How to Open Outlook in Safe Mode

Start Outlook in safe mode to troubleshoot startup problems

Use Outlook in safe mode if Outlook won't open properly or if you can't open some of your Outlook windows. You should also try safe mode if the settings freeze when you make changes, you suspect that a recently installed extension contains malware, or features or windows behave oddly.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook for Microsoft 365 and Outlook 2019–2010.

Can You Use Outlook in Safe Mode?

Even if you've been having problems with Outlook, it opens normally in safe mode because it starts without extensions or custom toolbar settings and disables the Reading Pane. These items are common sources of problems, so, after using safe mode, investigate those parts of the program to see what's preventing it from opening correctly.

Opening Outlook in safe mode doesn't involve using Windows Safe Mode; the two aren't the same. You can boot Windows in Safe Mode and then open Outlook, but this operation doesn't start Outlook in safe mode.

How to Start Outlook in Safe Mode Using the Outlook Shortcut

To open Outlook in safe mode, press and hold the Ctrl key, then select the Outlook shortcut. In the warning dialog box that appears, confirm that you want to open Outlook in safe mode by selecting Yes.

Screenshot of the outlook safe mode confirmation

Open Outlook in Safe Mode From the Command Line

Another way to open Outlook in safe mode is to use the command prompt:

  1. Press the keyboard shortcut Win+R to open the Run dialog box. Or, type run in the Windows Search box and press Enter.

    Screenshot of the Run dialog in Windows 10
  2. In the Run dialog box, enter this command then select OK:

    outlook.exe /safe
    Screenshot of the outlook safe mode command in the Windows 10 run box
  3. In the Choose Profile window, select the default Outlook option and choose OK to open that profile.

    Outlook Choose Profile prompt in Windows 10
  4. Outlook should now start in safe mode.

How to Create an Outlook Safe Mode Shortcut

If you want to create a fast way to open Outlook in safe mode without going through these steps again, make an Outlook safe mode shortcut.

  1. Right-click or tap-and-hold a blank area on the desktop.

  2. Select New > Shortcut.

    Screenshot of the new shortcut menu in Windows 10
  3. Type the full path to Outlook.exe, type /safe at the end of the path, then select Next.

    See the example in the "Command Prompt Method" section below if you need help finding the file path.

    Screenshot of the safe suffix at the end of an outlook shortcut in Windows 10
  4. Enter a descriptive name for the shortcut, for example, Outlook Safe Mode.

    Screenshot of the create shortcut name box in Windows 10
  5. Select Finish to make the shortcut to Outlook in safe mode and exit that window.

You can tell if Outlook is running in safe mode if the title of the program says (Safe Mode).

To disable safe mode in Outlook, double-click or double-tap the regular Outlook shortcut you always use. Safe mode isn't enabled unless you use one of the methods described on this page.

Command Prompt Method

You need to know the full path to the Outlook.exe file before you can start Outlook in safe mode using Command Prompt. The path of the file depends on the version of Outlook and whether it’s the 32-bit or 64-bit edition.

If you don't know what to type in Command Prompt, see the next section below. Otherwise, open Command Prompt and type the following command, replacing this path with the one to your Outlook.exe file:

“C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16\OUTLOOK.EXE” /safe
Screenshot of Command Prompt with the outlook safe mode path

After you make the necessary changes in Outlook, close the program and reopen it with the normal shortcut you use to open Outlook. As long as you don't open it with one of the methods described above, it will always start normally (not in safe mode).

In some instances, like when deleting add-ins in safe mode, run Outlook as an administrator by launching the above command in an elevated Command Prompt.

Outlook.exe Location

There are a couple of ways to find where Outlook.exe is stored. The easiest is to copy the command as you see it below and paste it into Command Prompt. You need to know which version of Outlook you have for this to work.

If you use this method, instead of typing the commands manually, highlight the text below, and copy it. Go to Command Prompt, right-click the black screen, and choose Paste. Press Enter to execute the command.

Another way that doesn't require you to know which version of Outlook is installed is to search your computer for outlook.exe. You can do that with the built-in search tool in Windows or with a third-party program like Everything.

Do not include any of the bold text or leading spaces when you copy these commands. Copy and paste from the first double-quotes (including the quotes) all the way to /safe.

Outlook for Microsoft 365, Outlook 2019, and Outlook 2016

  • 32-bit: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16\outlook.exe" /safe
  • 32-bit (alternative): "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16\outlook.exe" /safe
  • 64-bit: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16\outlook.exe" /safe
  • Click-to-Run 32-bit: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office 16\ClientX86\Root\Office16\outlook.exe" /safe
  • Click-to-Run 64-bit: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 16\ClientX64\Root\Office16\outlook.exe" /safe

Outlook 2013

  • 32-bit: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15\outlook.exe" /safe
  • 64-bit: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15\outlook.exe" /safe
  • Click-to-Run 32-bit: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office 15\ClientX86\Root\Office15\outlook.exe" /safe
  • Click-to-Run 64-bit: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\ClientX64\Root\Office15\outlook.exe" /safe

Outlook 2010

  • 32-bit: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\outlook.exe" /safe
  • 64-bit: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\outlook.exe" /safe
  • Click-to-Run 32-bit: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\outlook.exe" /safe
  • Click-to-Run 64-bit: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\outlook.exe" /safe
Was this page helpful?