Thursday, December 1, 2005

What causes the out of memory or system resources error?


By David Gewirtz

Last week's weird and quirky article was so popular, we've got more. Of course, when you're talking about Outlook, you're bound to touch on weird and quirky pretty darn soon. Such is the case for Joel Andoetoe, who writes:

I found the article on Outlook's weird and quirky behaviors in this weeks' edition on the OutlookPower newsletter very interesting. I have repeatedly run into the same "out of system resources" message. As far as I can see, this only happens when I have copied one or more large items to my clipboard and try pasting them in the message, instead of using the "add attachment" function.
Usually, the error disappears as soon as I give up the copy/paste thing, and just use the "add attachment" function instead. In really bad cases, it doesn't. Closing Outlook though will solve the issue. Once I reopen, the message I was trying to send will be sitting in my Drafts folder, with ALL of the attachments I tried to copy/paste (multiplied by the number of failed attempts) and I can send it. (of course, after getting rid of the excess double attachments)
Weird, weird, weird...
I run Windows XP SP2, P4 Mobile 1.6 GHz processor, 1024 MB RAM, plenty of available disk space (12 GB or something like that) and Office 2003 Pro SP1. I keep my mail in many spots. The default Inbox, Sent items etc. Folders on the company's Exchange server, 3 large PST's (500, 850 and 1700 MB) on my hard drive, and 2 more archive folders on a network drive.
Thanks for the great articles in OutlookPower Magazine; I do not usually like newsletters and it took me 3 months before I even subscribed to this one, and it's worth it!

I'm glad you think OutlookPower's worth your reading time. We do our best to make it so. I have to admit, you keep your mail in more places than I can think about without getting a headache.

It turns out that Outlook sends out the "Out of memory or system resources" message for some things that aren't intuitively obvious. For example, did you know that if you have an old version of the PGP email encryption program on your computer, you'll get the "Out of memory or system resources" error? In that case, you'll need to uninstall PGP. What's weird is that this error almost always happens when you've upgraded Outlook from Outlook 2002 to Outlook 2003.

Go figure.

You can also get the "Out of memory or system resources" error when you try to open a note in Outlook. If the note contains more than 30,000 characters, Outlook will spit out the error. This is strangely similar to the error you're reporting, Joel, in that you're trying to paste in a big chunk of text. I'll bet if you make sure you're pasting less than 32K, the problem will go away.