Last update: December 2019
Applicable to: Outlook 2019,365, 2016, 2013; Windows 7, 8 or 10.
One reader sent us the following question:
Here’s an issue i just encountered: After launching Microsoft Outlook 365 to access my email i get stuck.. the login window comes up and stays for a while and then an error message stating that “the Outlook Window can’t open” comes up. I am using a Windows PC if that’s helpful for your troubleshooting this. I wonder why the software doesn’t open.. If it helps, a friend mentioned i should be using a specific command to launch a clean Outlook instance so that the installation can be repaired.. Any pointers on how to recover my Outlook access are appreciated up-front.
Thanks for the question, indeed a tricky one to troubleshoot online, but we’ll definitely try 🙂
First and foremost, i would assume that you are using Outlook 2019, although fixing this issue for earlier versions won’t be majorly different.
As you mentioned that the Outlook login dialog came up and stayed for a while, we’ll start out troubleshooting by looking into into any Outlook COM add-ins that are installed in your system and for some reason are not firing correctly causing Outlook to hang up when starting up.
These add-ins extend the functionality of Outlook to allow you (for example) to interact with PDF files, integrate with OneNote, work with SharePoint, launch a Skype meeting, etc’.
By all means, this is a common Outlook problem, which you should be able to handle. In order to start troubleshoot this we need to be able to launch Outlook without the add-ins firing up. That is accomplished with the so-called Outlook safe mode.
Kindly proceed as following:
Note: How do we know that Outlook started in Safe Mode? That’s written in the upper side of your screen and visible in Mail, Calendar, People, Tasks panes.
Note: You can turn off the safe mode by simply closing Outlook and opening again by hitting the Outlook icon on desktop, task bar or program list.
Proceed as following:
If this didn’t help, proceed to the next section.
In case that you have customized your Outlook navigation pane, chances are that Outlook might encounter an issue opening the default Outlook window View.
In order to reset the navigation pane settings, proceed as following:
If this didn’t help, you might need to repair and probably re-build your Outlook profile (or even create a new profile altogether) to access your email, we’ll cover this in one of our upcoming guides.
Here are a few follow up reader questions that we have received as a follow up on this post:
An alternative way to safe-launch Outlook is to hold the Ctrl key while clicking the Outlook desktop shortcut.
There could be times that even after fixing an Add-in launch issue, Outlook will continue to launch in safe mode. If this is the case, then hit the Windows Search magnifying glass, type Run and then type Outlook.exe, this will launch the program in normal mode. If this is not helping, the there is probably a failing Add-in issue. To fix that, go through the steps outlined in the section at the beginning of this tutorial.
When running in safe mode, that will be clearly indicated in the upper side of the Outlook screen.
Kindly leave us a comment in case of questions.