How to Fix “Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook” Error [3 Easy Methods]

Despite its several user-friendly features and functionalities, sometimes Outlook can freeze. It can even stop responding when you will open this application and will notify you with “cannot start Microsoft outlook” popup message. 

This message can popup for several reasons. The Corrupted Navigation pane settings file can be a reason. If the data files of Outlook get corrupted somehow, then also this error can be triggered. It can even fail to open for a corrupted Microsoft profile. 

Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook: Fixes to Try

In this section, we are going to guide you with the most useful methods to fix the error. Go through and apply them one by one to fix this error quickly and completely.

Method 1: Reset the Navigation Pane

The corrupted Navigation pane Settings file is one of the main causes for this error. The corrupted file prevents Microsoft Outlook to open successfully. So, we would recommend you to reset the navigation pane settings file to put an end to the error.

But resetting the navigation varies from one operating system to the other. So here, we will guide you on how to reset it in Window Vista, 7 or 8 and Windows 10. 

Windows Vista

If you are a Windows Vista user, you need to perform the following steps to recover the navigation pane settings file:

  • Go to the Start button. In the Start Search box, write “outlook.exe / resetnavpane”.

Note: Don’t forget to give a space between “outlook.exe and /resetnavpane”.

  • Hit the “Enter” button now to open the Navigation Pane Settings.

Windows 7 or 8 and 10

  • Go to the Start Menu. Now, tap on the” All Programs” section. 
  • From there, click on the “Accessories” option. Then go to the “Run” option.
  • In the Run Dialog box, write “outlook.exe /resetnavpane”. Hit the “Enter” button next. 

Note: Or, you can simply hold on the Windows and R key together to open the Run dialog box, then write the following command. Hit the Enter button next. 

If the Outlook opens normally after running the command, this indicates that you have fixed the error. But if not, then we would suggest you go to the next method.

How to Delete the Navigation pane settings file

In some cases, you might not be able to reset the Navigation Pane Configuration File. In that case, you can delete the navigation pane file to get rid of this Outlook error. 

Here, we will guide you on how to delete the navigation file in Windows 7, 8 and 10. The steps are quite similar for the different versions of the operating systems. 

  • Go to the Start button. Hold the Windows and R key together to open the “Run” dialog box. 
  • Hit the Enter button next. In the Dialog box write “%appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook”. Click on the “Ok” button.
  • This will open the Folder that is stored in the Navigation pane. 
  • Search for the “Outlook.xml” file and right-click on it.
  • From the drop-down menu, tap on the Delete option to remove it. 

Note: First try to recover the navigation pane setting. If it doesn’t work, then only consider deleting the files to fix the error. 

Method 2: Make a New Outlook Profile

The Outlook profile keeps all the settings of the MS Outlook. Sometimes, if the Outlook profile is corrupted, then this particular error can get triggered. As a result, Outlook will refuse to start. 

If this is the matter, then you need to delete the corrupted Outlook profile. Create a new Outlook profile so that you won’t face this error in the future. 

How to Delete the Outlook Profile

To create an outlook profile, you need to first remove the old outlook profile. To delete the old Outlook profile, you need to perform the following steps:

  • Open Outlook. Then, go to the “File” Section. 
  • Now, tap on “Account Settings’ and then click on the ‘Manage Profiles” option.
  • Now, choose the “Show Profiles” option. Then choose the profile that you want to remove.
  • Right-click on it and then choose the “Remove” option from the drop-down menu. 

Note: You can also remove it by writing “outlook.exe /manage profiles” in the Start Search box. 

If you are done with removing the old profile, now create a new profile in Outlook. To create a new profile, you need to follow the next section.

How to Create a New Outlook Profile

Creating a new Outlook profile can help you to fix the error. Follow the steps below for doing so.

  • Click the Start Button. Write ‘Control Panel” in the Start Search box. 
  • Now, from the search result, tap on “Control Panel”.
  • Go to Control Panel and then select “Mail (MS Outlook 2016)”
  • Choose the “Show Profiles” option. A new Wizard will display on the screen next.
  • Now, tap on the “Add” button. Give a name to the profile file and then go to the “Auto Account Setup” window. 
  • Provide the details regarding your email account to create a new profile.
  • Once you are done with creating a new profile, it will display in the “General” tab.
  • Choose the profile that you have created in the “When starting Outlook, use this profile”
  • Then tap on the “Always use this profile” option. Click on the “OK” button next. 

After choosing the new profile, you can now try to open the Microsoft Outlook. If it opens in just one try, that indicates that you have fixed the error. But if you are still unable to open the Outlook, we would recommend you follow the next fix. 

Method 3: Start Outlook in Safe Mode

Starting Outlook in safe mode will help you to run the application without any add-ins. It is the easiest way to detect if the add-ins Outlook is unable to open and is causing the error. 

Here, we will guide you on how to start Outlook in Safe mode. To enter into Safe mode, follow these steps:

  • Hold the Windows and R key together to open the Run dialog box.
  • Now, in the dialog box, write “Outlook/safe”. Hit the Enter button next.
  • You will see a “Choose Profile” dialog box next. Tap on the “OK” button. 

Note: If you are prompted to provide the password, select “Accept”. 

Now, try to open Outlook enabling the Safe mode. If not opened successfully, this indicates that the main reason behind the error is the add-ins. 

How to disable the add-ins

If Outlook does not work fine, then you have to disable the add-ins. Follow these steps:

  • Go to the “File” section and then to “Options.” 
  • Now, click on “Add-ins”. Choose the “COMAdd-ins” from the “Manage Box”
  • Click on the “Go” button now. You will see a list of Add-ins that are associated with Outlook. 
  • Deselect all the add-ins from the “Add-ins available” section. Tap on the “OK” button next. 

Now, restart the device and open Outlook. If you can successfully open Outlook, this means you have fixed the error. 

These were the ultimate solutions to the “cannot start Microsoft Outlook” error. 

Sometimes, this error is encountered even due to malware attacks. So, we would suggest you run an Antivirus software to protect the device.