How to fix the Outlook To Do Bar stuck loading problem

Just the other day a co-worker of mine asked me if our Exchange Server was having problems. It was not so I asked why he was asking about that. It turned out that his To Do bar in Outlook was just a big gray box with the message “Loading” displayed. He had left it for literally hours, restarted Outlook and rebooted his machine all to no avail.

Outlook To-Do Bar exampleMy previous experiences with Outlooks shortcuts and calendar lists disappearing popped to mind so I had him exit Outlook and rename his Outlook.XML file. Sure enough, it worked! When he restarted Outlook his To Do bar came back to life. He had to reset it to show the items he wanted, but everything has been fine since.

This is just another example of Outlook frequently corrupting a file it uses for UI settings. I still do not know why it seems to be so fragile. I have submitted my experiences to Microsoft but I do not know if there are any plans to make the process a little more robust. Given the importance of Outlook in today’s business world (for many companies at least) I hope that this issue will get the attention that it deserves. There are some in my company that are greatly affected by Outlook problems.

If you happen to see any weird Outlook UI issues, first thing to try, in my opinion, is renaming (and therefore rebuilding) the Outlook.XML. Good luck to all!


9 thoughts on “How to fix the Outlook To Do Bar stuck loading problem

  1. Very useful article, and I got all excited when I read that my problem would be finally solved. Any chance you could add a file path so we know where the file is? I’ve deleted the one that Search pulled up for me, but that was in a “Roaming” folder – and I don’t roam.

  2. Greg,

    Sure thing. It was mentioned in my previous post, which I forgot to link to. (edited and linked now).

    The path is C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook, but for complete explanation and instructions please read the other post.

  3. We just upgraded to Exchange 2007. I would not think this would have any relevance to the Todo Bar constantly loading, but it does not matter where I login, my Todo Bar is constantly loading. I tried to remove the XML file, I tried to remove all the Outlook files, nothing helps.
    I have not had any users complain of this, it has only happened to me. Go figure. 😉 Anyone have any ideas?
    It is not local profile specific.

  4. I found the resolution to this problem.

    Close Outlook, Goto Start\Run, type in outlook.exe /fixtodobar and hit enter. Outlook will restart and it should work.

    This worked great on mine.

    • Thanks David and you all guys,This worked perfectly,Iwas in a real trouble for the past one week,searching all around for help!Good job guys!

  5. Saw someone with the to do bar and since i have a massive task list decided to add it.
    Got stuck could not figure it out. This resettodobar worked like a charm.

    Thanks a million was super worried.

  6. renamed the outlook.xml and did the resettodobar and it still doesn’t work. I ended up unchecking appointments to get it to not display loading.

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