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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cannot Start Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook Window (Office 2010)

After fighting through the un-installation of the Technical Preview of Office 2010 and it’s related components I was unable to open Outlook.  I only get this far, then it errors out:


The first problem I actually ran into was that I couldn’t install Office 2010.  This was because I had a botched un-install that left several little bits of Office lying around.  I couldn’t remove Visio 14 and had to run Windows Installer Clean Up to get it off the system.  Send a Smile was also busted.  After cleaning off those bits and getting the suite finally installed, I was getting the following message when I tried to run Outlook 2010:

Cannot Start Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook Window.

I am running Office 2010 Professional Plus x64 on Windows 7 x64.

I ran through a number of steps to try to resolve the problem, including the following:


  1. I used the recommended approach where you Start –> Run –> outlook.exe /resetnavpane to try to fix some settings issues. This seems to work for a lot of folks.
  2. I checked the location of my PST files in Control Panel –> Mail to make sure that Outlook was looking in the right spot, i.e., my old PST file.  It was.
  3. I tried to correct a corrupt PST/OST file using ScanPST.exe (included with Office).  This has worked for folks, and I was very optimistic that it would work for me too as it corrected over 5,000 errors, but it did not.
  4. I then tried removing the old profile from my system, and recreating it, which left me with an unknown error (0x80070057) and unable to connect to Exchange altogether.image
  5. So, now, we’re back to uninstalling Office 2010 and every scrap bit we can find of it.  I’m going to pull down Office 2010 32bit and see if that helps re-establish my sanity.


    UPDATE: The 32bit version faired no better.  I’m going to uninstall and start removing SDKs and WinMo features/sync just in case something’s tripped with Office Connectivity.  I’ve removed the sync from my mobile device and unplugged my phone.  I’ve also un-installed any apps that at any point in time may have run at the same time as Office.  I don’t know why I did that, but I’m getting desperate.

    UPDATE 2: I’ve uninstalled the 32bit and will now try the 64 again. I’m going to see if I can prove Einstein’s definition of insanity.

    UPDATE 3: This is getting looney.  I’ve started this episode of debauchery by mutilating my registry and stripping out any folder in any kind of ‘data’ or ‘program files’ sort of directory.  Gonzo.  64bit uninstalled again and registry cleaned.  Folders nuked.  Profile zapped.  Here we go again…this time I will accept the defaults on the install and let it install the things I’ll never use (like Access).


    UPDATE 4: Now the install is failing, saying that I don’t have permission to modify keys in the registry.  Per instructions here, I’m off to do something to hundreds of thousands of registry entries…

    UPDATE 5: The nonsense continues. I am now hunting for registry keys by hand to try and grant myself permissions.  I have booted my computer in ‘clean boot’ mode so nothing else is running in the background, but I don’t think that was every the problem

    UPDATE 6 Next day: There are (so far) 10 keys and their subkeys that I have found that do not have any owners (and therefore the permissions are null).  I have to find each of the keys, one-by-one, after I get an error message from the installer as above.  The installer give me only one key at a time, then I have to go hunt for the offender.


    Then, drill into the permissions and owners for each of the parent and child keys.  As I have to wait for the registry key to error out from the Office 2010 installer, it can take up to 5 minutes before I know there’s an error, then another minute or two to assign the local administrators group full access and ownership.

    As I write this, number nine just came up (but at least the installer made it to 60% this time)…

    UPDATE 7: Another key, but we’re getting close to the 2/3 mark now…


    As a backup plan I’m pulling down a copy of DOS 6.22 and Word 1.0 from MSDN Subscriber Benefits.

    UPDATE #You’ve GOT to be Joking:


    So close…and yet, not so close.  I could almost taste PowerPoint…

    UPDATE 9:



    UPDATE 10:

    ….aaaaaaand we’re back where we started.  *sigh*

    It looks like everything else seems to be working (Excel, PowerPoint, Word) but I’m getting the “Cannot open the Outlook window.” message again.


    I’ll be in this weekend to format this beast and start over.


    1. How's the journey to insanity?

    2. could say I've arrived.


    3. I quite frequently work with pst files and once I was unpleasantly shocked. Because I couldn't see my emails when I had opened my MS Outlook. I decided to open web browser and there found out - open ost file. It settled my issue quite rapidly and without money as far as I remembered. Moreover the application assisted my friend.

    4. Thanks for the tip, Alex. Unfortunately this isn't a PST issue, my installation (and subsequent re-installation attempts) has left most of Office as borked. Word is heavily crippled, Excel is dicey (hard time with network files) and I can't open outlook at all.

      1. "Outlook.exe /resetnavpane" worked for me. Thanks.