Cannot start Microsoft Outlook, Cannot open the Outlook window

When it comes to managing emails, Outlook is the best companion a Windows user prefers. Outlook as a part of Microsoft Office has lots of features as compared to other email programs. However, in some situations, if Outlook gets misconfigured, it won’t start. Today, we’ll discuss one such issue, where we came around following error message, where Outlook simply refuses to start:

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

Cannot start Microsoft Outlook, Cannot open the Outlook window

Trying to start Microsoft Outlook can be quite a task if you keep getting the following message Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window. The set of folders cannot be opened.

There’s no known cause as to why this problem occurs in Microsoft Outlook. However, the primary reason that can be attributed to the appearance of this error is either corrupt Outlook PST file or corrupt Navigation Pane settings file – myprofile.XML, where ‘myprofile’ is Outlook profile name. How do you find if your Outlook file is probably corrupt? Simple, the file in question shows 0 KB size.

Cannot start Microsoft Outlook

Upon receiving this strange error, you might try to restart your system and check if the issue fixes itself. You can also try to run Outlook in compatibility mode and see if this helps. If you are already running it in Compatibility Mode, turn it off and see. For some users, it may resolve itself, while for others, a fix is needed to be applied. Here are the ways, which could help you to get rid of this issue:

1] Turn off Compatibility mode in Outlook

Check if Outlook is running in compatibility mode. Compatibility mode in Microsoft Outlook is designed to help a program run on an older operating system. If Outlook is running in compatibility mode, you can turn it off and see if it fixes the problem.

Find the Outlook.exe file on your computer.

If you are running the latest version of Office software, you will find it here

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16

or at

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16

When found, right-click the Outlook.exe file, select Properties option, and then choose the Compatibility tab.

If any of the boxes on the Compatibility tab are checked, uncheck them, then choose ‘Apply’ > OK.

Restart Outlook. The problem should get resolved.

2] Reset the Outlook navigation pane

Press Windows Key + R and type following into the Run box, hit Enter key then:

Outlook.exe /resetnavpane


When you hit Enter key, Outlook will be started with resetting the profile settings.  Running this command will clear and regenerate the navigation pane for the current Outlook profile. This should fix for you, else try the next fix.

3] Create a new Outlook profile

Open Control Panel. Type mail in the search box and hit Enter.


Click on the Mail icon which appears. In the Mail Setup – Outlook window, click Show Profiles option.


In the Mail window, Add your new profile. Then choose Always use this profile and select your newly added profile from drop down.

Click Apply followed by OK.


You can now restart your Windows PC and check if you can now open Outlook.

Good luck!

More on Outlook troubleshooting:

  1. Fix Outlook problems like freezing, corrupt PST, Profile, Add-in, etc.
  2. Not Implemented error in Outlook
  3. Microsoft Outlook stuck on Loading Profile
  4. Reconnect Outlook to for uninterrupted email access
  5. Troubleshoot issues after reconnecting Microsoft Outlook client to
  6. Microsoft Outlook Encountered A Problem And Needs To Close
  7. The operation failed, An object cannot be found
  8. Email in Outlook not syncing
  9. Outlook is not responding, has stopped working, freezes or hangs
  10. Unable to access PST File or start Outlook after upgrading to Windows 10.
Posted by on , in Category Office with Tags
An Electrical Engineer by profession, Kapil is a Microsoft MVP and a Microsoft Content Creator. Please read the entire post & the comments first & create a system restore point before making any changes to your system.


  1. Debby Hanoka

    May I also suggest, before running “outlook.exe /resetnavpane” to run scanpst.exe on your Outlook file (*.PST), clicking “repair” each time, and following the necessary prompts to complete the action. Do that as many times as needed until the Outlook file does not need to be repaired. I have found this to be a very simple fix for my Outlook problems, and also a first course of action before trying other problem solving methods.

    If that does not help start Outlook, then Kapil’s steps in this article (see above ^^^) are the next course of action.

    Thank you.

    Debby Hanoka

  2. ^^ Thanks Debby! Of course running “outlook.exe /resetnavpane” is helpful for Outlook users in many scenarios and we hope it helps users in this case too 🙂

  3. Azus Smith

    Quite useful for troubleshooting error “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. The operation failed”. It seems very beneficial for Outlook users.

    ScanPST.exe is another alternative if problem exists after rectifying settings. I found an useful resource at:

  4. Frederic Marchand

    Worked for me thank you

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