How to Fix the Error Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook Set Of Folders Cannot Be Opened?

🕔 9 minutes read
Written By
Updated On


Is your Microsoft Outlook having trouble opening or displaying an error “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window. The set of folders cannot be opened.”? This article describes all the effective solutions that helps you fix the problem cannot start the Outlook.

Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook

Table of contents:

What does set of folders cannot be opened in Outlook?

Indications of Microsoft Outlook cannot start

Fix Cannot start Microsoft Outlook the set of folders Cannot be opened

How to fix corrupt  PST file that leads to Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook

What does it mean when Outlook says the set of folders Cannot be opened?

The main cause of the error cannot start Microsoft Outlook is corruption in xml file in Navigation Pane settings. The Navigation Pane is present on the left side of the Outlook window and helps in switching between different areas of Outlook such as mail, contacts, calendar, tasks and notes. In addition, it also displays the folders when working within a view.

Other causes that lead to Cannot start Microsoft Outlook are:

  • Damaged or corrupt Outlook data files (PST or OST files)
  • Using Outlook in compatibility mode can also lead to the error
  • Improper re-installation and un-installation can cause problem in Outlook

Indications of your Microsoft Outlook Cannot start

When you click on Outlook icon, Outlook takes long time to respond and displays an error “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook”.

Another instance might be when navigation pane settings file -profilename.xml is corrupted, where “profile name” is the name of your Outlook profile. If the file is corrupted, the file size is shown as 0 kb. The corruption in the xml file can be observed in any outlook versions including Outlook 2019.

Based on the versions of Outlook you use, you might encounter unlike errors.

Error 1: Microsoft outlook has encountered a problem and need to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.
Unable to open MS Outlook

Error 2: Cannot open your default email folders. The information store could not be opened. Incorrect Outlook profile settings or corrupted Outlook profile.
Set of folders cannot be opened on Outlook

Error 3: Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. cannot start Microsoft Outlook invalid XML, the view cannot be loaded.

Invalid xml Microsoft Outlook cannot be opened

How do you fix Cannot start Microsoft Outlook the set of folders Cannot be opened?

The methods used to fix the error cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Set of folders cannot be opened. are listed below. The fixing methods can be used on all Outlook versions including the latest Outlook for Microsoft 365 Outlook 2021 Outlook 2019 Outlook 2016 Outlook 2013.

Turn off the Compatibility Mode

Start Outlook in safe mode

Recover navigation pane setting file

Repair Outlook using Inbox repair tool

Create new Outlook profile and import the old data

Method 1: Turn off Compatibility mode

As mentioned earlier, if Outlook is being used in compatibility mode, the trouble of Outlook cannot be opened cannot be stopped. Therefore, turn off the compatibility mode and verify if the solutions worked.

  1. Type “exe” in search box >> right click on Outlook.exe >> Select Properties
  2. A dialog box will open, click on the Compatibility
  3. Uncheck the option Run this program in compatibility for. Click on OK for confirming the actions.

Try opening the Outlook now and check if it was bale to open without displaying any error.

Method 2: Open Outlook in Safe Mode

Advantage of opening Outlook in safe mode is that Outlook starts without loading the add-ins. Therefore, if the trouble is due to faulty add-ins, this method can fix the issue. To run Outlook in the safe mode, follow this process:

  1. Type exe /safe in search box >> Enter
  2. A message user wants to start outlook in safe mode will appear. Click Yes.

Or can make use of outlook.exe

  1. Right click on exe /safeClick on Open

Note: While processing if it asks for account credentials, enter your password and choose “Accept.”

If Outlook works without receiving an error cannot open Microsoft Outlook in the safe mode, its understood that there is a problem with the add-ins. If you again encounter the issue while starting Outlook. You need to disable the add-ins.

Disable faulty add-ins

  1. Open Outlook, File >> Option >> add-ins
  2. Select COM Add-ins in the Manage box, at the bottom of the window. Hit on Go button
  3. List of the Add-ins working with Outlook is displayed. Deselect all of them and click OK

Now restart the Outlook. If you still face the problem of Microsoft Windows not opening, try out other methods given below.

Method 3: Recover Old Navigation Pane Settings

If the trouble is due to corruption in navigation pane setting file, recovering the setting will help you fix the error.

  1. Go to Start menu >> Run Command >> Type exe /resetnavpane
  2. Enter OK >> Restart Computer

Automatically Outlook opens, check for the error cannot start Microsoft Outlook is displayed or not. If you encounter the error again try deleting XML file that stores the navigation pane settings by executing below steps:

  1. Enter %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook in search field on Windows
  2. Select Outlook >> Find and delete the xml file

If this method does not work for you, then search PST and select restore previous versions.

Restoring Previous PST file version

Previous versions are copies of files and folders created by Windows Backup that Windows automatically saves as part of a restore point.

  1. Type exe in Windows search filed
  2. Right click on exe >> Click on Restore previous versions

This method only works if you have created a Restore point. If you have no backup created, then restoring previous version won’t be helpful. All you can do is Repair Outlook data file with the help of an inbox repair tool.

Method 4: Use Inbox Repair Tool to Fix unable to open MS Outlook

Scanpst.exe or inbox repair tool is used to analyse and recognize problems in PST files. ScanPST only looks at the personal folder files to determine whether data has been corrupted.

Locate and run inbox repair tool. Next, Browse or provide folder path where the PST file is saved.

Folder path- C:\Program Files (x86) \Microsoft Office\root\Office19

Quick Note: The above path applies to Office 2019 and Office 365. If you’re using Outlook 2016, use the path: C:\Program Files (x86) \Microsoft Office\Office16. In case of running an older version of the application, change Outlook versions.

Inbox repair tool

  1. Close the Outlook application if its currently open and double click to launch it
  2. Click on the Browse button to go to the folder path where the PST file is saved
  3. Click Start to initiate the scan process and repair Outlook PST file
  4. Finally, click on the Repair button to fix the issue Microsoft Outlook doesn’t start.

If the problem is associated with corrupt PST file, this method should be able to fix it. However, the tool has few shortcomings.

The main disadvantage of Scanpst.exe is that it works on the original copy of PST file, therefore the chances of damaging the PST file is high than repairing it. Hence it is recommended to make use of a safe and secure Outlook PST Repair tool for fixing the corruption on PST file and fix cannot start Microsoft Outlook by repairing the Outlook PST file.

Method 5: Create a new Outlook Profile and import the data

If none of the above methods worked for you, try creating a new profile in Outlook. You no need to worry about the data, you can easily import the Outlook data from the old profile to newly created profile.

  1. Go to Setting>> Control Panel >> Mail >> Data Files >> Add and create the profile
  2. Now, keep the new profile as default profile. To make it default, once the profile is added, set to default option is enabled. Go to Account setting >> data files >> select your profile and set as default
  3. Once you create the profile, verify if the outlook cannot start problem exists or not. If your profile is free from error, import your old data to the new profile.
  4. Go to the File option and click on Open >> Import. Choose Import from another program or file >> Next
  5. Now, select Outlook Data File (.pst) >> Next >> Browse >> select your old .pst file >> Next >> Finish

This method should help you fix the error and get your old data from previous profile. What if you still encounter the error due to severe corruption in Outlook Data Files? Do not worry, we got your back.

SFWare PST Repair Tool is a tool that fixes severe corruption on PST files. Also, it works on the copy of the data files, therefore, the data remains intact. Along with repairing the file, the tool recovers all the attributes attached with Outlook like emails, calendars and more. Download the software now and fix the PST file issue in a minute.

Free Download for Windows

How to fix corruption in PST file that leads to Cannot Start Microsoft Outlook?

To fix the corruption on PST file that makes your Outlook unable to start, download the SFWare PST repair tool, and launch the application.

Step 1: The main screen displays three options, select the one as per need:

Open PST File: If you know the path to open PST file, select the option

Find PST File: If you are not aware of PST file, the tool easily finds that for you

Select Outlook Profile: Select the profile in which you need to repair the Outlook files.

first step to use PST repair tool
Step 2: Select Normal Scan or Smart Scan from the next screen.

Normal Scan: This scan is suitable for repairing minor corruptions in PST file.

Smart Scan: If you want to repair severely corrupted PST file, click on Smart Scan.
Select PST File to Repair

Step 3: Click on Repair option to fix cannot start Microsoft Outlook error
End Screen

After completion of the repair process, you can preview the repaired PST file in Outlook styled browser. Give the desired location to save repaired PST file.


Most of the Outlook errors including cannot start Microsoft Outlook is due to some minor technical issues which can easily fixed with help of above-mentioned manual solutions. However, if the issue leads to damaging or corrupting your PST file, it is recommended to make use of SFWare PST repair tool to easily fix all the issues with the damaged or corrupted PST file.


Related Posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *