Resolve Cannot able to start or open Microsoft Outlook Issue

User's Problem: I am using Outlook 2010 and when trying to start Outlook, I am getting error "Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open Outlook windows". How can I resolve and start my Outlook again?

outlook cannot open

By this article you will find the way to resolve the problem of "Outlook cannot be opened" and enables you to run Microsoft Outlook once again without any error.

Cause and symptoms:

  • The main symptom of this problem is obvious and can be easily recognized i.e, When you click on the Outlook icon, Outlook is hanging for a while and then you get "Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook" error.
  • The other symptoms recognized by Microsoft is corrupted navigation pane setting file -profilename.xml, where "profile name" is the name of your Outlook profile.
  • When you run Outlook in compatibility mode, if you are using a profile created in older version of Outlook or PST file gets deleted or damage. In all the mentioned cases Outlook can create a problem thus printing the message " unable to open Microsoft Outlook".

You will get different pop-up error message depending on your Outlook version

  • Outlook 2010: "Microsoft Outlook has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience."
  • Outlook 2007: "Cannot open your default e-mail folders. The information store could not be opened."
  • Outlook 2003: "Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. Unable to open the Outlook window. Invalid XML, the view cannot be loaded."

How to fix "Cannot start Microsoft Outlook" issue?

Some common methods by which you can easily resolve these problems:

1. Recover the Navigation Pane Configuration file.

2. Delete navigation pane configuration file.

3. Turn off Compatibility mode in Outlook.

4. Restore the Previous Version of the PST file.

5. Repair your Outlook PST file using an "Inbox Repair tool"

6. Open Outlook in "Safe Mode"

Recover the Navigation Pane Configuration file

  • Start menu >> Run Command >> Type and Paste (outlook.exe /resetnavpane)
  • Enter OK >> Restart Computer

Outlook cannot open

Delete Navigation Pane Configuration file

If due to any reason you were not able to recover the navigation pane configuration file, and then try to delete the XML file that stores the navigation pane settings.

Step 1

  • Enter the below command in the Start > Search field on Windows ( %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook ).

Outlook cannot open

Step 2

  • This will open the folder where Microsoft Outlook configuration files are stored >>Find and delete the outlook.xml file.

Outlook cannot open

Turn off Compatibility mode in Outlook

Step 1

  • Click on Start button >> Type outlook.exe in search field.
  • Right-click on outlook.exe, and then click Properties.

Outlook cannot open

Step 2

  • Select Compatibility tab >> Clear " Run this program in compatibility mode for " check box.
  • Click Ok and Restart the Computer.

Outlook cannot open

Restore the Previous Version of the PST file

If still can't able to open Outlook window and getting the same error message "Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook" Then try to restore the previous version of the PST file.

  • Open Search field >> Type " outlook.exe ".
  • Right click on outlook.exe >> Click on " Restore previous versions".

Outlook cannot open

Repair your Outlook PST file using an Inbox Repair Tool

The other solution if Outlook cannot be opened is to once repair your PST file. It might be the reason for your improper functioning of Outlook (PST file). The Inbox Repair tool is also known as scanpst.exe. It is the inbuilt tool provided by Microsoft that helps to repair corrupt or damaged PST file.


Open Outlook In Safe Mode

  • Last but not the least, if still Outlook does not start, then you can try one more option, i.e you can open Outlook in safe mode. To open Outlook in safe mode, type "Outlook.exe /safe" in search box.
  • Right click on "Outlook.exe /safe" >> Click on " Open".