Windows 8 cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook 2016: Why can I not open the Outlook window? [Troubleshooting Guide]

Many Windows users would prefer to use and set the Microsoft Outlook program as their primary platform for sending and receiving email messages. Outlook is a Windows email client that comes with the Microsoft Office software package. In order to receive emails on your desktop computer, you will need to reconnect the desktop version of your Outlook to your account. This is a requisite if you are using the latest versions namely the Outlook 2013 and 2016.

And for you to get started using Microsoft Outlook for daily email transactions, you will need to create a new profile, which usually consists of the accounts, data files, and settings that would specify where your email messages are stored. Considering that everything in your profile is properly setup and configured according to your ISP server settings, you should be all set to send and receive emails on your desktop computer. But then all of a sudden, you just find out that you couldn’t get the Microsoft Outlook 2016 to start on your computer. Should this be the main issue that you are trying to get fixed and that you need further support on how the problem is dealt then this content might be able to help you out.  

Note: You may receive different error messages whenever you attempt to access your Outlook account, depending on your current Outlook versions like Outlook 2013 and 2016. For newer versions of Outlook, the error is usually depicted with an error message saying “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook Window.”

What is causing this error to occur on your Windows 8 Outlook client?

As explicated by Microsoft, the error is mainly triggered by either a corrupt Outlook PST file or corrupt Navigation Pane settings file, typically labelled as [youroutlookprofilename].xml. You will know if your Outlook file size is likely corrupt if it shows 0 KB.

How to fix the error and get Microsoft Outlook program to start on your computer?

If by any chance you cannot start Microsoft Outlook and are prompted with the “Cannot open the Outlook window” error messages while trying to open the Outlook program on your Windows 8 computer, then you might as well consider the subsequent solutions and recommended workarounds to troubleshoot and resolve the underlying cause.

Since it is hard to determine which file gets corrupted and caused the Outlook program to encounter this start-up error, we have created a rundown of all potential solutions and recommended workarounds to deal with a pertinent issue on the Microsoft Outlook program on a Windows 8 computer. So all you have to do is try each of these steps and then test your Outlook program to see if a certain method works best and is able to resolve the issue in your case.

Step 1. If you cannot start Outlook 2013 or 2016 and prompted with an error saying, “Invalid XML, the view cannot be loaded,” the here’s a potential solution:

  • Click the Start button.
  • In the search box, type in Outlook.exe /ResetNavPane. Be sure to put a space in between parameters .exe and /Reset. So it should be entered as Outlook.exe[space]/ResetNavPane.

That trick has help several users fixed the same error message while attempting to start the Microsoft Office Outlook program on their computer. So you should give it a try on your end and see what happens. If ever that won’t work in your case, then you may try other methods available.

Step 2. Boot Outlook in Safe Mode.

Just like what’s usually done in fixing other software issues, you can try starting the Outlook program in safe mode and then disable add-ins. There is a higher chance that certain add-ins has caused conflict with Outlook, thus preventing the program to start up. To start Outlook in Safe Mode, follow these steps:

  • Click Start.
  • Click Run.
  • Type in Outlook[space]/safe, then select OK to continue.
  • When you see the Choose Profiles dialog box, accept the default Outlook setting and click OK.
  • If prompted, enter the correct password for your Outlook account profile, then select Accept.

You will know when you’re already in Safe Mode if you see a label (Safe Mode) showed next to the Microsoft Outlook header located at the top of the screen.

If you are able to start the Outlook program in safe mode, then it denotes that one of your add-ins is likely causing the start-up error to occur in normal mode. To fix the problem, you can try to disable all of your add-ins and then restart the Outlook program. Follow these steps to disable Outlook add-ins in safe mode:

  • Click File in the upper-left corner of the Outlook window.
  • Select Options.
  • Click Add-ins.
  • Scroll down to View and manage Office Add-ins.
  • Check and ensure the Manage box is set to the COM Add-ins option, then click on Go to continue.

Please do any of the following precautions when the COM Add-ins listing of your current add-ins opens:

  • Manually record the title of every selected add-in showed in the Available Add-ins list.
  • Take a screenshot of the property sheet and save the image to your preferred location.
  • Clear all selected check boxes after you have captured the tiles of the selected add-ins, then select OK to proceed.

Note: Be sure click a check box to clear it. DO NOT select an add-in and select REMOVE.

  • Select File, and then click on Exit to Outlook program in exit safe mode.
  • Restart your computer.
  • After the restart, click on the Start button, select Run and then type in the word “Outlook” in the Open box.

Doing so will launch the Outlook program and hopefully it will go through this time already.

If the Outlook program successfully opens, then most likely one of the add-ins has triggered the error. The next thing you should do is to determine which add-in is at fault. To do so, you can try to enable one add-in at a time and when you do, try to start Outlook after an add-in is enabled. This will help you determine if the problem re-occurs after an add-in is enabled. Restart the Outlook program, disable the add-in that produced the problem, and then start Outlook again.

Step 3. Verify if Outlook is running in compatibility mode.

Compatibility mode is designed to help the Outlook program run on an older operating system. You can try to turn off compatibility mode and see it doing so fixed the problem. Here’s how to turn compatibility mode off on different versions of Outlook.

    • Access compatibility mode.


  • If you’re using Outlook 2016, compatibility mode can be accessed through this directory: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16 or C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  • If you’re using Outlook 2013, compatibility mode can be accessed through this directory: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office 15\ or C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office 15\


  • Once you get to the last folder, right-click on the Outlook.exe file, select Properties, and then select the Compatibility tab.
  • Remove the check from any of the boxes found on Compatibility tab, then select Apply and click OK.
  • Restart the Outlook program on your computer and then try to open it again and see if the problem is already fixed.

Step 4. Remove the XML file.

If the above solutions don’t work, then you can try removing of the XML file instead. The XML file stores the navigation pane settings. To remove this file, follow these steps:

    • Click the Start button and then select Run.


  • In the search box, type in these parameters %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook.


  • Locate the XML file, and then delete it.

After the XML file has been removed, try to open the Outlook program again. If it’s still not working, then repair the Outlook data file using the Inbox Repair Tool.

Step 5. Repair Outlook data files or Outlook PST with ScanPST.exe.

Various files are stored in the Outlook program including email messages, contacts, meetings and events, and tasks. All these are tagged as data files. Occasionally, data files might become corrupted, which would then result to a certain type of error occurrence while using the Outlook program.

To scan your Outlook data files and repair errors, you can run the Inbox Repair Tool or scanpst.exe. This tool allows you to check the Outlook data files on your computer to see if they’re all okay. Here’s how it’s done on your Windows 8 PC:


  • To use the Inbox Repair Tool, exit the Outlook program.
  • Navigate to C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files (x86). You can use the File Explorer or Control Panel to get to this directory.
  • Type SCANPST.EXE in the Search box. If the SCANPST.EXE file is not found in one folder (C:\Program Files), try searching for it in the other folder (C:\Program Files (x86). It should be stored in either of these folders.


  • Enter the name of the Outlook data file or .pst file you want to scan in the search box, and then click Browse to find and select the right file to scan.
  • To start the scan, click on Start.
  • If there are errors found during the scan, click Repair to begin the repair process and fix them.

Wait until the repair is finished then start Outlook 2016 with the profile that is linked with the Outlook Data File you just repaired. This is the new log file or backup file created during the scan. It has the same file name as the original but with a .bak extension, saved in the same folder. Here’s how it works:

    • Browse the folder where the .pst file is stored. You should see the same filename with a .bak extension. The latter is the backup file.


  • Create a copy of the .bak file and then rename it with a .bak.pst extension. For example, [email protected]


  • Import the new file or (.bak.pst) file you’ve created into Outlook.

After doing so, try to open the Outlook and see if it’s already working fine. If that still doesn’t work, then you can try to create a new Outlook profile and then use that profile for the Outlook program to use. Or if you already have created multiple profiles, then you can just try using a different profile and start all over with the following steps:

  • Restart the Outlook program.
  • Select Choose Profile in the drop-down list dialog box.
  • Select the new profile name you created.
  • Click the OK button to continue.

If Outlook starts normally, then it denotes that the previous profile was corrupted and has caused the start-up error.

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