Fix: Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook 2016

Almost every Outlook user facing the moment when the program does not start. And, as a rule, it happens unexpectedly and at the wrong time! Today, we’ll take a look at few simple ways to start Outlook. If after running Outlook you receive an error Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window. The set of folders cannot be opened. Microsoft Exchange is not available. Either there are network problems or the Exchange server is down for maintenance, at first you need to check the network connection and access to your mailbox server.

How to Fix Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook 2016?

Check Network Connection

To check the connection to the mail server you can use ping and tracert commands, also try to access your mailbox via web browser (OWA in Exchange, or https://www.google.com/gmail/about/ if you are using Gmail).

Cannot start Microsoft Outlook

Kill Outlook.exe Process

If the mail server is available, open Task Manager (SHIFT+CTRL+Esc), switch to the Details tab. Find and terminate all outlook.exe processes (Right click -> End task).

Cannot start Microsoft Outlook process

After that start Outlook.

Run Outlook in Safe Mode and Disable Add-ins

Try to run Outlook in Safe Mode, by running the command:

Outlook.exe /safe

In case the Outlook succesfully started in Safe Mode, disable additional and third-party extensions: File -> Add-ins -> COM Add-ins -> Go -> Clear all COM add-in checkboxes.

Cannot open Outlook

Tip. You can also disable all add-ins in registry by deleting the following registry keys (just in case, create a backup of these keys first!):

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\Outlook\Addins
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Outlook\Addins

Close Outlook and try to start it in the normal mode. If this solution helped, turn on the add-ins sequentially and restart the Outlook until you find a problem extension.

Reset Navigation Pane

Sometimes Outlook cannot start due to the corrupted Navigation Pane profile. To start Outlook with an empty Navigation Pane settings, you can delete file Outlook.xml in the folder %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook.

Or use the following command:

outlook.exe /resetnavpane

Corrupted PST file

If during the Outlook start you receive error Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window. The set of folders cannot be opened. An unexpected error has occurred – most likely, your PST file with mail items is damaged.

cannot open your default email folders outlook

You can try to recover it using built-in tool Scanpst.exe. You can find this utility in one of the following folders:

  • x64 Office – C:\Program Files \Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  • x86 Office – C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16

Kill outlook.exe process (and other processes that use the pst file) and run Scanpst.exe. Select your pst file with Browse button (by default you can find pst files in the folder C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\).

Now it remains to press Start and the program will start checking.

When scanning is complete, Scanpst will show the result of scanning. We just have to click the Restore button.

Because this utility can only scan one file, this procedure must be done for each file separately.

After that, you can start Outlook.

If all the above methods didn’t help you, try to create and configure a new Outlook profile (Control Panel -> Mail item -> Add) and reconnect your PST files.

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