Can't Open Microsoft Outlook

Can't Open Microsoft Outlook/Outlook Will Not Open. How To Fix It In Windows 10

Microsoft Outlook is a part of the 'Office' family of software and services developed by Microsoft. Outlook is mostly used as an email program, however, it also includes features such as contacts management, task management, journal, web browsing, calendar, and note-taking. Today, there are 16 versions of Outlook, the latest being Outlook 2016. You can use it as a stand-alone program or with Microsoft SharePoint Server and Microsoft Exchange Server if you are working in an organization with multiple users - in this way, you can exchange public folders, share mailboxes, calendars, and so on.

There are many useful features in Microsoft Outlook that can help to increase productivity, such as an attachment reminder, which prevents you from sending emails in which you may have forgotten to include an attachment. It can also add various events such as flight or car reservations to your calendar. It can filter important messages so that they are displayed with a higher priority and alert you when an incoming message arrives at Outlook. If you use Outlook every day, whether for business or personal tasks, you need it to be reliable, however, some users have reported problems whereby they were unable to open the Microsoft Outlook app. Depending on the cause, there are a number of ways to fix this problem.

If you cannot open Microsoft Outlook, you might need to disable add-ins, clear and regenerate the navigation pane for the current profile, use the inbox repair tool, or take various other measures. The methods are thoroughly described in the guide below - see if one fixes your Outlook problem.

NOTE: In this guide, we are using Microsoft Outlook Professional Plus 2010, version 14.

cant open microsoft outlook

Table of Contents:

Reset Navigation Pane

Here, we show how to use one of Outlook's command line switches. These are useful for troubleshooting and automation. In this case, we apply the "/resetnavpane" switch, which clears and regenerates the Navigation Pane for the current profile. This will work in Outlook versions 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. Many users reported that corrupted Navigation Pane settings prevented Outlook from starting successfully. To execute the "/resetnavpane" command, open the Run dialog box by right-clicking the Start menu and selecting "Run" from the contextual menu, or by typing "run" in Search and clicking the "Run" result.

reset navigation pane step 1

In the Run dialog box, type the "outlook.exe /resetnavpane" command and press Enter or click "OK". Check if this solves the problem. If not, restart the computer and try to launch Outlook again.

reset navigation pane step 2

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Delete The Outlook.xml File

If the first method did not work or the executed command was unable to reset the Navigation Pane, try to delete the Outlook.xml file. This file stores the Navigation Pane settings. To find and delete this file, type the "%appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook" command in Search and click the result provided.

delete outlook.xml file step 1

Select "Outlook.xml" and click the "Delete" button in the top pane. Check if you are now able to start Outlook without any problems.

delete outlook.xml file step 2

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Repair Outlook.pst File

In this method, we show how to use the Inbox Repair Tool, also known as the scanpst.exe. This tool is used to repair corruptions in Outlook's data storage file when Outlook cannot be started or is unable to open a .pst file and displays an error stating that Windows cannot start Microsoft Outlook. This tool can also be used when Outlook is crashing and when there are problems with the import/export process or send/receive errors. To use the Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe), you must first locate it. Its location depends on the version of Outlook you are using. These are the locations of the SCANPST.EXE file in different Outlook versions:

Outlook 2016

32-bit Windows C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16\
64-bit Windows C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16\
64-bit Outlook C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16\

Outlook 2013

32-bit Windows C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15\
64-bit Windows C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15\
64-bit Outlook C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15\

Outlook 2010

32-bit Windows C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\
64-bit Windows C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\
64-bit Outlook C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\

Outlook 2007

32-bit Windows C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\
64-bit Windows C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\

Outlook 2003

32-bit Windows C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\\
64-bit Windows C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\\

If you are using Outlook 2003, note that "" refers to the language you are using in Office 2003. In our example, we are using Outlook 2010, and thus we will find the SCANPST.EXE file in "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\". Go to the SCANPST.EXE file location on your computer.

repair outlook.pst file step 1

Double-click it and click "Browse...". You will need to find the Outlook.pst file on your system.

repair outlook.pst file step 2

It should be in the Documents folder. In our case, it is located in "Users\test (our username)\Documents\Outlook Files". Select the Outlook.pst file and click "Open".

repair outlook.pst file step 3

Now click the "Start" button and wait for the repair process to finish. Try to open Outlook again and check if the problem is now solved. If not, restart your computer and try again.

repair outlook.pst file step 4

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Turn Off Compatibility Mode

Compatibility mode allows the system to emulate an older version of software or to mimic another operating system to allow incompatible or older software to remain compatible with the computer's current state (newer computer hardware or software). In this case, ensure that this mode is not enabled. To check, go to the folder containing the SCANPST.EXE file. Use our list of provided locations and find the OUTLOOK.EXE file. Right-click it and select "Properties" from the contextual menu.

turn off compatibility mode step 1

Find and select the "Compatibility" tab in the OUTLOOK.EXE Properties window. Make sure that the "Run this program in compatibility mode for" checkbox is unticked and click "Apply" (if any changes were made).

turn off compatibility mode step 2

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Restore Previous Version

If none of the methods above work, you can try to restore previous version of the PST file. Note, however, that some recent emails, appointments, and so on will be lost. If you are comfortable with this, you can try this method (or apply it if nothing else works). To restore previous version of the Outlook.pst file, go to the "Documents\Outlook Files" folder and right-click the Outlook.pst file. Select the "Restore previous versions" option and follow the instructions.

restore previous version

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Start Microsoft Outlook In Safe Mode

If there are any add-ins installed, running Outlook in Safe Mode will launch it without any add-ins. If Outlook starts in Safe Mode without any problems, this indicated that one or more add-in is causing this problem. To start Outlook in Safe Mode, open the Run dialog box by right-clicking the Start menu and selecting Run. Type the "outlook /safe" command. Press Enter on the keyboard or click "OK".

start microsoft outlook in safe mode step 1

If Outlook starts successfully, you should notice it has started in Safe Mode by the name at the top.

start microsoft outlook in safe mode step 2

To check if add-ins are causing the problem, you will need to disable/remove them. Click "File" and then click "Options".

start microsoft outlook in safe mode step 3

Now select the "Add-Ins" section on the left pane. In the View and manage Microsoft Office Add-ins window, find the "Manage" option and ensure that it is set to "COM Add-ins" and click "Go...".

start microsoft outlook in safe mode step 4

Uncheck all enabled Add-Ins and click "OK". Close Outlook and try to open it again (in normal mode). If you were able to open it without any problems, this indicates that one or more add-in is causing the problem. Try to enable them one-by-one and check where the problem starts to occur.

start microsoft outlook in safe mode step 5

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Create A New Outlook Profile

Simply create a new Outlook Profile and then copy the current Outlook data file into the new account. To create a new account, go to Control Panel by typing "control panel" and clicking the result.

create new outlook profile step 1

Now find the Mail item on the list and click it. If you are unable to find it, choose to view by "Small icons" or "Large icons", if it is set to "Category".

create new outlook profile step 2

In the Mail Setup window, click the "Show Profiles..." button to create a new profile.

create new outlook profile step 3

Click "Add..." and give your new profile a name. Click "OK" and follow the instructions.

create new outlook profile step 4

Once you have created a new profile, it will appear in the profiles list. Select your new profile and choose the "Prompt for a profile to be used" option under "When starting Microsoft Outlook, use this profile" and click "Apply". Check if Outlook works with the new profile.

create new outlook profile step 5

If Outlook can be started with a new profile, you might want to import the old account data into the new account. To do so, open Outlook, click "File" and then "Open". Select "Import".

create new outlook profile step 6

Select the "Import from another program or file" option. This will allow you to import data from other programs and files, including ACT!, Lotus Organizer, Outlook data files such as .PST, database files, text files, and others. Click "Next".

create new outlook profile step 7

Select Outlook Data File (.pst), click "Next" and follow the instructions. When you have finished, you should be able to use your previous data in the new account without any problems.

create new outlook profile step 8

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Run The System File Checker

System File Checker is an utility in Windows which allows users to scan for corruptions in Windows system files and restore corrupted files. This guide describes how to run the System File Checker tool (SFC.exe) to scan your system files and to repair missing or corrupted system files. The "sfc scannow" option is one of several specific switches available with the sfc command. To execute this command, open Command Prompt as administrator.

run system file checker step 1

Now type the "sfc /scannow" command and press Enter. System File Checker will start and should take some time to complete the scan (about 15 minutes). Wait for the scanning process to complete, restart your computer, and check if you still have problems with launching the Outlook app.

run system file checker step 2

We hope that this guide was useful and you were able to solve the problem with Microsoft Outlook. The above are solutions for the most common problems relating opening Outlook. If you know of other solutions to this problem, not mentioned in our guide, please share them with us by leaving a comment in the section below.

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Video Showing How To Fix Outlook If It Will Not Open:

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for since 2010. Follow me on Twitter to stay informed about the latest tech news or online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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