Microsoft has recently released a pair of Outlook 2007 updates (okay, technically, they’re updates for Outlook 2007 with SP1 applied) that you might want to look at installing sooner rather than later. These two updates are together being billed as the “February cumulative update” at KB 968009, which has some interesting verbiage about how many of the fixes were originally slated to be in Outlook 2007 SP2:
The fix list for the February CU may not be identical to the fix list for SP2, but for the purposes of this article, the February CU fixes are referred to synonymously with the fixes for SP2. Also, when Office suite SP2 releases, there will not be a specific package that targets only Outlook.
Let’s start with the small one, KB 697688. This one fixes some issues with keyboard shortcuts, custom forms, and embedded Web browser controls.
Okay, with that out of the way, let’s move on to juicy KB 961752, an unlooked-for roll-up containing a delectable selection of fixes. Highlights include:
- Stability fixes
- SharePoint/Outlook integration
- Multiple mailbox handling behavior
From reports that I’ve seen, users who have applied these two patches are reporting significantly better response times in Outlook 2007 cached mode even when attaching to large mailboxes or mailboxes with folders that contain many items — traditionally, two scenarios that caused a lot of problems for Outlook because of the way the .ost stored local data. They’ve also reported that the “corrupted data file” problem that many people have complained about (close Outlook, it takes forever to shut down so writes to the .ost don’t fully happen) seems to have gone away.
Note that you may have an awkward moment after starting Outlook for the first time after applying these updates: you’re going to get a dialog something like this:
“Wait a minute,” you might say. “First use? Where’s my data?” Chillax . It’s there — but in order to do the magic, Outlook is changing the structure of the existing .ost file. This is a one-time operation and it can take a little bit of time, depending on how much data you’ve got stuff away in there (I’ve currently got on the order of 2GB or so, so you can draw your own rough estimates; I suspect it also depends on the number/depth of folders, items per folder, number of attachments, etc.)
Once the re-order is done, though, you get all the benefits. Faster startup, quicker shut-down, and generally more responsive performance overall. This is seriously crisp stuff, folks — I opened my Deleted Items folder (I hardly ever look in there, I just occasionally nuke it from orbit) and SNAP! everything was there as close to instantly as I can measure. No waiting for 3-5 (or 10, or 20) seconds for the view to build.
 A mash-up of “chill” and “relax”. This is my new favorite word.