Summary: The work from home culture amid the pandemic has led to increased dependence on emails for communication in organizations. With increased reliance on emails, any issue with the email client may impact the entire workflow. As Outlook is the most widely used email client, Outlook users have reported experiencing various issues during these testing times. The most common being the Outlook won't open or start issues. This problem is caused when Outlook not responding, crashes, or freezes, throws an error or Outlook stopped working. Read this post to find some common reasons behind the ‘Microsoft Outlook won’t start’ issue and methods to fix it.
Sometimes, you may encounter a situation when your Microsoft Outlook won’t open or start and returns an error message that reads:
“Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window. The set of folders cannot be opened. The operation failed.”
Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook Error Alert Box
Following are some reasons that may cause Microsoft Outlook not opening issue:
|Tip: Corruption in Outlook data file (PST) could be the reason why you cannot start Microsoft Outlook. You can repair the corrupted PST by using the built-in Microsoft repair utility but the process is time-consuming and may result in data inconsistency. Use Stellar Repair for Outlook software to repair PST file and recover all the mailbox items, maintaining data integrity.|
If you are wondering why won’t Outlook open, one of the reasons is that your Outlook application or Windows OS is not up-to-date. To resolve the issue, you just need to update Outlook application or install latest Windows OS updates.
To update Outlook:
Outlook Update Options
To install latest Windows updates manually (if automatic updates option is not configured), follow the given steps:
Now, try to open your Outlook application and see if the ‘Cannot start MS Outlook’ error is resolved. If not, move to the next method.
Note: In some situations, Outlook will not open if there’s compatibility issue between an installed antivirus program and Outlook. According to Microsoft, updating the antivirus problem might help fix the error.
When you launch Outlook in safe mode, it starts with only the basic setup, without any add-ins. This helps you to check if a faulty or damaged add-in is causing the ‘Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook’ error.
Steps to launch Outlook in safe mode are:
Launching Run utility
Note: Make sure to keep space when typing ‘Outlook.exe’ and ‘/safe’.
Running Outlook in safe mode (Outlook.exe /safe)
If Outlook starts in safe mode, a faulty add-in(s) is likely responsible for the issue. If Outlook won’t open in safe mode, skip to the next method.
To disable the faulty add-in(s), follow these steps:
Checking the installed Outlook add-ins
If this works, enable the add-ins one-by-one and keep restarting Outlook after enabling each add-in. Doing so will help you identify the faulty add-in due to which you cannot start Microsoft Outlook.
Sometimes, a problem with MS Office installation might stop Outlook from responding and make you wonder why won’t Outlook open. In that case, you can use the in-built Microsoft Office repair tool to repair the program. Follow these steps:
Programs and Features in Control Panel
Find MS Office in Programs and Features
For Click-to-Run installation type, do the following:
For MSI-based installation type:
Once the repair process is complete, try to launch and open Outlook. If Outlook is still not opening, move on to the next method.
A common reason behind “Microsoft Outlook won’t Open” error is corruption in Navigation Pane Configuration File i.e. profilename.xml. If the file size is 0 KB, this means it’s corrupt. In such a case, you can restore the file by following these steps:
Launching Run utility from Start menu
Entering Outlook.exe /resetnavpane in Run input field
If repairing the corrupted Navigation Pane Configuration File doesn’t fix the error, you can delete it (your .pst file won’t be affected). To do so:
Entering %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook in the navigation field
Outlook files folder
After performing these steps, check if the problem is fixed.
One of the causes behind the “Microsoft Outlook won’t start” error is the corrupt Outlook profile. You can create a new Outlook profile to resolve this error. Follow these steps:
Mail in Control Panel
Mail Setup dialog box
Creating a new profile in Mail
Entering Mail profile name
Finishing email account creation
Note: The Add Account Wizard will automatically look for your mail server settings.
Selecting the new profile
Now try opening Outlook. If it starts normally, it means that the Outlook profile was corrupt and resulted in the ‘Cannot start Outlook’ error.
If none of the above method works, this means that the Outlook data file (PST) is corrupt or damaged. To repair the Outlook data file, you can use Microsoft’s in-built recovery tool Scanpst.exe (also called Inbox Repair tool) or a specialized PST repair software.
If you don’t know the location of Scanpst.exe, read this: How to Find Scanpst.exe Location in Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010 & 2007?
After that, you can recover the repaired items to a new .pst file. To do so, follow these steps:
For more information on why you can’t Start Microsoft Outlook, refer to the Manual Guide.
The Outlook Inbox Repair tool (Scanpst.exe) may help you fix the ‘Outlook won’t start’ issue. However, the built-in tool has certain limitations. You need to perform the repair process steps manually and with extra care to avoid any error. Above all, Scanpst.exe can’t repair severely corrupt or oversized Outlook data file. To overcome such limitations and avoid the hassle of manual efforts, use advanced PST repair software, such as Stellar Repair for Outlook to repair severely corrupt PST files of virtually any size.
Step 1: Download, install, and run Stellar Repair for Outlook.
Step 2: From the main interface, Browse the location of the PST file. If you don’t know the location, click Find.
Step 3: Select the PST file you want to repair and click Repair to initiate scanning.
Step 4: When the scanning process is complete, you will see a list of all recoverable files and folders in the preview window. Select the files and folders you want to repair.
Step 5: After selection, click Save Repaired File on Home menu.
Step 6: Select the desired file format in which you want to save the repaired file.
Step 7: Provide the location where you want to save the recovered files and then click OK.
Now you can import this recovered PST file into your Outlook. This should resolve the Outlook won’t start issue.
Stellar Repair for Outlook is a powerful tool that can easily repair a corrupted or damaged Microsoft Outlook Personal Storage Table (PST) file, along with its content, such as journals, tasks, rules, contacts, emails, attachments, etc. This user-friendly PST file recovery software efficiently scans the damaged PST file, extracts and repairs the data, and saves the data into a new PST file. You also get advanced features, such as:
Sometimes, Microsoft Outlook might not work or throws an error, such as ‘Outlook Won’t Open’ when you try to open the application. However, you can fix such issues easily by following the methods mentioned in this post. In case the issue is caused due to corrupt PST file, you can use Microsoft’s proprietary Inbox Repair Tool to repair it. But the tool requires manual efforts and cannot repair a severely corrupt or oversized PST file. In such a case, use a dedicated Outlook PST repair software, such as Stellar Repair for Outlookto effectively repair severely corrupt PST file with a few clicks.
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Eric Simson is an Email Platform Consultant and is associated with Stellar Data Recovery from last 6 years. He writes about the latest technology tips and provides custom solutions related to MS Outlook, MS Exchange Server, Office 365, and many other Email Clients & Servers.
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