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Fix: The Set of Folders Cannot be Opened Outlook 2016 – Explicit Guide

Published By Mohit Jha
Tej Pratap Shukla
Approved By Tej Pratap Shukla
Published On May 31st, 2024
Reading Time 6 Minutes Reading

“Recently, I have upgraded my PC to Windows 10 and also upgraded to Office 365. Now, whenever I am trying to open my Outlook 2016, it is throwing an error message that says ‘Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window. The set of folders cannot be opened Outlook 2016’. Even I am unable to open the Outlook application in safe mode to check the add-ons from the previous version. Someone told me that this issue may occur due to Evernote but, I am not getting any problem with Evernote and Office 365. Please help!”

Most of the Outlook users encounter ‘The Set of Folders Cannot Be Opened Outlook 2016 error in Windows 10. Basically, this error message indicates that the Outlook data file that comprises all the information cannot be opened. It is an unexpected MS Outlook error that stops the program from launching. This article explains some simple fixes to resolve this issue along with its causes and symptoms.

Outlook Error: The Set of Folders Cannot be Opened in Outlook 2016

At times while clicking on the Outlook icon, an hourglass appears and hangs for a while then, throws an error ‘Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook’.

The main cause of this issue is corrupted Navigation Pane settings file ‘profilename.xml’ where ‘profile-name’ is the name of Outlook profile. The best way to identify that a file is corrupted when its size is zero (0) KB. This error can affect all the versions of MS Outlook from 2003 to 2016, 2019. Also, sometimes this error occurs when Outlook runs in the compatibility mode or if someone utilizes a profile created in the old version of Microsoft Outlook.

In case if the Outlook data file (PST or OST) gets deleted or damaged, it results in incorrect uninstallation and reinstallation of the MS Outlook program. So, no matter what is the reason; the outcome is the same i.e., ‘Cannot open Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window. The set of folders cannot be opened in Outlook 2016 / 2013 / 2010 / 2007 / 2003 / 2002/ 2000 etc’ error. This error can occur in different wording in different versions of Outlook:

The Set of Folders Cannot be Opened Outlook 2016

  • Outlook 2007:Cannot open default e-mail folders. The information stored could not be opened.
  • Outlook 2003: Cannot start MS Office Outlook. Unable to open the Outlook window. Invalid XML, the view cannot be loaded.

Techniques to Fix The Set of Folders Cannot be Opened Outlook 2016 Error

Either if there is a network issue or the Exchange server is at its downtime for maintenance, first need to check your network connection and the access to the mailbox server. If everything is fine there then, proceed with the solutions mentioned below.

Important Note: Instead of the Manual solution Inbox Repair tool, one can use Outlook 2016 Repair Tool to repair corrupt Outlook PST file in MS Outlook 2016, 2019, and below versions. The most important factor is, the utility fix PST file issues and recover missing data items from it without data loss. It provides a 100% guarantee in data integrity and safety.

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Technique 1: Using Scanpst.exe to Open Outlook

Corruption in Outlook PST is one of the main reasons for this error prompt. One can repair a corrupted PST file easily using Scanpst.exe, which is an in-built repair utility offered by Microsoft. But keep in mind that sometimes Scanpst.exe does not recognize the PST file Follow the steps below to resolve the ‘the set of folders cannot be opened in Outlook 2016’ issue:

Note: You can find the Scanpst.exe in the following locations:

  • For Outlook 2016 / 2019
  • In x64 Office – C:\Program Files \Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  • In x86 Office – C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  1. First of all, close outlook.exe and all other tasks that are using PST
  2. Then, run the Scanpst.exe tool and click on Browse to add the corrupted PST file
  3. Default Location of PST: C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\
  4. Eventually, hit the Start button

Technique 2: Create A New Outlook Profile

  1. First, open Control Panel on your local machine
  2. Here, click on User Accounts >> Mail
  3. Next, click on the Show Profiles button and select the Outlook profile. Click Remove
  4. Now, in the Mail Profiles wizard, hit the Add button and enter a name for the new Outlook profile. Click OK to apply the changes
  5. Select the Auto Account Setup/ Manual Setup option and follow the instructions to complete the procedure

After creating a new Outlook account the issue will be resolved and the Outlook will start working normally.

Technique 3: Run Outlook in Safe Mode

  1. Hold the ‘Windows key + R’ button simultaneously and it will open the Run wizard. Here, type outlook.exe /safe and press Enter
  2. After this, you will be asked to select the profile for logging in. In case, if there is a single profile then, it will be selected by default. Click OK
  3. If Outlook works fine now then, it is possible that there are some conflicts or corruption in add-ins. So, disable the add-ins and launch Outlook application to confirm
  4. If it is working for you then, enable the add-in sequentially to find out which one was stopping Outlook
  5. In order to disable the add-ins, click File >> Options >> Add-ins >> COM Add-ins >> Manage >> Go
  6. Next, uncheck all the data items in the Add-Ins list and hit the OK button
  7. If MS Outlook is still not working then press ‘Windows + R’ keys and type appwiz.cpl and hit the OK button.
  8. Locate the following applications and uninstall them:
ABBYY FineReader, Broadcom Send-to-Bluetooth Intel Send-to-Bluetooth KingSoft’s PowerWord

Technique 4: Enable Cached Exchange Mode

  1. Open Control Panel and click Mail >> Data Files
  2. Select your Account, and click on Settings
  3. Now, check all three options: Use cached Exchange mode, Download shared folders, and Download public folder favorites
  4. Close the window and try to open your Outlook application


This article explains all the simple techniques to fix the ‘The set of folders cannot be opened Outlook 2016’ error and make the Outlook application work normally. There are many Outlook errors like Outlook PST file cannot be found issue etc. Solving the MS Outlook PST file issue is very important for its proper working. Now, users can go for an appropriate solution as per their current preferences and requirements.


By Mohit Jha

Mohit is a Microsoft-certified expert who has assisted thousands of clients with Outlook & Microsoft Office 365 issues. He enjoys writing on email clients as well as data migration. He is always excited about giving troubled readers the most up-to-date knowledge, explanation, and refinements.