Troubleshoot Outlook Won’t Open Problem with 6 Fixes

  • August 2, 2023
  • Written by:
  • James
  • Reading Time: 10 minutes

Are you experiencing the frustration of Microsoft Outlook refusing to open when you need it the most? In this blog, we’ll explore the common causes of this problem and provide practical solutions to get your Outlook up and running in no time. Say goodbye to missed emails and delayed work – let’s dive in and solve your “Microsoft Outlook Won’t Open” issue!

Reasons Why Outlook Not Opening

Your Outlook will not open due to various reasons. Following are:

  • Corrupted or damaged Outlook data files can prevent the application from opening, causing inconvenience to users.
  • Outdated software versions can cause compatibility issues, preventing Outlook from opening or functioning properly.
  • Incorrect or incomplete email account settings may cause Outlook to stall, preventing access to your inbox.
  • Add-ins or plugins could be causing conflicts, resulting in Outlook won’t open or behaving unexpectedly.
  • Antivirus or firewall software settings might block Outlook, impeding the application from launching successfully.

After getting about the reasons, let’s fix the issue.

Solutions to Resolve Outlook Won’t Open

Fix 1 – Keep Outlook and Windows Updated

A possible reason Outlook won’t open is outdated software or operating system. To address this issue, update Outlook or install the latest Windows updates.

To update Outlook:

  1. Navigate to File >> Office Account.
  2. Select Update Options, then click Update Now.

For manual Windows updates (if automatic updates are not configured):

  1. Access Settings.
  2. Choose Update and Recovery, then click How Updates get installed.
  3. Enable automatic updates.

Check the problem is resolved. If not, then you can proceed to the next method.

Note: Sometimes, compatibility issues between antivirus software and Outlook may prevent it from opening. Updating the antivirus program might fix the error.

Fix 2 – Launch/Start Outlook in Safe Mode

Launching Outlook in safe mode uses only the basic setup, without any add-ins, to check if a faulty or damaged add-in is causing the error.

To launch Outlook in safe mode:

  1. Press Windows + R keys.
  2. Now, the Run dialog box will launch.
  3. Type “Outlook.exe /safe” and hit Enter

A problematic add-in is likely the cause if Outlook starts in safe mode. If not, then go with the  next method.

To disable faulty add-ins:

  1. In Outlook, go to File > Options.
  2. Select Add-ins from the left-side panel, choose COM Add-ins in the Manage field, and click Go.
  3. Deselect all add-in checkboxes and click OK.
  4. Restart Outlook in normal mode.

Enable add-ins one by one, restarting Outlook after each. This will help identify the problematic add-in.

Fix 3 – Repair Microsoft Office

A faulty MS Office installation might cause Outlook won’t open. Use the built-in Microsoft Office repair tool to fix the problem.

  1. Close all running Microsoft Office applications.
  2. Open Control Panel.
  3. Click Programs and Features.
  4. Locate your Microsoft Office version, right-click it, and select Change.

Repair your MS Office program according to your installation type:

  • For Click-to-Run: Choose Online Repair and select Repair when prompted.
  • For MSI-based: Select Repair in the “Change your installation” dialog box and click Continue.

Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the MS Office repair process. If Outlook still won’t open, proceed to the next method.

Fix 4 – Restore/Delete Navigation Pane Configuration File

A corrupt Navigation Pane Configuration File (profilename.xml) could cause an error in Outlook won’t open. If the file size is 0 KB, it’s corrupt. In this case, restore the file:

  1. Close Microsoft Outlook.
  2. Press Windows + R keys to open the Run dialog box.
  3. Type “outlook.exe /resetnavpane” and click OK.

If repairing the file doesn’t work, delete it:

  1. Press Windows + R keys to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “%appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook” and click OK.
  3. Locate the xml file and delete it.

Check if the problem is resolved.

Fix 5 – Create a New Profile for Outlook

A corrupt Outlook profile may cause the Outlook won’t open error. Create a new profile to get it resolved:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Select Mail to open the Mail Setup dialog box.
  3. Click Show Profiles from the Mail Setup.
  4. Click Add to create a new profile.
  5. Enter a profile name and click OK.
  6. Complete the “Auto Account Setup” form.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Click Finish when prompted.
  9. Choose Prompt for a profile to be used under “When starting Microsoft Outlook, use this profile” and click OK.
  10. Restart Outlook, select the new profile in the “Choose Profile” dialog box and click OK.

Now try opening Outlook. If it starts normally, the corrupt Outlook profile was the cause of the “Cannot start Outlook” error.

Fix 6 – Repair Outlook Data File

If the previous methods don’t work, the Outlook data file (PST) might be corrupt or damaged. Use Microsoft’s built-in recovery tool Scanpst.exe (Inbox Repair tool), or a specialized PST repair software to repair the file.

To use Scanpst.exe:

  1. Close Outlook.
  2. Locate the Scanpst.exe file.
  3. Double-click SCANPST.
  4. Click Browse and navigate to the file you want to repair.
  5. Click Start to begin scanning the corrupt PST file.
  6. After scanning, a screen reporting the errors found in the file will appear. Click Repair to fix them.

Next, recover the repaired items to a new .pst file to fix Outlook won’t open issue.

  1. Start Outlook.
  2. Press CTRL+6 to enable the Folder List view.
  3. In the Folder List, locate the recovered data folders (Inbox, Outbox, Contacts, Sent Items, Calendar, Notes, Journal, Deleted Items, and Tasks).
  4. Create a new PST file.
  5. Click the Lost and Found folder, then drag and drop the recovered data items into the new PST file.
  6. Remove the recovered PST file.

Wrapping Up

Now, you have got your Outlook back to open. When Outlook won’t open, the above are the reliable solutions to fix it quickly. We also provide you with the causes of the issue. If the error still occurs even after following the above solution, then you can contact our Experts to know more solutions to resolve it.

Written By

  • James
  • My name is David Wayne, and I work as a technical support specialist for the online industry. In the last 7 years, I have fixed a variety of email issues, such as Outlook server errors, Outlook send receive errors, Outlook working offline problems and etc. So if you are facing these types of problems, please do not hesitate to contact us without any hesitation.

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