Outlook 2003 - POP3 Email Account Stopped Working - CPU Usage Climbs

By tdfuller
Feb 20, 2008
  1. I have had some success in further troubleshooting of Outlook 2003. The culprit with Outlook 2003 running very slow and swamping the system at 100% CPU usage is with one of the three email accounts I had set up with it.

    I deleted the email account entirely, and now Outlook 2003 runs smooth as a whistle with very low CPU usage.

    But does anybody know why all of a sudden that email account started messing up Outlook 2003? I tried adding it back as a new email account, but it keeps telling me the following error when I TEST THE SETTINGS:

    Log onto incoming mail server (POP3): Outlook could not connect to the incoming mail server (POP3). The problem could be your SSL or port settings for the incoming server. Verify your port and SSL settings under More Settings on the Advanced Tab.

    I have done this, and called the folks who handle that email server to verify I have the correct settings, but still get the above error.

    Also, when I attempt to re-add the email account, CPU usage climbs to above 50-60%, and Outlook 2003 no longer runs as smoothly.
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    First, outlook is a good tool, but a poor choice for email. Consider using other software
    such as Thunderbird.

    All the data in Outlook (Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, and Email) is held in the single .PST file for each user;
    the bigger it gets, the more time and cpu it takes to get into it.

    As for the errors, it would appear that the settings are wrong.
    The pop3 stuff is for reading your email from the ISP and the smtp is for sending;
    each can be correct / incorrect.
    You need the pop3 domain name (something like or
    the correct port number (usually 110), AND
    the proper login (secured or unsecured).

    The sending side almost always requires a secured login on port 25.
  3. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    you need to check with your cable provider to see what ports they use for mail handling. If it is an online service like yahoo, follow their instructions.

    outlook sucks . use thunderbird.
  4. tdfuller

    tdfuller TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The external POP3 email account was successfully in use since April of 2007, before it crapped out last week.

    I got on the phone with the email handler and confirmed the settings - test emails are successfully sent because I can verify this by logging in to the email account via the normal way - the website, and the test emails are there in my inbox.
  5. tdfuller

    tdfuller TS Rookie Topic Starter

    PROBLEM WITH OUTLOOK 2003 SOLVED! Unbelievable! :D

    The culprit was McAfee Security Center. :mad:

    I have been using it for at least two years, with all protection enabled, including inbound email scans, and it has not adversely affected Outlook, until now.

    One of their recent updates now blocks the POP3 client from properly receiving inbound email, with the "Inbound email scanning" feature enabled. I disabled it. I will attempt to contact McAfee to let them know as well, but for now I will post the fix here in case others have the same problem.

    PROBLEM: Your system has McAfee Security Center and you are using Outlook 2003. You are attempting to use an external POP3 email account with Outlook 2003, and get the following error:

    Log onto incoming mail server (POP3): Outlook could not connect to the incoming mail server (POP3). The problem could be your SSL or port settings for the incoming server. Verify your port and SSL settings under More Settings on the Advanced Tab.

    CAUSE: A recent update to McAfee Security Center (MSC), on or about February 13, 2008, now causes MSC to block incoming mail through POP3 email clients.

    FIX: Disable inbound email scanning with MSC. Right click the MSC icon in the task bar and then left click Open Security Center.

    Under Protection Status, left click the arrow underneath Email & IM, and then left click the bubble to disable inbound email scanning.

    This will produce a second icon in the task bar that look like a white X inside a red circle, alerting the user that McAfee's full protection has been compromised. This is fine, in order to prevent MSC from blocking the POP3 client.

    POP3 inbound emails should now work with Outlook 2003.

    Now, my question is can somebody recommend a better anti-malware and firewall software program?!
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    AVG Free 7.5 :)
  7. tdfuller

    tdfuller TS Rookie Topic Starter

    And what about firewall software? MSC has built in firewall software as well.
  8. kritius

    kritius TS Guru Posts: 2,084

    Comodo, started using it recently and im really pleased with the results.
  9. tdfuller

    tdfuller TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, sounds good
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    fundamental differences in product objectives;
    Firewall is primarily a means to control access to ip-addresses and ports.
    AV products scan for infections.

    There are hybrid products that attempt to do both, but personally, I much prefer a
    product that is well focused on doing one thing exceedingly well rather than attempting
    to look good (by adding too many features) and end up doing a mediocre job at all of them.
  11. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,233   +234

    I remove McAfee from every PC I repair... This goes for Norton and anything AOHell. It is up to the customer to install any of these again
  12. benjammin123

    benjammin123 TS Rookie

    Emails disappear

    I can't find where Outlook is placing incoming emails. I've checked and double checked settings for the email account and I can see the emails are taken off the web server, but they don't drop into the Outlook personal inbox.

    I have XP and Outlook 2003. I've used for years without problems until this summer. A recent MS update apparently didn't do well with ZoneAlarm. Finally, upon figuring that out and resetting the security levels to medium, everything worked again, except this odd email problem. (The update made Control Panel or Internet Explorer freeze). However, in trying to solve the problem, my son reinstalled Office 2000 and then I had to go back and reinstall Office 2003. I don't know if that caused part of this new problem or not.

    There is one odd alert that shows up when opening Outlook. It states that
    C:\Docts & settings\Owner\Application\Microsoft\Addins\outlvba.dll is not a valid office add-in. I have looked in Outlook under Tools\options\other\advanced\ and both addcom and manage add-ins but there is nothing named that there.

    I don't know if this is a POP3 issue. It's the opposite of other threads where the emails can't send. I can send - just can't received because I don't know where they go.

    Any help?
  13. tdfuller

    tdfuller TS Rookie Topic Starter

    My problem was definitely McAfee. I had it for several years, until an update actually caused a DOWNGRADE of Outlook performance. Something in McAfee would basically cause Outlook to choke because it was trying to scan emails and was not doing it w/o causing unwanted side effects.

    I contacted McAfee and posted to their discussion forums to no avail. So I removed McAfeee and now use: AVG Free 8.0 for anti-virus, Comodo Firewall Pro for firewall, Comodo BOC Clean 4.27 for anti-malware, and Spyware Blaster for malicious website block. All are freeware, and all run much lighter on the system resources than anything I have paid for in the past.

    I would also try an Outlook Repair and a Office Repair. I can't remember where the Outlook repair is, but Office Repair is an option under Add/Remove Programs, by selecting the Change option of your Office installation.
  14. benjammin123

    benjammin123 TS Rookie

    THANKS! I had already done the Outlook repair and I do have AVG 8.0. But I just tried the Office Repair that you sugested and it worked. I rebooted and then tried to download emails (leaving copy on server in case) but they all came in where they should. YEAH! I don't know where the ones for the last 2 weeks went as they truly seem to have disappeared, but going forward should be good. So, thanks!
  15. tdfuller

    tdfuller TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Great! Glad that worked for you.
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