Expert Solutions to Fix Corrupt XML Files in Outlook

Summary: Outlook is a popular email client, used to manage personal information provided by Microsoft. Like any popular thing, you will start to encounter issues. We are taking one of the issues, Invalid XML in Outlook. So, if you want to know about it, please go through this article.

Content Table:

What Invalid XML in Outlook Means?

When the Outlook.xml file corrupts and you try to open Outlook, you’ll get the error message: “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window. Invalid XML, the view cannot be loaded.”

An invalid XML indicates that there is a problem with Outlook.xml, the file store navigation pane setting for an Outlook user profile. This file loads the configuration settings of the navigation pane, which help the user to shift between Outlook functions such as Mail, Calendar, Task, and other.

Reasons for Invalid XML in Outlook

The are many reasons that cause the Outlook invalid XML issue. Below we have discussed some of the common reasons:

  • Corruption in XML file.
  • Issues with navigation pane setting.
  • Open Outlook in compatibility mode.
  • Outdated Outlook application.
  • Corrupted Outlook data file.

How to Fix Invalid XML in Outlook?

We’ve already delved into what invalid XML in Outlook means and the reasons behind it. Now, it’s time to explore solutions. There are numerous methods available online to address this issue. We’ve handpicked some of the most promising ones and evaluated them for you. You’ll find these solutions outlined below.

Method 1: Reset Navigation Pane

Since the issue is related to navigation pane settings, we can try and reset navigation pane settings. This can either fix the issue or conform to a corruption in the Outlook.xml file. So, follow the steps below,

  • Press Windows + R keys to open Run
  • Type exe /resetnavpane and press Enter.

Run dialogue box - Outlook Reset Nav Pane

  • Wait for the Outlook application to open.

Note: Please backup the Outlook.xml file, to use if this method fixes the issue.

Method 2: Delete Outlook XML File

Having attempted the navigation pane reset, you’ve likely either resolved the issue or discovered a corrupted Outlook.xml file. If it’s the latter, the solution is to delete the file. Upon attempting to open the Outlook application post-deletion, a new XML file with default settings will be automatically generated. The following steps will guide you through the process of deleting the file:

  • Press Windows + R keys and type: %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook and press Enter.

Run dialogue box - Open XML file location

  • You will see the folder where the XML is stored.
  • Find the file and right click on it and click on Delete.

File explorer - Delete Outlook.xml

  • Now open the Outlook application.

Method 3: Disable Compatibility Mode

Compatibility mode is a troubleshooting method used to fix other Outlook issues. This can conflict with the navigation pane and cause the issue of Outlook invalid XML. You can disable the mode and be done with it. Follow the steps to disable compatibility mode,

  • In the search on the taskbar, type exe and click on Open file location.

Search Outlook.exe

  • Right-click on the exe file and select Properties.

File explorer - Properties of Outlook.exe

  • In the Properties window, click on Compatibility
  • Remove the Check mark from the Run this program in compatibility mode
  • Click on Apply then OK.
  • Now try and open the Outlook application.

Method 4: Update Outlook

An older version of the application can cause wide verities of issues on Outlook. So, an invalid XML in Outlook also occurs. Update the Outlook application by following the instructions below,

Update Microsoft Suite from Word

  • Open any of the Office applications such as Word, Excel, and others.
  • Go to File -> Account.
  • Click on Update Options and select Update Now.
  • Once the process is complete, restart the Outlook application.

Method 5: Repair Using Inbox Repair Tool

If you’ve tried all other solutions and are still facing issues, it’s possible that the problem lies in a corrupted Outlook data file. A corrupt data file can cause a multitude of issues in Outlook. Fortunately, Microsoft has provided a tool to address data file problems, known as ScanPST. You can locate this tool at the following location:

  1. Outlook 2019: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  2. Outlook 2016: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  3. Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15
  4. Outlook 2010: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14
  5. Outlook 2007: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12

The steps to follow to repair a corrupted Outlook data file using scanpst.exe are given below,

ScanPST Window

  • Open File Explorer and go to the appropriate location of the ScanPST.
  • Double-click on exe, to open the tool.
  • In the tool, click on Browse and select the Outlook data file.
  • Click on the Start button to begin the scan.
  • If any error is found, click on Repair
  • Restart the Outlook application after the repair completes.

Note: This is a time-consuming process and may need to run a couple of times to resolve the issue completely.

Method 6: Repair Using Professional Repair Tool

Should you require a professional repair tool, or if the scanpst.exe tool doesn’t yield the results you’re seeking, we highly recommend the SFWare PST Repair tool. This tool is designed with user-friendliness in mind and is equipped to handle a wide array of issues associated with Outlook data files. With its robust capabilities and intuitive interface, the SFWare PST Repair tool is a powerful ally in maintaining the health and integrity of your Outlook data. Don’t let data file issues slow you down – let the SFWare PST Repair tool streamline your Outlook experience.

Steps to use SFWare PST Repair software

Download and install the SFWare PST Repair tool to the system and follow the instructions below,

Free Download for Windows

  • Open the software and select the Open PST option from the home screen.

SFWare PST Repair tool - Home Screen

  • Click on Browse and select the corrupt Outlook data file and click on Next.

SFWare PST Repair tool - Select Corrupt PST files

  • Select the scan method and give the location for the repaired file and click on Repair.

Note: You have two scan methods, Normal Scan or Smart Scan.

SFWare PST Repair tool - Select Scanning Method

  • Once the scan process completes you can preview the result.
  • If you are satisfied with the result, then save the file.


This article has explored the issue of invalid XML in Outlook, which typically points to a problem with navigation pane settings that can prevent Outlook from opening. We’ve delved into the causes of this error and provided potential solutions. If you have additional solutions or suggestions, feel free to share them in the comment section below. We’re always looking to expand our knowledge and provide more comprehensive solutions in the future.

Leave a Reply

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