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Know How to Resolve “Cannot Start MS Outlook” Issue

Published By Ashwani Tiwari
Tej Pratap Shukla
Approved By Tej Pratap Shukla
Published On February 25th, 2022
Reading Time 5 Minutes Reading

Are you also one of them who are unable to start Microsoft Outlook? Do not know what should be the next step? Just relax, this blog will let users know all possible ways to fix the “Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook” error.

There is no doubt that Microsoft Outlook is the popular email application across the globe but users still face some issues while using it. Among all such problems, there is one common error that is encountered by almost every Outlook user i.e., cannot start MS Outlook. Now, there must be some proper reason behind the occurrence of this error. Thus, before jumping to the solution, it is important to understand the exact reason behind it.

Workaround Table

Why Users are Unable to Start MS Outlook?

There are several reasons behind this error “cannot start MS Outlook”. A user just needs to identify the correct one from all and take action according to that only. Now, some of the common causes that lead to this error are:

  • Corruption in the Navigation Pane settings file i.e., profile_name.xml. If this file shows 0 KB size, then it is very much clear that the file is damaged. This will badly affect all versions of Outlook.
  • A user is running Outlook in the compatibility mode can also result this error in Outlook.
  • Using a profile, which is created in an older Outlook version.
  • Improper uninstallation/ reinstallation of Outlook might result in corruption or deletion of PST file.

However, whatever is the reason, it displays a same message i.e.,

“Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window. The set of folders cannot be opened.”

Now, to fix this error, there are some workarounds available that a user can try and discuss in the next section of the post.

Workarounds to Resolve “Cannot Start MS Outlook” Error

After understanding the exact reason behind the error, its time to overcome this problem as soon as possible.

Workaround #1: Repair Configuration File of Navigation Pane

One of the major reasons behind this error is the damaged configuration file of the navigation pane. Thus, to overcome this error, a user needs to recover the configuration file first. To do the same, follow the steps mentioned below to avoid error cannot start MS Outlook:

    1. Open your system and click on the Start button. Then, type Outlook.exe/resetnavpane

Note: Outlook.exe/resetnavpane will reset the navigation pane settings.

    1. After that, choose the file >> hit Enter key and start the Outlook application.

If a user is unable to fix the issue, then simply delete the file as follows:

  1. Open your machine and go to Start
  2. Now, type %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook. This command will display the list of all configuration files in MS Outlook
  3. Then, you have to type the Outlook XML file name in the Search field
  4. After that, right-click on it and choose Delete option and your bug Cannot Start MS Outlook will be resolved

Note: If you are unable to repair the navigation pane settings file, then only delete it. First try to recover always.

Workaround #2: Rebuild Outlook Profile

Sometimes rebuilding a new Outlook profile and moving all old data into it might removes all problems. Now, to know how to create a new profile, follow the steps mentioned below:

  1. To begin the process, navigate to Start >> Control Panel >> Mail option
  2. After that, click on the Data Files >> Add in order to add a new profile in the Mail window
  3. Now, do not forget to set this newly created profile as a default profile
  4. Start Outlook and check it opens a new profile
  5. Next, you have to move old data to new profile. For that, open Outlook window
  6. Then, move to File >> Open >> Import >> Import from another program option
  7. After that, choose the old data file >> Next button
  8. When the import process is completed successfully, click on the Finish button

Workaround #3: Using Outlook File Repair Tool

If any of the above workarounds is unable to fix the Cannot Start MS Outlook error, then there must be corruption in Outlook data file. Now, in order to deal with such type of corruption, the only solution is to take the help of some third-party tool. Outlook Repair Tool is the best way of repairing damaged PST files and getting corruption-free PST file. It is capable to remove the even major level of corruption issues also from the PST file. The software recovers all data items like emails, contacts, calendars, tasks, etc., from the PST file. A user can launch the application on any version of MS Windows OS.

Free Download Purchase Now

Also Read: Microsoft Outlook Inbox Repair Tool Not Responding– Reasons & Solutions


Dealing with all types of minor and major issues of Outlook is not so easy as needs to be solved with proper care. One wrong move can lead to complete data loss also. Therefore, when a user is trying to fix cannot start MS Outlook issue, it is advised to follow all advice carefully. Moreover, in the case of a major level of corruption, a reliable application is suggested that one can use.


By Ashwani Tiwari

I am an Expert Technical Analyst, specialized in assisting users with complex technological challenges. Through my blogs and articles, I offer expert guidance to help tackle these technical issues effectively. My true passion lies in providing valuable insights and simplifying complicated technicalities, enhancing user understanding and confidence.