Outlook 2007 GDI Leak Hotfix

If you are running Office Outlook 2007 and Windows Vista together, you might be running into the Windows GDI limit and experiencing issues with Outlook. After your Windows Vista-based computer has been running for an extended period of time, with Office Outlook 2007 running, Outlook may stop updating the screen correctly. For example, you may experience any of these symptoms:

  • Parts of the Outlook window become blank
  • Parts of the Outlook window become transparent
  • Views are draw incorrectly or incompletely
  • Icons may disappear
  • Toolbars may disappear

These symtoms are more likely to occur if you are running the Outlook Appointments gadget, 3rd party Outlook gadgets that query for calendar appointments, or a program that synchronizes your calendar.

You can confirm that Outlook has hit the limit on GDI objects by using Task Manager to view the number of GDI objects in use by Outlook.exe.  To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL.
  2. Click Task Manager.
  3. Click the Processes tab.
  4. Click View, then Select Columns.
  5. Check GDI Objects and click OK.
  6. Click the outlook.exe process, and scroll to the GDI Objects column.

By default, Windows Vista limits processes to 10,000 GDI objects.  If Outlook is shown as using close to 10,000 objects, then this issue may be the cause of the symptoms you are seeing.


To work around this issue, you can a) log off Windows, and then log on to the computer again, or b) restart the Outlook process. It may be necessary to force quit Outlook if the process does not shut down normally. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL.
  2. Click Task Manager
  3. Click the Processes tab.
  4. Click the outlook.exe process
  5. Click End Process, and then click End process.
  6. Launch Outlook again from the Start menu.

Update Information

This issue is related to a similar issue reported with Explorer.exe showing similar symptoms. The fix for both issues is the same, and is avaialble from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/932406.

Comments (3)

  1. Erics Blog says:

    I always gets redrawing issues with Outlook 2007 when I’ve used my Vista laptop after a week or so. The

  2. Jens Møller-Pedersen says:

    I run into a similar issue on Windows Server 2003. The count of GDI objects just gets higher and higher.

  3. ryansinn says:

    I’m seeing similar issues with clients running Outlook 2007 on Windows XPsp2 connecting to Exchange 2007…

    After they close Outlook (any way they can… Exit or the X) the GUI closes, but OUTLOOK.EXE seems to stay open…

    If they try to open Outlook again … nothing happens… visually, but a new 3MB – 5MB instance of OUTLOOK.EXE starts… and for each double-click they get a new OUTLOOK.EXE instance.

    The user ends up having to CTRL+ALT+DEL and end the original (largest memory usage) OUTLOOK.EXE task.

    At which point OUTLOOK.EXE starts again and doesn’t complain of data file issues.

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