Outlook Won't Open? Try These Fixes

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If you cannot start Microsoft Outlook, getting it back up and running properly might be simpler than you think.

The right fix will depend on what you are experiencing as well as the version of Microsoft Outlook you have installed. Remember, you might see an error message or you might not see anything at all.

These instructions apply to Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013 or 2010 and Outlook for Mac 2016 or Outlook for Mac 2011.

Learn how to troubleshoot (and repair) this issue in Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2016 for Mac and Outlook 2011 for Mac.

Troubleshooting in Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2010

Use the Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant

Use the Support and Recovery Assistant

If you are using Office 365, you can download and use this automated tool to diagnose and fix many issues, even when you cannot start Microsoft Outlook.

  1. Download the Support and Recovery Assistant application from Microsoft.
  2. Run the installation. After it is installed, Support and Recovery Assistant will automatically start.
  3. Agree to accept the license agreement.
  4. Choose Outlook as the program you want help with.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Click Outlook Won't Start and click Next.
  7. Click Yes to confirm you are using the affected computer.
  8. Click Next.
  9. Enter the email address and password you use for Office 365 and click Next.
  10. Wait while the app diagnoses your problem.
  11. Review the results when the assistant is finished.
  12. Follow the prompts and exit the tool if it repairs Outlook.
  13. Check for suggestions of other solutions if the tool is not able to correct the problem.

Disable Add-ins

If you are able to open Outlook in Safe Mode, one or more add-ins could be conflicting with Outlook. Disable all add-ins and see if the issue is resolved.

  1. Start Outlook in Safe Mode.
  2. Click File.
  3. Click Options.
  4. Click Add-ins in the left pane.
  5. Make sure COM Add-ins is selected in the Manage box at the bottom of the Outlook Options window.
  6. Click Go.
  7. Write down or take a screenshot of the list of the add-ins before you disable them.
  8. Clear all of the selected checkboxes in the COM Add-ins list.
  9. Click Remove.
  10. Click File and choose Exit.

Repair Outlook

It's possible your Outlook application is damaged. You can use the built-in Microsoft Office repair utility to fix it.

Repair Outlook 2016, 2013 or 2010 in Windows 10.

  1. Close all Microsoft Office applications.
  2. Type Apps & Features into the Windows search box.
  3. Select Apps & Features.
  4. Find and click on Microsoft Office in the list of installed apps and features.
  5. Click Modify.
  6. Click Yes if a user account control window appears asking, "Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?"
  7. Select Online Repair and click the Repair button.
  8. Restart Outlook when the repair process is complete.

Repair Outlook 2016, 2013 or 2010 in Windows 8.

  1. Close all Microsoft Office applications.
  2. Right-click the Start button.
  3. Select Control Panel.
  4. Make sure Category is selected in the View By list.
  5. Click Uninstall a Program under Programs.
  6. Right-click Microsoft Office and choose Change.
  7. Select Online Repair if it is available (this depends on the type of Microsoft Office you have installed).
  8. Click Repair.
  9. Click Yes if a user account control window appears.
  10. Restart Outlook when the repair process is complete.

Repair Outlook 2016, 2013 or 2010 in Windows 7.

  1. Close all Microsoft Office applications.
  2. Click the Start button.
  3. Select Control Panel.
  4. Make sure Category is selected in the View By list.
  5. Click Uninstall a Program under Programs.
  6. Select Microsoft Office from your list of programs.
  7. Click Change.
  8. Select Online Repair if it is available (this depends on the type of Microsoft Office you have installed).
  9. Click Repair.
  10. Click Yes if a user account control window appears.
  11. Restart Outlook when the repair process is complete.

Create a New Profile 

Create a new Outlook profile

If your Outlook profile is corrupt, it can cause all sorts of problems, such as Outlook not opening. Creating a new profile and setting it up with your email account can solve the problem. You will need to be able to start Outlook in safe mode to perform this procedure.

  1. Click File.
  2. Click Account Settings.
  3. Choose Manage Profiles from the drop-down list.
  4. Click Show Profiles.
  5. Click Add.
  6. Type a name for the new profile in the Profile Name box and click OK.
  7. Follow the prompts to set up your email account in the new profile.
  8. Restart Outlook.
  9. Click File.
  10. Click Account Settings.
  11. Choose Change Profile from the drop-down list.
  12. Click OK on the Outlook Will Close message.
  13. Restart Outlook.
  14. Choose the name of the new profile you created in the Profile Name list and click OK.

Repair Outlook Data Files

If you still cannot open the Outlook window, you can use the Inbox Repair tool to find and possibly fix the problem.

Navigate to the file location that corresponds to your version of Outlook.

  • Outlook 2019: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  • Outlook 2016: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  • Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15
  • Outlook 2010: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14
  1. Scroll down to SCANPST.EXE.
  2. Double-click SCANPST.EXE to open it.
  3. Make sure your Outlook data file is listed as the file you want to scan. If not, you can click Browse and navigate to your data files.
  4. Click Start to begin the scan.
  5. Click Repair to fix any problems found.
  6. Start Outlook when the repair is complete.

Reset the Navigation Pane

A startup issue with the navigation pane can prevent Outlook from opening correctly. Resetting the navigation pane might resolve the issue.

  1. Press the Win + R keys on your keyboard to open the Run command.
  2. Type Outlook.exe /resetnavpane in the Open box and click OK.
  3. Try to open Outlook with the process is complete.

Troubleshooting in Outlook 2016 for Mac and Outlook 2011 for Mac

Check for Updates

A recent update could include a fix for the problem of not being able to start Outlook. Check for and install any available updates, even if you cannot open Outlook.

  1. Open any Office application, such as Word or Excel.
  2. Go to Help.
  3. Click Check for Updates.
  4. Select Automatically Download and Install under "How would you like updates to be installed?"
  5. Click Check for Updates.

Rebuild the Outlook Database

Using the Microsoft utility to rebuild a corrupted database might solve Outlook not opening.

  1. Quit all Microsoft Office applications.
  2. Hold down the Option key and then click the Outlook icon in the Dock to open the Microsoft Database Utility.
  3. Click the identity of the database you want to rebuild.
  4. Click Rebuild.
  5. Restart Outlook when the process is complete.

Please note if you have a Microsoft Exchange account, rebuilding the database will delete any information not synced with the server. You might want to back up any Outlook data stored only on your computer before you rebuild the database.