How to Encounter “Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot Open The Outlook Window” Error?

Are you finding an issue i.e. Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook? If yes, then read this blog.  

In this blog, you will find really working methods to fix the “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook” problem. Also, these methods will help you to have your Outlook up and running again with no errors. These methods work in all versions of Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007 and lower and on all systems.

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Now, let’s see how you can fix and prevent an even worse scenario when you cannot open Outlook. But, firstly we are starting from the cause and symptoms of this error.

Recover your Outlook using Outlook PST Recovery Tool.

What are the symptom and causes behind the “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook” error?

The main symptom of this issue is very obvious and easily recognizable. When you click on Outlook you will find a dialog box appears and is hanging for a while, and then you get the “Cannot start Microsoft outlook. Cannot open the outlook window. The set of folders cannot be opened” error.

Cannot start Microsoft Outlook
  • According to Microsoft, the main cause of this problem is a corrupted Navigation Pane settings file – xyz.xml, where “xyz” is the name of your MS Outlook profile. If the file got corrupted then you will find that its size becomes 0 kb.
  • It may be possible that your Outlook data file (.pst or .ost) was deleted or damaged. 
  • It May happens because of incorrect uninstallation or reinstallation of Outlook.

Also, there is no exact reason behind this error, but all versions of MS Outlook from 2003 to the newest Outlook 2019 may be affected. Anyway, whatever the reason is, the outcome is the same – you cannot open Outlook. Now the question arises How to fix Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook?. And the solutions to this query are listed below.

Note:- You can follow this technical article to learn about the more common Outlook errors and their fixes.

Workarounds to Solve “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook” issue

Now you know reasons what causes “Cannot start Microsoft outlook. Cannot open the outlook window. The set of folders cannot be opened” issue. Therefore, let’s see how one can get them fixed. Below you will find 2 workarounds that fixes the issue.

1.Recover the Navigation Pane configuration file

In most cases it is the corrupted Navigation Pane settings file that restrict Microsoft Outlook from starting successfully, so the first thing you need to do is to recover it. Here’s how you can perform this task:

  • Click the Start button.
  •  In the Start menu, navigate to All Programs > Accessories > Run.
  • After that, Write the “outlook.exe /resetnavpane” command and click OK.

If you find any difficulty and not able to recover the Navigation pane configuration file, then try to delete the XML file that stores the navigation pane settings. To do this, proceed with the following steps:

  • Type the “%appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook” command in the Search field and press Enter.
  • It will open the folder where MS Outlook configuration files are stored. Find and delete the Outlook.xml file.
Cannot start Microsoft Outlook

2. Repair your Outlook data files with the help of Scanpst.exe.

If you have reinstalled Microsoft Outlook and something went wrong during the uninstallation of the previous version. Then default Outlook data file PST might be deleted or damaged, that is why you cannot open Outlook. In this scenario, you are likely to get this error: “Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. The file Outlook.pst is not a personal folders file.”

Now repair your outlook.pst file using Inbox Repair Tool, aka Scanpst.exe. To do so, execute the steps listed below:

  • Start from Opening the Windows Explorer and go to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\{Office version}
  • Here you will find Scanpst.exe in the list. Double click on it.
    Also, you can go through Start and type scanpst.exe in the Search box.
  • After that, you will find a window here click on the Browse button to select your default Outlook.pst file.
  • Now hit the start button. After a few minutes, your file will be repaired.

Hopefully, your file got repaired. Now try to open Microsoft Outlook and check whether the “Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook” issue is solved or not. If not then you should try the solution provided below:

Inbox repair tool is an inbuilt tool to repair PST files. Most of the time it repairs the files. But when the corruption is severe then this tool fails. In such scenarios, you need to use PST File Recovery designed by Mailconvertertools. Even a novice user can use this tool and repair their Outlook PST files. It is the best method to recover and repair Outlook PST files and it overcomes all the limitations of the Inbox Repair Tool.


This technical guide is about how to solve “Cannot start Microsoft outlook. Cannot open the outlook window. The set of folders cannot be opened.” The main reasons behind this error are corruption in navigation pane and corruption in the PST file. We have discussed the solution for both the causes. I hope your issue got solved. If there is any issue regarding any step then feel free to contact.

About The Author:

Amrita Yadav is a content writer in the field of Email Migration, Data Recovery, Email backup, and File Management. I started this writing career two years back. I think the vast range of information in this industry is the reason I am so fascinated to read about the newer techniques and technology.

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