Common MS Outlook Errors & its Solutions

Nimisha Ramesh | Modified: 2017-11-22T06:55:34+05:30 | Fix Errors|

MS Outlook is the commonly used platform for emailing purpose by many organizations as it provides several superior features that other email client does not provide. However, most of the Outlook users face some common problems like “Cannot start Outlook”, “Cannot open the Outlook Window. The set folders cannot be opened” & “The information store could not be opened” when there are issues in the file related to Outlook profile. The blog will be discussing the same error, its causes, and its possible solutions to overcome the error.

Causes of Outlook Error

Cannot start Outlook error appears when user clicks on Outlook’s icon and try to login an Outlook profile. The error is displayed like the one given below.


Likewise errors like “Cannot open the Outlook Window. The set folders cannot be opened” & “The information store could not be opened” occurs while launching the Outlook. These errors are shown when the file is damaged or Outlook.ost has reached maximum size.


"Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window. The set of folders cannot be opened. 
The information store could not be opened."



"Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window. The set of folders cannot be opened. 
You must connect to Microsoft Exchange with the current profile before you can synchronize your 
folders with your Outlook data file (.ost)".



The main cause of “Set of folders cannot be opened” error according to Microsoft is a corrupted Navigation Pane settings file- name.xml where name is the profile name of the Outlook. We know that this file is corrupted if the file size is 0 KB. Though the exact reason of file corruption is not known, almost all the versions of MS Outlook may be affected. Other possible reasons may be:

  • When user run Outlook in the compatibility mode
  • Use of old profile created on older Outlook version
  • Improper uninstallation or reinstallation of Outlook
  • Damaged or deleted Outlook data file

Fixing “Cannot Start Outlook” Error

After discussing the causes of Outlook start up errors, we will now learn on how to fix “Cannot open the Outlook Window. The set folders cannot be opened” error with the help of some solutions stated below:


Recover Navigation Pane Settings File

The main cause that prevents Outlook from starting successfully is the corrupted navigation pane settings file. In order to fix this, we need to recover the corrupted file by following the steps:

  • Click on start button and type “Outlook.exe /resetnavpane”
  • Click Enter or select the file and open Outlook

If user could not recover the navigation pane settings file by the above way, we will delete the XML file that contains navigation pane settings by the steps followed:

  • Start Menu and type “%appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook”
  • Folder containing MS Outlook configuration files will be opened
  • Search and Delete the Outlook XML file
  • Delete the navigation file only when Recover option does not work.

Repair Outlook data file

Outlook data file may be damaged due to improper uninstallation of previous Outlook version, which is why Outlook would not open. Error like this may appear “Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. The file Outlook.pst is not a personal folder’s file.” we can repair using scanpst.exe, which is the Inbox repair tool by following the steps below:

  • Open Windows Explorer and go to C:\Program files\Microsoft Office\
  • Search exe and double-click on it.
  • Browse to select the desired PST file
  • Repair the damaged PST file

Re-create a new profile and import data from old file

We can create a new Outlook profile if we cannot restore our old file with the procedure below:

  • Go to Control Panel> Mail> Data files> Add to create new profile
  • Select the newly created profile and set it as the default profile
  • Restart Outlook and if it opens with new file, copy the data from old file
  • Import old data using File> Open> Import> Import from another program
  • Select Outlook data file and click on ‘Next’.
  • Click on Finish to complete the import process

Turn Off Outlook Compatibility Mode

The steps to turn off Compatibility mode of Outlook are as follows:

  • Go to start button and typeexe in search field.
  • Right-click on Outlook.exe and go to Properties
  • Choose Compatibility Tab from the Properties Window
  • Clear the compatibility mode on the check box
  • Click OK and restart Outlook
  • If it does not work, search pst & select Restore previous versions

Open Outlook in Safe Mode

In order the start MS Outlook in safe mode, click on its icon holding Ctrl key or Start and type Outlook /safe in search field and Press Enter. Outlook will prompt asking to confirm if user want to start Outlook in safe mode, click yes. Alternatively, we can use outlook.exe /noextensions command. 


In the blog, we have thoroughly studied about the “Cannot start Outlook” error encountered while opening an Outlook Profile. Some of the causes that lead to problems on Outlook startup have been stated. The last part of the blog describes five possible solutions that can help Outlook user fix the same error of MS Outlook.

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