Windows Live Mail Hogs CPU, RAM And Slows Down The System

I have been a Windows Live Mail user for a long time now, however, it looks like I am going to dump it and go for Thunderbird or maybe just use my to catch up on email from multiple accounts.

Windows Live Mail 2011

The latest version of Windows Live Mail which is included in Windows Live Essentials 2011, worked really fine for me for a while, however, it has become a pain in the posterior. I have 25 email accounts set up (don’t ask how I have that many, those aren’t even all) in it and it chimed well and downloaded all my messages without any trouble.

However, of late, whenever I start Windows Live Mail, my system (i7 processor/6GB RAM) becomes slow and crawls. This is annoying at best. I tried looking for solutions to the problem but couldn’t find any.

From my experience with Outlook, I am pretty sure that the problem is related to the disk storage. Outlook too used to crawl if the size of the PST file reached 2GB or higher (I am not sure about it now), but you could always fix the Outlook issue by creating a new storage file. That though is not the case with Windows Live Mail.

I absolutely love Windows Live Mail, but unfortunately I cannot seem to figure out how to fix the slowness it causes on the PC. I will continue looking at how to fix this issue and post updates when I come across them.

Do you use Windows Live Mail? Are you seeing similar issues when you have lot of email accounts or have tons of downloaded emails. Do let me know through your comments.

Published by

Keith Dsouza

I am the editor-in-chief and owner of Techie Buzz. I love coding and have contributed to several open source projects in the past. You can know more about me and my projects by visiting my Personal Website.I am also a social networking enthusiast and can be found active on twitter, you can follow Keith on twitter @keithdsouza. You can click on my name to visit my Google+ profile.

  • Peter Cunningham

    I am having exactly the same problem. I have a 6 month old Vaio F Series (i7) laptop with Windows 7 and 6gb ram. I installed Windows Live Mail about a month ago and love it. I have it checking about 5 email accounts. However, recently I have noticed a major slow down on my processes. In fact it is so bad that when I am looking at a Youtube video, the video keeps stalling even though the sound works and the video is buffered!! I was stumped and tried closing Windows Live Mail and to my astonishment that fixed my problem. I have no solution for you though Keith, other than change mail client software, which is probably what I am going to do. It’s a shame that Microsoft got windows 7 so right, and their free mail client is so hungry.

    • Lance

      Same here (Core i7, 6 GB new system). I’m not so much slowing down, but running hot. I checked my CPU and Live Mail was using a good portion. I closed it and immediately, my fan slowed and all started cooling down. It’s funny, with all the photoshop and other large programs I’m running, my mail was the one that taxed the system . . . might try Thunderbird. Here’s hoping they fix it. I too love Live Mail (for years now).

  • David

    I only have one account on Windows Live Mail @ that’s
    with Shaw webmail] and usually it is very slow to open. I have Windows 7 on a year old p.c. It’s only in the last 3 months that the problem exists.I have run Malaware and Microsoft security Essentials and do not think this is viral. Hotmail is quicker to open but this is not using the same account.
    Is Microsoft looking into this?

  • Nathar Leichoz

    I’m currently researching whether to upgrade my wife to Windows Live Mail from Windows Mail on Vista. She has over 15GB of mail which is slowing down the startup speed. She is adamant on remaining with the Outlook Express interface and won’t change to Thunderbird.

    • Hi Nathar, I am still using Windows Live Mail, even though I mentioned above that I would change from it in January. It’s still slowing down my system, but I just don’t keep it on all the time. I also noticed that you cant have more than one outgoing mail server setting on it, unlike OSX mail for example. This means that if I am away with my laptop, I have to change the outgoing server to work with any different isp I am logged onto. This is also a mail server problem on my domain hosting though, so I cant blame Live Mail totally for this.
      I have also noticed that sometimes if I have a few other programs open, the menus go black on mail, as if it has run out of ram, even though I have 6gb installed.
      Anyway I am going to change away from it now and maybe try Thunderbird. If your wife insists on using outlook express interface, try Live Mail out, it is a great package, but it will slow down the system.

  • I’ve been using Windows Mail for years and now Windows Live Mail 2011 which has worked fine for me. But the last few days it has suddenly come to a complete crawl, to the point where it take between 3 – 7 minutes of sometimes more just to switch between mailboxes or messages.

    I did a fresh install of Windows 7 on my machine just two weeks ago so I don’t understand why the sudden slow down.

    I’m rather disappointed and I would prefer to resolve this instead of switching to thunderbird as I prefer the interface and message threading of WLM, it certainly looks much nicer, but so far I haven’t found any helpful solution.

    Repairing the WLM installation seemed to do nothing at all.

  • Roy Itschner

    The solution can be found on page 129 of Tweakguides Tweaking Companion 3.3. This fix takes care of Windows Live Mail since it is dependent on Internet Explorer for settings. It appears that Live Mail has to read all of the content.ie5 files prior to loading. By eliminating or reducing the number of files, it allows WLM to load faster.
    If you?re having problems with Internet Explorer while browsing the Internet, such as freezes or laggy
    behavior, it may well be that the Temporary Internet Files folder is the culprit. If you?ve previously tried to
    manually delete files from there, or even tried moving or deleting the entire folder, this may trigger
    problematic behavior in Internet Explorer which can only be resolved by doing the following:
    1. Empty your Internet Explorer cache by opening Internet Explorer, going to Tools>Internet Options and
    clicking the ?Delete Files? option, ticking the ?Delete all offline content? on the next screen and click OK.
    Also click the ?Delete Cookies? and ?Clear History? buttons while you are there.
    2. Reboot your PC and make sure you don?t open Internet Explorer or Windows Explorer, or anything
    which accesses them.
    3. Go to Start>Run and type ?Cmd? (without quotes) then press Enter. This opens a Command Prompt.
    4. Type ?CD\? (without quotes) at the prompt to take you to the root directory.
    5. Open Windows Task Manager (CTRL + ALT + DEL) and under the Processes tab highlight the Explorer
    process and click ?End Process?. The desktop will vanish, but this is normal.
    6. Go back to the command prompt, and copy or type the following text (including the quotes) into the
    command prompt and press Enter:
    del “%userprofile%\local settings\temporary internet files\content.ie5\”
    7. Answer ?Y? when prompted if you want to delete the file.
    8. Go to the Windows Task Manager again and click on the File Menu and choose ?New Task (Run)…? and
    type ?Explorer? (without quotes) and hit Enter. This will reload the desktop.
    Doing the above will delete the Index.dat file which lies in your Temporary Internet Files folder and in doing
    so it will be recreated with the correct references to your cached internet files the next time you open Internet
    Explorer. Any strange browser behavior should be resolved.

    Copyright © 2006 Koroush Ghazi
    Thanks Koroush

    • Mark

      Umm I think this post is about the installed email application and not the web version. as to internet explorersettings…just don’t use it…we all know it suck ass… use chrome.

      As to the slowness of the INSTALLED version of widows live mail. This is undoubtedly one of the best mail client i have used but as of the 2011 version it has been insanely slow on Win7 (i7 8GB ram SSD etc) I am using avast which a few of you have mentioned so I’ll look into that

  • hi there, yeah I have the same issue, I have a design agency and manage loads of accounts with windows live mail and it really slows down my computer like hell. mine is a core i3 and I was thinking of upgrading it to a core i5 or i7 but for what I can see that will not help.
    have u tried thunderbird? does it work better? it’s crap because I also love windows live mail and would not like to change it…but I also need my computer working well again.

    • Cynthia – Periodically deleting emails and cleaning up old folders helps in it performing faster. I usually delete emails once a fortnight that I no longer require and still have on the email server

    • Keith Dsouza most of the emails i have are important as i send budgets and stuff and i need to keep them. Also, i use IMAP to work straight with my server cos backing up all the emails i have everytime i need to format my computer is very annoying… i think they should work on that and fix it, hope microsoft gets all the notifications my computer sends lol.
      thank you for your answer :) i’ll keep deleting things and see what comes from that

  • TxCharlie

    It’s because Microsoft put no effort into lowering the CPU and Disk I/O priority of WLM background tasks (such as downloading messages and running your email rules). Thus it hoggs the PC CPU and disk.

    In Windows Task Manager, Try setting the priority of the WLMAIL.EXE to “Low” and Affinity to only one CPU core. (Right-click, then set). This puts WLMAIL.EXE in jail so it can only max out one CPU core, and the low priority will interrupt it if another program needs the core.

    Also remember that any email rules you have defined will bog down WLM even more – A lot more. If it works for you, disable automatic application of the email rules, and apply them later, before you go on coffee break or something.

    *** Unfortunately, this only prevents hogging the CPU. Now to keep it from hogging the disk: ***

    This gets worse and worse as your email folders get larger – So move as many old emails as you can to email storage folders that are located completely outside the folders for each email accounts, or better yet, export the emails to a backup folder and delete them in WLM.

    Unfortunately, sometimes after you do this, WLM will go crazy and re-download the emails you moved. Perhaps not immediately, but 3 months later it might do that. If it does, just let it do its thing, and hours later when it finishes, after making sure the DO NOT DELETE EMAIL ON SERVER is set for each account, delete the old email duplicates. It usually won’t try to download the old emails the 3rd time, but I’ve seen it do that too. I think the index file may become corrupted, so it forgets that it’s already downloaded old emails.

    Of course, if you don’t want to keep your email on the server forever, that’s not an issue.

    Also try Thunderbird (the email companion to FireFox). It used to have bugs of its own, such as a 2GB folder size limit like Outlook Express, and some sorting issues.

    But I haven’t retested Thunderbird for about 5 years. surely they have fixed the problems I noticed back then, and it had absolutely no tendency to hog the CPU or disk when I tried it back then – Can’t vouch for it now.