Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook [Fixed]

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Introduction

While I was working on How to Change Outlook Password, I opened Outlook and received the error message Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook. The full error message is shown in the image below:

Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window. The set of folders cannot be opened. The attempt to log on to Microsoft Exchange has failed.

In this guide I will share how I fixed the error message and other ways you could fix it if my first method does not work for you.

How to Fix Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook Error Message

There are 4 ways to fix Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook Error Message. Here they are:

  1. Start Outlook in safe mode, disable add-ins
  2. Repair Outlook data files
  3. Remove all navigation pane customizations
  4. Create a new Outlook profile
Each of the methods above are independent. To maximize the solutions suggested in this guide, it is recommended to try the first method. If it does not fix the problem, then proceed to method 2 and so on.

Method 1 Fix for Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook: Start Outlook in safe mode

  • Open W + R key (Windows logo and R key). This will open the Run command. At the Run command, type Outlook /safe. Then click Ok.
  • On the Profile Name window, click Ok.
If Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook is caused by outlook add-ons, outlook will start successfully. However, if the error is caused by corrupt data files, the error message will still be there.
If outlook opens in safe mode, then follow the steps in this link to disable add-ons. Alternatively, if outlook fails to start in safe mode, proceed to Method 2.

Method 2 Fix for Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook: Repair Outlook data files

If outlook fails to start, it could be caused by corrupt data files. The inbox repair tool, SCANPST.EXE can fix corrupt outlook data files.

The steps below walks you through how to use SCANPST.EXE:

  • When the page loads, scroll down a bit until you see the Automatically start the Inbox Repair tool link (highlighted above). Click the downward arrow beside the link to expand it.
  • Next, click on the link for the version of your outlook. Then select the option to save the file. Save it in a location on your computer.
  • Open where you saved the file on your computer. Then double-click the file to open it.
  • On the first page, click Next. The tool will run some diagnostics. It also opens the inbox repair tool. See the second image below.
How to Fix Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook  - scanpst.exe tool
Before you perform the next step, configure your computer to show hidden folders. You MUST perform this task before you proceed. Otherwise, you will NOT be able to view the folder location of your outlook data files.
  • Next, on the Inbox Repair Tool, click Browse. When file browser opens, on the File Name field, type %userprofile%. Then click Ok.
Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook - repair outlook data file with Scanpst.exe
%userprofile% will open your profile on the computer
  • When your profile opens, click AppData folder and open it.
  • Finally, open this folder path \Local\Microsoft\Outlook.
How to Fix Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook
  • Next, select an outlook data file you wish to repair and click Open.
Outlook data files are normally named as your email address. Also, they look like the highlighted portion of the previous image.
  • You will then be returned to the Microsoft Outlook Inbox Repair tool. The top highlighted part is the path to the file you wish to repair. To begin repair, click Start. The repair will commence.
  • After the file consistency check, the inbox repair tool will return a report. If it found errors in the file, click Repair. The repair will run and return Repair Complete as shown in the second image below.
How to Fix Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook
If you have more than one file, repair all of them as they may all be corrupt.

When it finishes, open outlook. Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook error message should be fixed. If the error is not fixed, try method 3 below.

Method 3 Fix for Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook: Remove all navigation pane customizations

Sometimes customizing the navigation pane may lead to the error message Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook. To check if this is the problem, follow the steps below to remove any navigation pane customizations.

  • Open W + R key (Windows logo and R key). This will open the Run command.
  • At the Run command, type the command below. Then click Ok.
Outlook.exe /resetnavpane
If outlook opens successfully, it means this method fixed the problem!

Method 4 Fix for Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook: Create a new Outlook profile

If none of the methods discussed already does not resolve Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook error, this one will.

Warning!
When you create a new outlook profile you will lose all your customized settings. You will also need to add all emails one by one. Your emails will be re-downloaded.
The demo in this method was performed on Windows 10. Other versions of Windows may require slight modifications.
  • On the search bar, type control panel. Then click Control Panel.
Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook - open control panel
Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook - Control Panel
  • On Control Panel search bar, type outlook. Then click Mail (Microsoft Outlook 2016) (32 bit) or what ever your outlook version. Outlook setup will open (see the second image below).
Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook - create new outlook profile
  • Next, click Show Profiles.
  • To create a new outlook profile, click Add. Next, give the new profile a name. Then click Ok. When you click Ok, the Add account page opens.
  • Enter your email address and password. Then re-enter the password. Finally, click Next. Outlook will add your email automatically. Click Finish.
Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook - new email added
A new outlook profile is created!
  • To ensure that outlook starts with this new profile, select it from the Always use this profile drop-down. Finally, click Ok.

To check if Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook error is fixed open outlook.

When you start outlook, it will take a some time to load.

Conclusion

I hope you have been able to fix “cannot start Microsoft outlook” error using one of the methods discussed above. If you have any question or comment, use the “Leave a Reply” form at the end of the page.

You could also share your experience fixing “cannot start Microsoft outlook” error.

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