Having Trouble Starting Outlook or Cannot Start Outlook – Fix the Error

admin | February 1st, 2018 | Windows Outlook

Trouble Starting Outlook? Resolve the Error to Access MS Outlook

"Sorry, we’re having trouble starting Outlook. Only one version of Outlook can run at a time. Check to see if another version of Outlooks is running, or try restarting your computer."

There are a couple of users getting this error while working with Microsoft Outlook application.
In this blog, we are going to discuss the solutions to resolve this Outlook error in a hassle-free manner. Also, some of the reasons for such Outlook errors also figured out.

The Causes and Symptoms Behind the Outlook Error

Unable to start Microsoft Outlook; Cannot start MS Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook Window; Cannot start Microsoft Outlook there is not enough memory. Such Outlook errors occur when there are issues related to internet or the system. The issues with an Internet connection can be due to infrequent connectivity, modem or router configuration, ISP restrictions, low speed, local system configuration issues etc. The machine errors appear when the system has applications, drivers, Windows, etc, which are not updated or of old versions. In some cases, the performance causing the corruption of files, directories, registry and other the data affecting the hard drive of the system, leads to such MS Outlook errors.

One can recognize the error as while clicking on the Outlook’s icon, an hourglass appears and it hangs/ freezes for some time. After it, you will get the "Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook" error or any other like mentioned above.

According to Microsoft, the primary cause of such issues is a corrupted/damaged Navigation Pane settings file -profilename.xml, where the “profilename” is the name of the Outlook profile of the user. If the size of the file is shown as 0 KB, it means that the file corrupted. As such, there isn’t any exact reason for this, but all the versions of Microsoft Outlook from 2003 to the latest Outlook 2016 may get affected by this.
There might be some other reasons also responsible for the Outlook errors like this, such as the compatibility mode, profile corruption issue, an older Outlook version, etc. Last but not the least, when any of the Outlook data file (.pst or .ost) was deleted, crashed, or damaged for the reason of incorrect uninstallation or reinstallation of Microsoft Outlook.
Whatever may be the reason is, the result is the same – you cannot open the Outlook window because of "Sorry, we’re having trouble starting Outlook. Only one version of Outlook can run at a time. Check to see if another version of Outlooks is running, or try restarting your computer." error.
Depending on the Outlook versions according to the different users, this error message varies correspondingly.

There are several situations faced by users when their Outlook PST files are damaged and encounter different error messages. These messages can occur for many possible reasons and one of the reasons is corruption of the PST file. Therefore, it is recommended to use SysTools PST file repair tool and get rid of the corruption in few clicks.

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Universal Solutions to Troubleshoot Outlook Errors

These tips cover other, the less frequent scenarios, and more specific errors. There are several solutions to resolve different Outlook errors, some of them are as follows:

Solution 1: Clean the Temp Folders

  1. Press Windows key + R together. Run window pops up.
  2. Now, type temp, and hit Enter key.
    You will get the Windows Explorer with the location of temporary system files.
  3. Select any file or a folder in the Window and press Ctrl +A together.
  4. Right click the selected files. Select the Delete option from the menu.
  5. A prompt box will appear. Now, click on Yes or Allow or Continue.
  6. Select the check box to the left bottom corner of the pop up window and click on the mentioned button.
  7. Repeat the above step. Select the option to the left bottom corner and select Skip, if the same pop up continues, and repeat the same.
  8. After the complete deletion, close the Temp folder window.

Solution 2: Clean System and Junk Files

For System Files:

  1. Press Windows key + R key to open the Run command window.
  2. Now, type the command cleanmgr.
  3. Select the hard drive partition from the drop down and click on OK.
  4. After the scanning of junk data, select the items from the list (except the Recycle Bin).
  5. Click on OK and wait till the cleaning gets complete.

For Internet Explorer Junk Files:

  1. Windows key+ R.
  2. Type inetcpl.cpl command and then hit Enter.
  3. Now, on the Internet Options window, click on the Advanced tab.
  4. Click on the Reset button.
  5. Now, select the option to delete the personal settings.

Solution 3: Start Outlook in Safe Mode and Disable Add-ins

While working with Microsoft Outlook, every user faces one or the other issue, and mostly are resolved by starting Outlook in safe mode. If the Outlook application works well in the Safe mode, it means that the problem is with one of add-ins.

To open Outlook in Safe Mode:

  1. Press Ctrl key + R.
  2. Now, type outlook.exe /safe in the box.
  3. Click OK.

To Disable Add-ins:

  1. Click on Start.
  2. Go to Run.
  3. Now, type outlook.exe /resetnavpane
  4. Note: Leave a space between outlook.exe and /

Solution 4: Set Microsoft Outlook as Default Email Client

If the above solutions doesn’t give a positive result, then make sure that the Outlook application is set as the default email client. Also check that the MAILTO protocol for Microsoft Office Outlook is enabled on your system, via following steps:

  1. Press the Windows + R.
  2. Type Control and click Ok.
  3. In this Control Panel window, go to the Default Programs.
  4. Click on the option of Set your default programs.
  5. Now, select Microsoft Office Outlook 2013 from the programs list and then click on Set this program as default.
  6. Now click on the option Choose defaults for this program.
  7. Scroll down to list of Protocols. Select MAILTO protocol. Click on Save.
  8. "Sorry, we’re having trouble starting Outlook. Only one version of Outlook can run at a time. Check to see if another version of Outlooks is running, or try restarting your computer."

Solution 5: Check if Outlook is Running in Compatibility Mode

If the compatibility mode is enabled, then disable it. If not, don’t even consider it.
To turn off the compatibility mode, follow the steps:

  1. Click on the Start button and type outlook.exe in the search field.
  2. Now, right-click on OUTLOOK.EXE, and then click on the Properties option.

  3. Switch to the Compatibility tab and make sure to uncheck the "Run this program in compatibility mode for" option in the check box.

    cannot start ms outlook. cannot open the outlook window

  4. Hit on OK and try to start MS Outlook application again.
  5. If the same error still persists, restore the previous version of the Outlook PST file.
  6. Note: In this case some of the recent emails, appointments, etc. might be lost.

  7. Right click on the Outlook.pst file and select the Restore Previous Versions option.
  8. cannot start microsoft outlook there is not enough memory

Solution 6: Reset Navigation Pane

In most of the Outlook issues, the corrupted Navigation Pane settings file is the reason that prevents Outlook from starting well, so the first thing to do is to mend this nav pane.
Go thorugh the steps given below to reset navigation pane:

  1. First, MS close Outlook email client.
  2. Then, click on Start and search for Run window.
  3. In the Run window, type outlook.exe /resetnavpane
  4. Note: There is a gap between outlook.exe and /resetnavpane.

Delete the Navigation Pane Settings File
If in case, the Navigation pane configuration file is not recovered, nor did the automatic fix provided by Microsoft work. Then, it is recommended to delete the XML file which stores the navigation pane settings. Go through the following steps for the same:

  1. Go to Start. Type the %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook command and press Enter.
  2. You will get a folder where all the Microsoft Outlook configuration files are stored.
  3. Find the Outlook.xml file and delete it.

If you are unable to fix "Sorry, we’re having trouble starting Outlook. Only one version of Outlook can run at a time. Check to see if another version of Outlooks is running, or try restarting your computer." Outlook error using the above approaches, then the following two solutions will definitely resolve this Outlook error.

Solution 7: Repair MS Outlook Data Files

If you have already reinstalled the Outlook application and something went wrong during the uninstallation of its previous version, then the default Outlook data file (PST/OST) might have been deleted or corrupted, and this is the reason why you are unable to open Outlook.
In this case error like “Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. The file Outlook.pst is not a personal folders file.” occurs.

So, it is suggested to repair outlook.pst file using scanpst.exe or via Inbox Repair tool.

  1. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\{Office version}.
    For 64-bit Windows with 32-bit MS Office, go to C:\Program Files x86\Microsoft Office\{Office version}.
  2. Find SCANPST.EXE and double click on it.

    Note: You can also click on Start and type scanpst.exe in the Search box.
  3. Click on the Browse button and select the default outlook.pst file.
  4. Choose the Start option to the scan the file.
  5. After scanning, if there is any error, then choose the option of Repair to fix them.

The above-mentioned solutions address the most frequent reasons for Microsoft Outlook starting problems and resolve the errors in most of the scenarios. If against all expectations the Outlook application still won’t open, then try the creating a new profile as given below.

Solution 8: Rebuilding An Outlook Profile

If the above solution of repairing or restoring outlook.pst file doesn’t work, then one of the best solutions is to create a new Outlook mail profile in order to resolve this problem.
If it does, then copy the current Outlook data file (.pst/.ost) from the damaged mail profile to the newly created one. Follow the steps:

  1. Go to the Control Panel. Select the option of Mail. Choose the option of Data Files.
  2. Add a New profile, and click Next. It should find the users credentials from the exchange server.
  3. Check Prompt for a profile to be used.
  4. Restart Outlook and select the New Profile.
  5. Go to the Control Panel again. Select the option of Mail. Choose Show Profile.
  6. Now, select Always use this profile. Select the New profile from the drop-down.
  7. Hit on Apply.
  8. Restart Outlook. At the bottom of Outlook will see Outlook adding the emails back into this new profile.
  9. Delete the old profile when eveything works properly.

The above discussed manual ways to resolve "Sorry, we’re having trouble starting Outlook. Only one version of Outlook can run at a time. Check to see if another version of Outlooks is running, or try restarting your computer." error, are hassle-free and can be easily implemented by any Microsoft user. These solutions can also be tried to troubleshoot some other Outlook errors such as Cannot start MS Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook Window, Unable to start Microsoft Outlook, Cannot start Microsoft Outlook there is not enough memory, etc. If in case, an Outlook error not fixed by any of these approaches, then it is recommended to opt a relevant third-party tool to resolve the issue.