Thursday, September 30, 2004

Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. Unable to open the Outlook window. The set of folders could not be opened ...

Microsoft Outlook: Cannot start Outlook 2003 after reboot
I have recently installed Microsoft Office 2003 on my XP Pro client. I do not use Microsofte Exchange Server. Since upgrading from XP Office Pro I find that whenever I restart the client I lose access to my Outlook 2003 files. After restarting and attempting to open Outlook I get the following error messge:

'Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. Unable to open the Outlook window. The set of folders could not be opened. The server is not available. contact your administrator if this condition persists.'

This is no help of course because I am the administrator. I find that I cannot even use a backup of the .pst file because the existing Outlook.pst file is locked and and cannot be renamed, deleted or accessed in any way. If I attempt to use the scanpst utility it says that the file is in use and cannot be opened. In order to correct the problem I need to:
1. Restart in safe mode
2. Run scanpst.exe on the Outlook.pst file and fix errors (errors are always found)
3. Rename the file. If I do not rename it the file will still be locked when I restart and Outlook will still not open.
4. Restart XP in normal mode
5. Rename the file to Outlook.pst
6. Open Outlook and all is well.

The problem is consistent but I cannot find what process is locking the .pst file. Can anyone help. I cannot find any reference to this problem at MSDN.

I got this problem after a complex issue related to outlook sync mode vs. OST mode. I'm going to try scanpst after backing up.

Update: See

In older versions of outlook one could context click on the outlook icon to get access to the configuration data editor. In 2003 there's a mail icon in the control panel. Didn't know that!

Update 1/24/05: Bad Dog posted a more detailed fix in the comments section. Here it is:
Run Outlook from a command line with the /cleanprofile switch appended to the command.

To find the correct command line, right click on a shortcut for Outlook and go to Properties. Copy the information in the Target field and Paste it to the command line. If there is already a command option, remove it and add /cleanprofile after the closing quotation mark. (Add a space before /cleanprofile)

For example, go to Start: Run. . and enter something like "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\OUTLOOK.EXE" /cleanprofile .

Then add a new profile. Be sure to check the check box for "Set as default profile". Note: You cannot see this option unless you click on the "Options >>" button.

This should fix the problem.


Anonymous said...

I tried everything to fix this. But your fix worked.


Anonymous said...

Appears to have saved the day here, too. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Bad Dog,

You're bad, man! Saved me, . . . thanks!

Ged said...

Wow! like the others I am so impressed. This was the only way to get access. Sorted. Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


solved the issue for me

Anonymous said...

I tried this link from Start: Run and it did create a new profile but how do I access all my old OUtlook files and emails?

Not sure what happened, I was running a registry cleaner and then after a reboot I had the problem. Not sure if was related because I was out of town for a week and may have been a Windows Update.

And I could not find the Kerberos file mentioned below.

Any other suggestions?

Anonymous said...

nice find, I have always tried the outlook /s to run outlook in safe mode but the /cleanprofile is much better!


Anonymous said...

Outstanding advise. Worked like a charm.
My problems originated with Outlook Connector. Tried uninstall office and reinstalling to no avail.
This advise was right on the money.
Thank you so much.
This forum is great!

Anonymous said...

Awesome - thank you very much for saving the day!