Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook: Top 4 Solutions

bestemailproviderThe last thing someone needs during a busy work day is for the software and applications they rely on to stop working – especially when that application is vital to their productivity, like Microsoft Outlook. How is someone expected to check their email or access important events on their calendar when they keep receiving “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook” errors? There’s no need to panic, though. While it might sound like a significant error, the “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook” problem is an easily fixable one. Just follow along with these common solutions, and you’ll be back in your inbox in no time. (Need a little extra help? Check out one of the many Microsoft Outlook beginner courses, from Outlook 2010 to Outlook 2013.

bestemailproviderThe last thing someone needs during a busy work day is for the software and applications they rely on to stop working – especially when that application is vital to their productivity, like Microsoft Outlook. How is someone expected to check their email or access important events on their calendar when they keep receiving “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook” errors? There’s no need to panic, though. While it might sound like a significant error, the “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook” problem is an easily fixable one. Just follow along with these common solutions, and you’ll be back in your inbox in no time. (Need a little extra help? Check out one of the many Microsoft Outlook beginner courses, from Outlook 2010 to Outlook 2013.

The “Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook” Dilemma

It’s the same thing every time. You try to open up Microsoft Outlook, but instead of being greeted with your email and calendar, you find yourself face to face with an ugly prompt box. It will say different things depending on what version of Outlook you’re using:

Outlook 2003: “Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. Unable to open the Outlook window. Invalid XML, the view cannot be loaded.”

Outlook 2007: “Cannot open your default e-mail folders. The information store could not be opened.”

Outlook 2010: “Microsoft Outlook has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.”

No matter what message you’re prompted with, the frustration is all the same. Luckily, there are a few common causes for this error that are easily fixable, and compatible with all versions of Outlook. Save yourself some time and stress, and resort to the troubleshooting tutorials below. Want some more in-depth Microsoft Outlook tutorials? Check out Microsoft Outlook 2010: Intermediate and Microsoft Outlook 2010: Advanced.

Solution #1 – Navigation Pane configuration file recovery

One of the main causes of this issue, and the one you should troubleshoot for first, is a corrupt Navigation Pane settings file. This file should be named after your Microsoft Outlook profile, for example: myoutlookprofile.xml or mariasprofile.xml. If the file size of your Navigation Pane settings file is 0 KB, it has most likely been corrupted somehow. The exact cause is unknown, but the solution is really simple. If you need some additional Microsoft Outlook help, try out Microsoft Outlook 2010 Tutorial – Learning Made Easy or Microsoft Outlook 2013 Training Tutorial.

Step 1 – For Windows Vista, 7, and 8 users, click the Start button to bring up the main Start menu. If you’re using Windows XP, click the Start button and then Run

Step 2- In the search field, type in: outlook.exe /resetnavpane

Step 3- Select the file that appears, or just press Enter If you’re worried about messing around with specific commands, or making the problem worse, the official Microsoft website offers a quick fix that you can access from this issue’s help page.

If for some reason neither of these fixes worked, you can delete the Navigation Pane settings file altogether. Be warned, this will clear the data from your Microsoft Outlook profile.

Step 1 – Click the Start button, and in either the search field or the Run field, depending on which operating system you’re using, enter the following command: %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook

Step 2 – In the Microsoft Outlook folder, find the .xml Navigation Pane settings file, and delete it

Solution #2 – Use the Inbox Repair Tool to repair your Outlook.pst file

In certain cases, the issue might not even be with the Navigation Pane settings file, but the Outlook.pst file instead. You’ll know if you’re receiving an error similar to: “Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. The file Outlook.pst is not a personal folders file.” Luckily, Microsoft Outlook comes with something called an Inbox Repair Tool, which can recover both Personal and Offline Folder files.

Step 1 – Open Program Files, Microsoft Office, and then the folder with your version of Microsoft Office

Step 2 – Double click on Scanpst.exe

Step 3 – When the Inbox Repair Tool opens, click the Browse button to locate your Outlook.pst file. Depending on your operating system, it should be under:

  • Windows Vista, 7, or 8: C:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

  • Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Step 4 – Once you’ve selected your Outlook.pst file, click the Start button, and the problem should be solved!

Solution #3 – Start over with a new Outlook profile

Sometimes, the solution to a problem is just a fresh start. You can create yourself a new Microsoft Outlook profile by following the instructions below. (Speaking of fresh starts… why not upgrade to Microsoft Office 2013, the latest version Microsoft has to offer?)

Step 1 – Click on Control Panel, then go to Mail, Data Files, and Add…

Step 2 – In the Account Settings menu, click on the Data Files tab, select your new Outlook profile and click the button that says Set as Default.

From here, you can import data from your original Outlook.pst file, into your new one.

Step 1 – Click on File, then Open, then Import.

Step 2 – Click on “Import from another program of file,” then click Next.

Step 3 – Click on “Outlook DataFile (.pst)” and then click Next.

Step 4 – Click on Browse, and then select your original Outlook.pst file.

Step 5 – Click on Next, and then click Finish. You did it!

Solution #4 – Disable compatibility mode for Microsoft Outlook

While compatibility mode has its benefits, it’s also possible it can be messing with your Microsoft Outlook. Follow these easy instructions to turn compatibility mode off:

Step 1 – Click the Start button, and in either the search field or the Run line, type in outlook.exe

Step 2 – Right click on the OUTLOOK.EXE file, and click on the Properties option at the very bottom of the context menu.

Step 3 – In Properties, open the Compatibility tab. If the option that reads “Run this program in compatibility mode” is checked, uncheck it

If these three solutions don’t work, try navigating Microsoft’s official help pages. Whatever your specific version of Microsoft Outlook, or the reason for its malfunction, there’s an answer out there somewhere. If you absolutely can’t solve the problem, try uninstalling and re-installing your version of Microsoft Outlook.

Lookng for some extra Microsoft Office tutorials? Check out the options below:

The “Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook” Dilemma

It’s the same thing every time. You try to open up Microsoft Outlook, but instead of being greeted with your email and calendar, you find yourself face to face with an ugly prompt box. It will say different things depending on what version of Outlook you’re using:

Outlook 2003: “Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. Unable to open the Outlook window. Invalid XML, the view cannot be loaded.”

Outlook 2007: “Cannot open your default e-mail folders. The information store could not be opened.”

Outlook 2010: “Microsoft Outlook has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.”

No matter what message you’re prompted with, the frustration is all the same. Luckily, there are a few common causes for this error that are easily fixable, and compatible with all versions of Outlook. Save yourself some time and stress, and resort to the troubleshooting tutorials below. Want some more in-depth Microsoft Outlook tutorials? Check out Microsoft Outlook 2010: Intermediate and Microsoft Outlook 2010: Advanced.

Solution #1 – Navigation Pane configuration file recovery

One of the main causes of this issue, and the one you should troubleshoot for first, is a corrupt Navigation Pane settings file. This file should be named after your Microsoft Outlook profile, for example: myoutlookprofile.xml or mariasprofile.xml. If the file size of your Navigation Pane settings file is 0 KB, it has most likely been corrupted somehow. The exact cause is unknown, but the solution is really simple. If you need some additional Microsoft Outlook help, try out Microsoft Outlook 2010 Tutorial – Learning Made Easy or Microsoft Outlook 2013 Training Tutorial.

Step 1 – For Windows Vista, 7, and 8 users, click the Start button to bring up the main Start menu. If you’re using Windows XP, click the Start button and then Run

Step 2- In the search field, type in: outlook.exe /resetnavpane

Step 3- Select the file that appears, or just press Enter If you’re worried about messing around with specific commands, or making the problem worse, the official Microsoft website offers a quick fix that you can access from this issue’s help page.

If for some reason neither of these fixes worked, you can delete the Navigation Pane settings file altogether. Be warned, this will clear the data from your Microsoft Outlook profile.

Step 1 – Click the Start button, and in either the search field or the Run field, depending on which operating system you’re using, enter the following command: %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook

Step 2 – In the Microsoft Outlook folder, find the .xml Navigation Pane settings file, and delete it

Solution #2 – Use the Inbox Repair Tool to repair your Outlook.pst file

In certain cases, the issue might not even be with the Navigation Pane settings file, but the Outlook.pst file instead. You’ll know if you’re receiving an error similar to: “Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. The file Outlook.pst is not a personal folders file.” Luckily, Microsoft Outlook comes with something called an Inbox Repair Tool, which can recover both Personal and Offline Folder files.

Step 1 – Open Program Files, Microsoft Office, and then the folder with your version of Microsoft Office

Step 2 – Double click on Scanpst.exe

Step 3 – When the Inbox Repair Tool opens, click the Browse button to locate your Outlook.pst file. Depending on your operating system, it should be under:

  • Windows Vista, 7, or 8: C:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

  • Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Step 4 – Once you’ve selected your Outlook.pst file, click the Start button, and the problem should be solved!

Solution #3 – Start over with a new Outlook profile

Sometimes, the solution to a problem is just a fresh start. You can create yourself a new Microsoft Outlook profile by following the instructions below. (Speaking of fresh starts… why not upgrade to Microsoft Office 2013, the latest version Microsoft has to offer?)

Step 1 – Click on Control Panel, then go to Mail, Data Files, and Add…

Step 2 – In the Account Settings menu, click on the Data Files tab, select your new Outlook profile and click the button that says Set as Default.

From here, you can import data from your original Outlook.pst file, into your new one.

Step 1 – Click on File, then Open, then Import.

Step 2 – Click on “Import from another program of file,” then click Next.

Step 3 – Click on “Outlook DataFile (.pst)” and then click Next.

Step 4 – Click on Browse, and then select your original Outlook.pst file.

Step 5 – Click on Next, and then click Finish. You did it!

Solution #4 – Disable compatibility mode for Microsoft Outlook

While compatibility mode has its benefits, it’s also possible it can be messing with your Microsoft Outlook. Follow these easy instructions to turn compatibility mode off:

Step 1 – Click the Start button, and in either the search field or the Run line, type in outlook.exe

Step 2 – Right click on the OUTLOOK.EXE file, and click on the Properties option at the very bottom of the context menu.

Step 3 – In Properties, open the Compatibility tab. If the option that reads “Run this program in compatibility mode” is checked, uncheck it

If these three solutions don’t work, try navigating Microsoft’s official help pages. Whatever your specific version of Microsoft Outlook, or the reason for its malfunction, there’s an answer out there somewhere. If you absolutely can’t solve the problem, try uninstalling and re-installing your version of Microsoft Outlook.

Lookng for some extra Microsoft Office tutorials? Check out the options below: