Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook: Causes, Symptoms, & Troubleshooting Techniques

Samuel Adams | March 11th, 2019 | Tips

How to fix ‘Cannot Start Outlook’ error is one of the biggest issues in front of various organizations and individuals. Inevitably, this is the biggest challenge, however; there are various methods to resolve this problem. If you are still struggling to find a proper solution for cannot open Outlook window issue, then you have landed on the right page. Here, in the upcoming part of the blog, we are going to discuss some manual workarounds to resolve, Cannot start Microsoft Outlook” error code.

What Causes Microsoft Outlook Cannot Start Error?

There are several factors, which are responsible for Outlook cannot be started error message. The biggest one is a damaged or corrupted Navigation Pane settings. If your PST file size is 0 KB then, it means that the file is corrupted read more to know how to fix corrupted PST. The accurate reason for this is hard to demystify but MS Outlook all available versions from 2003 to 2016 may get affected by this issue. Apart from this, the error message ‘Cannot open Outlook window/ Outlook does not open’ may occur when users run the Outlook in compatibility mode or use a profile generated in older Outlook edition, or PST or OST is corrupted or damaged, etc.

Now, if we talk about the symptoms then, the appearance of the error code “cannot start Microsoft Outlook” is the biggest indication of this. If you are thinking that can we resolve it manually, then the answer is yes. There are numerous manual strategies, which you can opt for, in order to rectify this problem.

Manual Methods to Fix Cannot Start Outlook/ Cannot Open Outlook Window

From the above section, it becomes very clear that what are causes that result in Cannot open Microsoft Outlook issue. Now, the following are some resolutions to fix this problem:

1. Recover the File of Navigation Pane Configuration

  • If you are using Windows 7/ 8 or Vista then, you need to click on Start. On Windows XP, click on Start >> Run to fix Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook error
  • After this, execute the following command:
          Outlook.exe /resetnavpane
  • Now, press the Enter button click on the file to reset the Navigation Pane Settings and launch Outlook after this

If using Windows 7/ Windows 8, then follow these steps:

  • Click on Start menu and select All Programs >> Accessories >> Run
  • Now, type Outlook.exe /resetnavpane in the command prompt and click OK

2. Create New Outlook Profile and Import data from old PST

  • In order to resolve cannot start/ open Microsoft Outlook error Control Panel and click on Mail, select the Data Files option. Click Add…
  • Now, set the newly created profile as your default profile. For this, click on Account Setting>>Data Files and select the recently created profile and hit the Set as Default button
  • After this, attempt to access Outlook and copy the entire data from your old Outlook profile. To import your data and fix Cannot open Outlook data file/ Outlook does not open issue follow these steps below:
  • In Outlook, click on File and select Open >> Open & Import. Highlight Import/ Export
  • Now, select Import from another program or file option and click on Next
  • Select the Outlook Data File and hit the Next button
  • Then, click on Browse and choose the old PST file
  • Finally, click on Next >> Finish and Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook error will get resolved

3. Repair PST With the Help of Inbox Repair Utility

  • First of all, open Windows Explorer and go to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\{Office version}. If using Windows OS (64-bit) with Office (32-bit) installed then, navigate to C:\Program Files x86\Microsoft Office\{Office version}
  • After this, search for Scanpst.exe and double click on it. You can even, click on Start and type scanpst.exe in the search box to fix cannot start Outlook/ cannot open Outlook window issue
  • Now, hit the Browse button and choose the default Outlook.pst file. You will get the Outlook.pst in the hidden folder in these below-mentioned locations:
  • On Windows Vista/ 7/ 8: C:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  • On Windows XP: C:\ Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Disable Compatibility Mode in MS Outlook to Fix Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook Error

  • Click on Start and type Outlook.exe
  • Now, hit a right-click on the Outlook.exe and select Properties
  • Once you have done this, go to Compatibility tab and uncheck Run this program in compatibility mode for option
  • Now, hit the OK button and launch Outlook

What If All The Manual Methods Gets Failed?

In case if none of the manual workarounds works to fix ‘Cannot Start Outlook’ error you then, there are high chances that your PST data file is damaged or highly corrupted. It such situations, it is recommended to use PST Recovery Tool as it the best way to repair and recover data from severely corrupted PST files in batch. Using this, one can recover emails, contacts, calendars, and all other data items from Outlook PST file. The tool allows to recover data from password protected and S/MIME and OpenPGP encrypted PST files to resolve Cannot open Outlook window issue.


Microsoft Outlook is a prominent email client and encountering any issue while using it can interrupt the workflow of users. Hence, in this blog, we have discussed one such serious error message that users often encounter while launching the application i.e., ‘Cannot start Microsoft Outlook’. Here we have disclosed all the simple techniques to resolve cannot open Outlook window issue in an efficient manner.