Friday, August 6, 2010

Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. Unable to open the Outlook window. (A solution to a frustrating problem)

As I'm sure you're all aware, every Microsoft error message is helpful, complete, and crystal clear, right? Well, maybe not. My most recent adventure with an error message told me something I already knew, but nothing more. Here's the deal.

I had a short power outage this evening at my house wherein I learned just how overdue I am to replace the battery in my uninterpretable power supply (UPS). My Dell XPS 410 went "lights-out" right in the middle of installing a new application. Outlook 2007 wasn't even open, although I had only closed it seconds earlier (the process may have still be running). Upon restarting the computer and attempting to open Outlook I was faced with the following error:
This error message displayed each time I attempted to open Outlook 2007 on my Windows Vista machine.

After a couple of restarts and some basic troubleshooting I was beginning to get frustrated.  Google searches didn't seem to help much initially, as most of the results referenced an issue when using Windows XP and attempting to open Outlook in Win95/ME compatibility mode.  I'm running a 32 bit version of Windows Vista Ultimate and I most certainly am not running Outlook in in compatibility mode (who would run anything in 95/ME compatibility mode, anyway?).

A bit more searching and pulling together suggestions from a few different forums on the Internet led me to a very simple solution.  Open Outlook from the 'Start' or 'Start>Run' dialog box as follows:

Outlook.exe /resetnavpane

Outlook should start up with no errors.  I hope this helps someone and prevents the dreaded reinstall of Office (which was, in my mind, the next logical solution to this issue).

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