‘Cannot start Microsoft Outlook’ or ‘Cannot open the Outlook window 2016’ is a very common issue that users have to face quite often. To deal with it effectively so you don’t miss out on important emails and can respond on time, we bring to you this guide. It explains all you should know about the ‘Cannot start Microsoft Outlook’ error.’
The ‘Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook’ Error: Main Causes
- Damage Outlook settings file
- Outdated Outlook version.
- Expired profile
- Launching Outlook program in ‘Compatibility Mode’
- A corrupt XML file in the Navigation Settings folder
- Uninstalling and reinstalling Outlook program improperly.
How to Deal With ‘Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook’ Error Message?
This section will walk you through seven easy and effective ways to deal with the system when it cannot start Microsoft Outlook Office 365/ 2007/ 2013/ 2016.
Run a Repair, Office Diagnostics or reinstall Office/Outlook
The following troubleshooting steps will come in handy if you are receiving the ‘Cannot start Microsoft Outlook 2016’ error message due to installation problems. You are required to run a Repair, Office Diagnostics, or reinstall the Office/ Outlook to get rid of this issue.
Note: Although no data files or any application will be deleted in this process, yet it is advised to backup your Outlook data before following the steps mentioned below:
- Apply one of the following steps as per your Windows version
- Go to the ‘Help’ section and select the ‘Detect and Repair’ option.
- Go to the ‘Help’ section and select the ‘Office Diagnostics’ option.
- Select the ‘Add/ Remove Programs’ from the ‘Control Panel’ folder.
- Select the ‘Uninstall a Program’ option from the ‘Control Panel’ folder.
- Start the Windows 10 system and click the ‘Settings’ Apps.
- Select the ‘Microsoft Outlook Office’ program and click right on it.
- Choose the option of ‘Uninstall’ or ‘Remove’.
- Confirm that you want to uninstall the Outlook program by clicking on ‘Yes’.
Wait until the installation process completes and then perform the rest of the steps to reinstall the Outlook program.
- Insert the Office CD or DVD into the CD Drive.
- Double-click on it and start the ‘Setup.exe’.
- Select the ‘Repair or Uninstall Office’ and wait until the Office program is repaired and reinstalled.
After applying the aforementioned steps, your Outlook program will be repaired and reinstalled. Now, restart your system to check if the issue has been fixed. If it still cannot start Outlook, try method 2.
Disable Outlook Add-ins
If you cannot start Outlook or cannot open the Outlook window, fix the issue by following this process. This method includes starting your Outlook in Safe Mode and disabling all your add-ins.
For Outlook 2007
- Start Outlook on your system.
- Navigate towards the ‘Tools’ and click on the ‘Trust Center’ from the given options.
- Select the ‘Add-Ins’ tab and double-click to open it.
For Outlook 365, 2010, 2013, or 2016
- Go to the ‘File’ on the Outlook program.
- Expand the ‘Menu Options’.
- Click on the ‘Add-Ins’ option to open the window.
Follow the rest of the steps irrespective of your Outlook version.
- Locate the ‘Manage’ option and expand its options.
- Select the ‘Type of Add-ins’ and click on the Enable/ Disable option.
- Select the ‘Add-ins’ one by one that you want to delete or disable. You can also check on all the boxes’ and click on the ‘Disable’ button.
- Confirm the choice by clicking on ‘Go’.
- Once the changes are saved, exit from the Outlook window and restart it.
After disabling the Outlook Add-ins, you will not face the ‘Cannot start Microsoft Outlook 2013’ error message while starting Outlook.
Note (s): If some of the Outlook Add-ins are important, enable them one by one until you receive the ‘Cannot start Outlook’ error message again. If you see the same error again, disable the add-in you last enabled and fix the issue.
Recreate Your Outlook Mail Profile
If you are facing a Microsoft Outlook error message due to a damaged Outlook profile, then you must recreate your account. The following steps will teach you recreating an Outlook profile via the Control panel.
Note: After following the steps, transfer your Outlook data files from the damaged profile to the recreated one.
- Go to the ‘File’ on the Outlook program.
- Expand the options and click on the ‘Account Settings’.
- Select the ‘Manage Profiles’ and click on the ‘Add’.
- Avoid clicking on the ‘Copy’ button for saving your Outlook profile from getting corrupted.
- In the next window, provide your Outlook login credentials such as Name, Email Address, and Password and select the option of ‘Configure the account manually’.
- After clicking on the ‘Auto Account Setup’, leave the Outlook server to configure your profile automatically.
- In case the server failed to configure your Outlook profile, go back to the previous step and choose ‘Manual Setup’ and enter the correct Outlook email settings.
- Remember that the Outlook version 365, 2016, and 2019 do not support manual configuration for an Outlook Exchange account.
- Once your settings are determined and configured, your Outlook will be set.
- Now go back to the ‘Outlook Mail Profiles’ and select your newly recreated account.
- Click on your Outlook profile and confirm that it has successfully configured.
After a quick follow up on the aforementioned method, you will not face the ‘Cannot start Microsoft Outlook’ or ‘Cannot open the Outlook window 2016’ error messages.
Outlook Data Files Issue with the ‘Scanpst.exe’ Tool
It is possible that the issues in the Outlook pst file are stopping your Outlook app from starting. Follow the steps mentioned below and use the ‘Scanpst.exe’ to scan and fix the damaged pst files.
To locate the Scanpst.exe tool, you will have to follow the enlisted steps as per your Outlook version:
For Outlook 2007, 2013 & 2016
Click on ‘Program Files’ > Select ‘Microsoft Office\ Office12 > locate the ‘Scanpst.exe’
For Office 365
Click to Run > Go to the C Drive > Select Program Files > Double-click on Microsoft Office > Click on the Root > Select Office 16 > Scanpst.exe.
Once the Scanpst.exe or Inbox Repair Tool is found and open, follow the enlisted steps to complete the scanning and fixing process.
- Under the ‘Enter the Name of the Outlook file you want to scan’ you must select the file. To do so, click on the ‘Browse’ tab to locate and select the ‘Outlook pst file’.
- Navigate towards the lower-middle of the Scanpst.exe window and click on the ‘Start’ button.
The prior steps will start the 8-phase analysis process of your pst file and will take a while. You can see the status of the scanning process on your screen.
- After the completion of pst files analysis, you will see ‘Errors were found in this file’ with its details.
- Click on the box that reads, ‘Make a backup of the scanned file before repairing’ and click on the ‘Repair’ button and wait until the corrupted files are repaired.
Once your Outlook pst files are scanned and repaired, you can restart your device and Outlook as well and start it without the ‘Cannot start Microsoft Outlook invalid XML’ error message.
Start Outlook in Safe Mode
If the error messages such as ‘Cannot start Microsoft Outlook’ are showing repeatedly, you must start the Outlook program in Safe Mode. This method prevents wrong settings, unwanted add-ins from being processed, and eventually fixes several Outlook issues. Below are the steps that will come in handy to start Outlook in Safe mode.
- Start the Windows system and navigate towards the ‘Search Bar’.
- Enter ‘Outlook.exe/safe’ and click on the Enter button.
Once the Outlook program starts in Safe mode, use the program for a while and confirm whether you can still see the ‘Cannot start Microsoft Outlook’ or ‘Cannot open the Outlook window 2016’ error messages.
Reset Outlook Data-Files
In Outlook version 2007 or lower, the program loads several data files and server settings while you start it. In case some of the files or settings get damaged or corrupted, you will see error messages such as ‘Cannot start Outlook’ or ‘Cannot start the reminder service Outlook 2007’. To get rid of it, you can simply follow the enlisted instructions and reset the data files.
- Find the ‘extend.dat’ and ‘outcmd.dat’ files and click right on each of the folders at a time.
- The ‘extend.dat’ file stores the Outlook Exchange clients settings such as Extensions.
- The ‘outcmd.dat’ file stores your Outlook profile’s toolbar customizations.
- From the dropped down options, click on the ‘Rename’ and change the name into ‘extend.old’ and ‘outcmd.old’ respectively.
Once the Outlook data files are renamed, refresh the Outlook and start it with the ‘Cannot start Outlook’ error message.
Repair the Outlook Navigation Pane Settings File
One of the most possible of receiving ‘Cannot start Microsoft Outlook error message’ is your corrupt Outlook Navigation Pane settings file. Follow the steps and repair the damaged files to get rid of this Outlook issue.
- Locate the Navigation Pane settings file by entering the ‘Outlook.exe/resetnavpane’ in the Search Bar.
- Click on the file and start the Outlook program.
- In case the file does not fix this, go back to the ‘Start’ button.
- Click on the Search Bar and enter ‘%appdata%MicrosoftOutlook’ and hit the ‘Enter’ button.
- Here, you will see all the ‘Configuration files’ stored by the Microsoft Outlook profile.
- Search for ‘Outlook XML file’ and once you locate the file, right-click on it to expand the options.
- Click on the ‘Delete’ option and wait until the XML file is removed from the system.
Once the steps are applied as mentioned, the Navigation Pane settings file will either reset or deleted. At last, you can conveniently start Outlook without the ‘Cannot start Microsoft Outlook invalid XML’ error message’.
After going through the manual methods on how to deal with Cannot start Microsoft Outlook error message, you must have fixed the Outlook issue. If you are looking for any further assistance regarding Office.Com/Setup, contact our tech experts and get your Outlook issues resolved in no time.