outlook safe mode cover

How to Start Outlook in Safe Mode?


Microsoft Office applications (like Windows OS), have a special launch mode – Safe mode, which allows to run the desired application in a minimal configuration when it stops running in normal mode.

So, if you start Outlook and there are some critical errors occurred (they prevent its normal launch), Outlook will automatically start in a Safe mode. When you start Microsoft Office in a safe mode, it runs without any add-ins and extensions. In this mode you can’t save template settings, preferences and new tags, also you can’t perform any ribbon customization or create/open documents with restricted permissions.

When working in Safe Mode, you can disable any additional or third-parties extension that preventing normal Outlook functionality (File -> Add-ins -> COM Add-ins -> Go -> Clear all COM add-in checkboxes).

start outlook safe mode

Note. Before you start Outlook in safe mode, you must close it and verify with the Task Manager that the outlook.exe process is not running.

How to Start Microsoft Outlook in Safe Mode?

There are 3 ways to manually start Outlook in Safe mode:

  • Using Ctrl key;
  • Run outlook.exe with a /safe parameter;
  • Using special Shortcut;

Start Outlook in Safe Mode Using CTRL Key

This method is faster and easier and works with all versions of Windows and Outlook.
Locate the shortcut to the Outlook email client on the Desktop or in the Taskbar, hold down the CTRL key on the keyboard and double-click on the shortcut.

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A message should appear with the text:

You’re holding down the CTRL key. Do you want to start Outlook in safe mode?

outlook safe mode

Click Yes to confirm that Outlook runs in Safe mode.

The fact that Outlook is running in Safe mode is indicated by the text in the title bar Microsoft Outlook (Safe Mode).

microsoft outlook afe mode

Start Outlook in Safe Mode With the /safe Option

You can run Outlook Safe mode via command with a special parameter. This method is convenient: there is no need to search for an application shortcut.

Click the Win button (in Windows 10) or hold Win + R (in all versions of Windows) and in newly appeared window that appears, run the command:

Outlook.exe /safe

run outlook safe mode

Now press Enter or OK button and Outlook should start in a safe mode.

Create a Shortcut

To start Outlook in safe mode, you can create a new shortcut to the outlook.exe file and specify the /safe option:

  1. Right click on the Desktop -> New -> Shortcut;
  2. Specify the path to the folder with exe.

By-default you can use one of the following paths for Office installation:

  • For x86 version of Windows:
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office<version_number>
  • For x64 version of Windows:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office< version_number>

In the input field enter the following line (in this case we use Windows 10 x64 and Outlook 2016 x86).

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16\outlook.exe" /safe

outlook safe mode shortcut

There are additional keys to run application in a safe mode in Outlook 2007/2010:

  • /safe:1 – Start Outlook with the reading area turned off;
  • /safe:2 – Start Outlook without checking mail at startup;
  • /safe:3 – Start Outlook with client extensions disabled (ECE). Add-ins for the COM model are disabled;
  • /safe:4 – Run Outlook without loading the outcmd.dat file (contains information about customized toolbars).
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If Outlook does not start even in the Safe mode, you should try to re-install Office.

Tip. There is a reverse situation. In some cases MS Outlook 2010 constantly starts only in a safe mode. In this case, it’s recommended to create a key that prohibits the use of a safe mode. To do this follow the steps below:

  1. Open regedit.exe and go to the branch HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\Security\
  2. Create DWORD key with the name DisableSafeMode and value 1