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Outlook Won’t Shut Down? Try This Script


In our company, a mixture of Microsoft Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2000 clients connect to Microsoft Exchange Server. However, on some of the Outlook 2000 clients, Outlook doesn't shut down correctly. It just displays the Please wait while Microsoft Outlook exits message indefinitely.

I discovered that this is a known problem documented in the Microsoft article "Description of the Outlook 2000 post-Service Pack 3 hotfix package: January 13, 2004" ( The problem occurs when you use Outlook 2003 to open a mailbox or shared calendar typically accessed by an Outlook 2000 client. Because we're going to be phasing out Outlook 2000, I haven't contacted Microsoft for the hotfix mentioned in the article.

You can use Task Manager to manually close the outlook.exe process. However, if you open Outlook multiple times, it will also hang multiple times, causing the taskbar to be cluttered with Please wait messages. Rather than train users how to end each of the outlook.exe processes in Task Manager, I wrote a short script called CloseOutlook.vbs. Listing 1 shows this script, which you can download from the Windows IT Pro Web site. (Go to, enter 45944 in the InstantDoc ID text box, then click the hotlink.) CloseOutlook.vbs uses Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) to terminate any running processes named outlook.exe.

I placed CloseOutlook.vbs on the desktops of those users running Outlook 2000. Now, users can simply double-click the script's icon after closing Outlook 2000 to get rid of the extra processes.

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