How To Fix Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook Error

Error Message

“Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Unable to open the Outlook window. The set folders could not be opened. The server is not available. Contact your administrator if this condition persists”.


1. Recover profile file

In most cases it is the corrupted Navigation Pane settings file that prevents Outlook from starting successfully. Here’s how you can do this on different operating systems:

1. If you use Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, click the Start button.
On Windows XP, click Start > Run.
On Windows 7 or Windows 8, then on the Start menu, click All Programs > Accessories > Run
2. Type the following command in the search box:
outlook.exe /resetnavpane
Keep a space between outlook.exe and /resetnavpane.
3. Press Enter or click on the file in order to reset the Navigation Pane settings and then open Outlook.

2. Delete the Navigation pane settings file

If above options did not work, then you can try to delete the XML file that stores the Navigation pane settings. To do this, proceed with following steps:

1. Enter the below command in the Start > Search field on Windows 7 and Windows 8 or Start > Run on Windows XP:
Press Enter.
2. This will open the folder where Microsoft Outlook configuration files are stored. Delete the Outlook.xml file.

3. Repair Outlook data files

If Outlook data file is corrupted, then you need to repair it.
Following are the steps to do this:

1. Click Start and type scanpst.exe in the Searchbox.
2. Click the Browse button to select your default Outlook.pst file.
In Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016, the PST file resides in the Documents\Outlook Files folder.
In Outlook 2010, you will find the outlook.pst file in a hidden folder in these locations:

On Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8

On Windows XP, you will find it here C:\ Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
3. Click Start.

4.  Disable Compatibility Mode

1. Click the Start button or Start > Run on Windows XP and type outlook.exe in the search field.
2. Right-click on OUTLOOK.EXE, and then click Properties. Switch to the Compatibility tab and be sure to clear the “Run this program in compatibility mode for” check box. Click OK and try to start Outlook.

5. Create a New Profile

If you have a corrupt profile, you will keep getting this error until you create a new profile. You can do that by going to Control Panel and then Mail and then Show Profiles and then deleting all the current profiles. Create a new profileby going toControl Panel > Mail > Data Files> Add.

Set the new profile as the default one
On the “Account Setting” dialog >Data file stab, select the new profile and click the Set as Default button on the toolbar.

6. Start Outlook with No Extensions

Another issue could be a third-party add-in. You can test this out by starting Outlook with no extensions. You can do this by going to the Run dialog again like we did above and this time typing the following:
outlook.exe /noextensions

If Outlook starts fine, then you need to go into the add-in manager and disable all the add-ins and then re-enable them one at a time to find the culprit.