How to Resolve the Issue of “Cannot Open Your Default Email Folders”?

Summary: Outlook is a reliable email client used by millions of people worldwide. But sometimes, you may face some errors that will leave you frustrated. We will discuss one such error cannot open your default email folders. You will learn about the error in detail and fix it with easy steps.

Content Table:

What Causes the Outlook Error – Cannot Open Your Default Email Folders?

If you cannot open your default email folder error, you need to troubleshoot and repair the error. The first step of any troubleshooting is to understand what caused the error. You can find some of the reasons that cause the error below,

  • Your Outlook application is running in compatibility mode.
  • The navigation pane settings file is corrupted.
  • The OST file in your Outlook is corrupted.
  • Some malicious attacks by malware or virus.
  • If you remove files or folders from the Exchange folder.
  • If you install any conflicting third-party Add-ins.

Methods to Repair Cannot Open Your Default Email Folders Error in Outlook.

There are many methods you can follow to repair Microsoft Outlook cannot open your default email folders. But not all of them lead to the best results. That is why we have curated a list with proven solutions for you to follow.

Method 1: Disable Outlook Compatibility Mode

If your Outlook application runs in compatibility mode, then this can cause your Outlook to encounter cannot open default email folders. You can follow the instructions below to turn off compatibility mode,

  • Go to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16.
  • Find and right-click on Outlook.exe.
  • In the list, click on Properties.
  • In the properties window, click on the Compatibility tab.
  • Run this program in compatibility mode for the box.
  • Click on OK and open the Outlook application.

Method 2: Run Outlook in Safe Mode

Safe mode is a helpful troubleshooting method for any Outlook issues. This will run Outlook with default settings. Follow the below steps to load Outlook in safe mode,

  • Press Windows + R keys to open the Run dialogue box.
  • In the text field, type exe /safe and press Enter key.
  • Now select the profile and click on the OK button.

If the error persists, follow the steps below,

  • Click on File in the menu bar, then click on Options.
  • Click on Add-ins in the Outlook Options window.
  • Now select COM Add-ins from the Manage drop-down list.
  • Then click on the Go
  • Uncheck all the Add-ins and click on OK.
  • Now restart the Outlook application

Enable each add-in one at a time to find which Add-in causes the issues.

Method 3: Rebuild the OST Files

A corrupted or damaged OST file is one of the many causes for Outlook cannot open your default email folders. You can rebuild the OST file with the following instruction,

  • Open Control Panel, then find and click on Mail.
  • In the window that opens, click on the Show Profiles button.
  • Choose the profile and click on the Remove button.

  • Then click on Add button to add a new profile.
  • Provide a profile name and click on the OK button.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to create a new profile.
  • Select the new profile as the default profile.
  • Then open the Outlook application.

Once the Outlook application opens, the new OST file will be automatically created.

Method 4: Repair the Corrupt OST Files

If your OST file is severely corrupted, then you might not be able to rebuild the OST file successfully. In such cases, you need to repair a corrupted OST file. You can follow a couple of methods given below.

Steps to Use ScanPST Tool

Microsoft has provided a built-in repair tool called ScanPST to repair any issues in the Outlook data files, such as PST and OST. You can find the scanpst.exe file below locations,

  1. Outlook 2019: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  2. Outlook 2016: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  3. Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15
  4. Outlook 2010: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14
  5. Outlook 2007: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12

You can follow the steps below to use the ScanPST tool to fix corrupt OST files,

  • Go to the location of your exe file location.
  • Find and double-click on the file.
  • In the tool, click the Browse button to open the corrupt OST file.
  • Now click on the Start button to begin the scan.
  • Click on the Repair button if any errors are found.

Note: Using the ScanPST tool is a time-consuming process. Patience is the virtue of using this method.

Steps to Use SFWare PST Repair Tool

The other method to repair your corrupt OST file is to use purpose-built software. We recommend you use the SFWare PST Repair tool, a user-friendly software that can deal with various issues in Outlook data files, like PST and OST. Follow the instructions below to repair the corrupt OST file,

  • Download and install the SFWare PST Repair tool to your system.

Free Download for Windows

  • Launch the software and click on the Open PST File button.

  • Now click the Browse button to choose the corrupt file and click the Next button.

  • Then select the scan method and click the Browse button to select a location to save the repaired file.

  • Finally, click on Repair to start the scan and repair process.
  • You can view the result in an Outlook-styled window.
  • Preview the result and save it if it is satisfactory.


The “Cannot open your default email folders” error is a frustrating issue to face. But that does not mean it is a complex issue to solve. You have gone through the successful solutions to repair the error. If you have faced the case, let us know your experiences and how helpful these methods are in the comments.

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