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Summary:

You are running Outlook and you exit the program.  Later you try to run Outlook again and nothing happens because Outlook has a nasty habit of not shutting down when you close the program.  It’s a real pain and you wish there was something that could […]

You are running Outlook and you exit the program.  Later you try to run Outlook again and nothing happens because Outlook has a nasty habit of not shutting down when you close the program.  It’s a real pain and you wish there was something that could help.  What you need is a utility that lets you give Outlook a KnockOut punch.

KnockoutrunningThe Freeware of the Moment is a wonderful utility that is called, appropriately, KnockOut.  This free program sits in your system tray and does a whole bunch of things quietly and simply.  Basically KnockOut monitors any instance of Outlook running on your system and helps you control its often unruly behavior.  In the scenario above you can tell at a glance if Outlook actually shut down or not by the KnockOut icon- it’s an empty outline if Outlook is not running and filled with yellow if it is.  So you can tell right away if Outlook failed to shut down and by right-clicking the KnockOut icon you can select Terminate Outlook from the menu.  Boom, Outlook is gone.  KnockOut also monitors any instance of Word that might be running since Outlook users can use Word as their email editor of choice which makes Word run invisibly in the background.  Word can fail to shut down with Outlook so KnockOut provides a one-two punch by offering you the ability to force either Outlook or Word to terminate immediately.

Knockoutmenu12This has saved me so much time because pre-KnockOut I had to open the task manager, find Outlook, kill Outlook, and then hope I could open Outlook again without it going into Safe Mode.  Terminating Outlook with KnockOut is clean and I never see Safe Mode which makes me happy.  KnockOut also adds some neat functionality when you right-click the icon.  You can create a new task, note, contact, appointment, or email message from anywhere in Windows by selecting it from the menu.

KnockOut meets all my criteria for a great utility- it’s free, simple, small and provides an indispensable function.  Great stuff and I highly recommend KnockOut for all Outlook users.

By James Kendrick

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  1. I too have this problem, and believe it is caused by one of the addins that I run. When I use the task manager method to kill Outlook, I often get messages when restarting about my PST files being closed inproperly, and they have to be scanned. I haven’t yet noticed any data loss, but it scares me.

    I found a better way to close Outlook, and it seems to work all the time. When I close it, but it doesn’t really close, I get an Outlook icon in the system tray. If I double click this icon, Outlook will start again, but none of the addins will be running. Then when I close again, it will close clean.

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  2. jk, this program rocks! I have the Outlook Personal Folders Backup installed and it would almost always fail to perform a backup because a file or files would be in use. Nothing I’ve tried would allow it to work. Once I installed Outlook KnockOut, the next time Outlook exited, KnockOut kicked in and the Personal Folders Backup program worked. Sweet.

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