks to the magnitude of the example.  In my Click2Run Configuration Failure Office 2010 post, I offer a solution to a fairly widespread and rather maddening issue with Office 2010 Click2Run installations suddenly failing.  Not even Microsoft has addressed the problem with an official solution to date, so this blog post has gotten plenty of traffic.

One thing my post didn’t include, however, was a known cause for the problem.  Well, as with most computer problems, this error doesn’t just spontaneously appear.  It’s now become apparent to me that the culprit behind this problem is actually registry cleaning applications.  The most commonly seen program responsible for this problem appears to be iolo’s System Mechanic, but it’s safe to assume that any registry cleaner could lead to the same results.  For a long time now, I have been recommending against the use of this program and have removed it from many of my clients’ PCs following consultation with them regarding its use.  If you have System Mechanic installed and have been using it, you can expect that you might run into the same problem in the future.

This is just an example, of course.  Although it’s now mostly certain that this is the predominant cause of this irritating Office 2010 problem, registry cleaners can just as easily lead to any number of other issues that are hard to diagnose and potentially impossible to troubleshoot.  Save yourself the headache and remove any registry cleaning program you may have installed from your PC today.