Beware the Outlook Vista Sidebar Gadgets

Ever since upgrading to Vista and Office 2007, I've had a really annoying problem with Outlook 2007. After running for a couple days, the UI would lose the ability to repaint itself correctly.  It would glitch out and start drawing large blank regions or garbage. It smacked of a resource leak, but caused by what? I tried everything I could think of - upgrading the video drivers, disabling add-ins...nothing fixed the problem.

Finally one day I clued into something - I've been running the Outlook Appointments Sidebar Gadget for almost as long as I've been running Outlook 2007, but hadn't thought to try disabling it. Once I did, bingo, no more problems. My sources at Microsoft (actually, my sources sources) confirmed that this is actually a bug in Vista that's being triggered by the gadget. Apparently the gadget's author is working to mitigate the problem.

BTW, while trying to track down the problem I was monitoring Outlook's handle usage. Am I the only one who thinks Outlook using 2600 handles at startup (and >3200 after running for a while) seems a little excessive?


  • > Am I the only one who thinks Outlook using 2600 handles at startup
    > (and >3200 after running for a while) seems a little excessive?

    That does seem excessive! My outlook (2003 running on Windows XP) is using 1,500 handles after running for a while. Even that seems like a lot, though. The only other process on my system that uses > 1,000 is one of the svchost.exe processes (but its hosting 21 services, so I guess its not so bad).

  • Outlook has always been a pig when it comes to Windows resources, but it does a lot with those resources too. It's a tradeoff.

  • SWEET! I've been experiencing the same problem lately with weird painting effects on the screen! No more Outlook gadget for me! THANKS!

  • Nice...same deal here. Gadget disabled for now!

  • Finally! I've been having this problem for months!! Vista really needed 6 months more baking time, didn't it?!

  • Handles are more related to Outlook 2007 itself. I'm using it on Windows XP... My Outlook is left on for days and after that it can have a bit more than 10 000 handles...
    Yes you've read correctly...not 1000, but 10 000.

    This is crazy, since having such a number of handles, I will (~only) be able to open about 30 Internet Explorer Windows before blocking the whole system.

  • One more info about the freezing Outlook 2007.

    In my previous comment I mentionned that I was using Windows XP. I've upgraded to Vista in the mean time. Outlook is still using a lot of handles. I think it is related to the Windows Desktop Search feature. My Outlook is sometimes frozen in the morning... After WDS as indexed it at night while the computer was idle. When I check the handles, I see it has then reached about 28000 handles. I know that the limit in Windows XP is 25000 per process...

    Outlook will run fine as long as it has not reached such a high level of handles.

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