How big is your PST file? Outlook 2000 had a known 2GB limit on the file size. If you're approaching that size or have surpassed it that could be the issue. MS does provide a Oversized PST and OST crop tool [support.microsoft.com], but it truncates your data, so there will be some loss. Outlook 2003 overcomes this limit with PST file sizes of up to 20GB.
Bill, I have to believe you are right about the file size. With the other mentioned possiblities eliminated what seems like extreme disk access is still occurring.
While I understand the pst filesize limitation the newer version of Outlook overcomes, might I expect this problem to subside? It would seem contrary, for if I maintain a larger pst would there not be more information to access and therefore even longer delays?
The new PST file format is a big change according to Microsoft. They aren't backward compatible with older versions of Outlook and they give you lots of warnings to this effect when you make one. They make it sound like a one way conversion due to the Unicode support and larger file size potential. Outlook 2003 does still let you make PST files in the old style with the same limitations you have now.
It would seem contrary, for if I maintain a larger pst would there not be more information to access and therefore even longer delays?
I see what you're thinking, but in this case you're only dealing with the immediate incoming and outgoing mail on the server, not the entirety of the PST, unless you have some plug-in that's affecting this.
The problem I mentioned earlier with PST files is for files over2GB. You're under that, right? There are ways to use AutoArchive to keep your PST well under the limit if you don't want to upgrade.
You might want to try creating a new PST and see whether the excessive resource hogging is still an issue. I used to keep a very svelte PST in Outlook 2K of only a few hundred MB as my main PST and then keep open my archive PST files at the same time so that I could access all of my mail.
Another possible option you could try is the Scanpst.exe file. This will attempt to repair your PST file. Make sure you make a backup of your PST file before running this. According to some sites I've read, you can run Scanpst.exe and Scandisk.exe a few times until neither shows an error, and often this fixes things.