Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window.

Outlook. Yes Microsoft Outlook is a great productivity tool but what do you do when you see this error: “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window.” Outlook will not open when you click on the icon. Outlook teases you as it appears it’s going to start and then crashes.

Here’s the solution:

  1. Click on Start
  2. Click on Run
  3. In the Run box type: outlook.exe /resetnavpane
  4. Click OK
  5. Outlook should now start

That’s It! If Outlook wasn’t running because of the error: “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window,” and you followed the above procedure exactly then Outlook should now be working fine.

If this solution just saved your day, perhaps consider buying me an espresso? (Completely Optional)

92 thoughts on “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window.”

  1. Sorry can’t buy you an espresso yet. Still does not work. Microsoft Outlook says “Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. The command line argument is not valid. Verify the switch you are using.”

    Hope you can help

  2. @ Paul: The command line needs to be typed exactly as was listed in the post. Including spaces. One character off and it won’t work. That solution is really only for that specific Outlook error so if you have a different error that solution may not work. If you have your MS Office/Outlook CD you can always backup your *.PST files for outlook, uninstall Outllook, reinstall outlook and then import your data from your original PST file. That solves your problem every time. If you don’t know how to do that yourself you can always go to ,call the toll free number and we can do it for you via remote control. I know it costs more than an espresso but it’s quicker than doing it yourself if you’re having problems.

  3. Sorry ElectroGeek, still no espreso! I got the same error as Paul – And that was after copying the “outlook.exe /resetnavpane” from this page, and then pasting it into the RUN line…..

  4. @Tejan0:
    Be sure not to include the quotes when you copy and paste. If that doesn’t work you may need to uninstall and reinstall Outlook and/or MS Office as I documented previously. Give it a try and good luck.

  5. Thanks so much!!! Searched this on Google and tried lots of other things. Yours worked! I will drink a cup for you! God Bless!

  6. ElectroGeek,

    I installed windows 7 RC1 (upgraded from vista business) and office 7 worked great for about 3 weeks. Then I received the error message ” Cannnot Start Microsoft Outlook, Cannot open the outlook window’. Your fix/suggestion worked perfectly the first time.

    Thank you as I was about to re-install outlook. I cannot send a donation but will send good karma your way for the help.

  7. I just spent three hours with this same problem and reinstalled Outlook only with no results. Then I googled the error message and landed here, when I typed THE FILE NAME in the box it did not work (did I do something different) but when I copy pasted from above it worked and I am on the road again. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!! yes

  8. i have struggled before with outlook repairs and pst repairs. This solution worked PERFECTLY for me and I have already used it now a few times with 100% success. Am using Windows RC1 and MS Office 2007. Thanks for that very helpful post, will get you your espresso soon

  9. Thanks! I spent 3 hours on the phone with HP and they couldn’t fix. I spent 2 minutes reading your solution, and resolved my problem within 30 seconds.

  10. Thank you!
    You are a God!
    I have been having major problems with Outlook, ever since I tried to merge an old PST file. It created a 9GB monster file and crashed my system!!! Couldn’t start the laptop or access the net. I fixed it by compacting the file.

    Then I tried to import another PST from work and did it again!!!!!

    Your reset NavPane did the business first time! Thank you very much. You saved my life as I have a job application to submit today.

    I hope this grateful praise will be more use to you than an espresso and the effects will last longer.

    Only comment that would help n00bs like me is to type outlook.exe /resetnavpane in the “Start Search” section if using Vista.

    If you can advise how to add PST files from the various computers I have to try to retrieve old calendars and contacts, I would double the praise!! Thank you again!

  11. Thank you so much for posting this.

    I, too, followed the directions and typed in the command (no quotations used) and got nothing.

    I kept reading down through the replies and then also tried cutting and pasting.

    My Outlook is now happily downloading the 351 emails that came in over the weekend AND alerted me to the cocktail function that I am now 2 days overdue for!

  12. Hi,

    Thank you for the info. I’ve heard about reset navpane elsewhere, and it does the trick. Only problem is, I have to do it every time I switch the machine on. Any idea how to fix the problem permanently and what causes it? I’m running vista x64 and outlook 2007.

    Solve that and I’ll get you a couple of Espressos!

  13. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You are a lifesaver! It didn’t work the first time – and I typed it exactly as you had it written – but it worked the second time when I copied and pasted. You are phenomenal and I truly appreciate your help! I am lost without my outlook at work, which is so sad…I know, but I am up and running again and owe it all to you! Have a terrific day and thanks again! 😉

  14. Completely worked for me. I tried several other tips from searching around to no avail. This one also happened to be the easiest. Thanks !!!!

  15. Thank you for the solution. Worked fine! So am sending lots of good karma your way. (really curious about what could have caused it – worked last night got the error messag ethis morning, no new installed software, no shutdowns, no nothing — another Windows mystery ;l->]

  16. Outlook worked fine one day. Turned on the computer the next morning get the message: ‘Cannot start Microsoft Outlook”. its been several days now, Tried updating, CD Repair, Program Repair, your suggestion in Run, nothing works. Since I can’t open Outlook, how do I back-up data before Un-Installing? Any other ideas?

  17. Worked Like A Charm! Had to put it in a couple of times because it must be exact but once I got it right it worked immediatly!!!

  18. Not sure why this happened – but your instructions were simple and to the point – Gr8 help… saved the day! Karma Cup is full

    : )

  19. I have been running W7 for about 5 weeks and now this happened after having the same software on Vista for several years. Your fix worked and coffee is coming your way.
    Any idea what the cause is for this? How likely is it too happen again?

  20. My outlook 2007 will not open. I have tried reinstlling twice. Same Issue. I have tried the help above and nothing.

    When I open outlook first it says configuring outlook accounts.

    Then it says microsoft exchange is unavailable.

    It gives the option to work ofline. I click that and it says can not open your default email folders. Your profile is not configured. I click ok and then outlook closes.

    I am running vista 64 bit.

    If anyone can help I would appreciate it

  21. @ Moe Your email account information is not setup. If you uninstalled Outlook and then reinstalled you probably removed your email account settings. Setup your email account(s) and it should work fine. Check your email provider (Comcast, Yahoo, etc.) for account setting details. The previous fix I listed is specifically for this error: “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window.” Good luck!

  22. My MS Office Outlook 2007 worked all the time untll this happen. The instruction worked great and fixed the problem! thanks! BTW Im on Windows 7!

  23. I have the same problem as Simon N in that I have to run resetnavpane every time I switch my computer on. Any ideas on how to stop this? Thank you

  24. Sorry about this, have now sorted this by running resetnavpane then closing outlook and then running scanpst. Hope this is helpful for others.

    Merry Christmas

  25. Thanks so much! You removed an annoyance from my Christmas morning. $5.00 thru PayPal and my best wishes for the holidays.

  26. Thanks – your instruction saved me the grief of trying to follow the instructions posted at the Microsoft website. One coffee on me whenever you pass by the Middle East 🙂

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