How To Fix Microsoft Outlook Error Message “The Set Of Folders Cannot Be Opened”?


MS Outlook users experience many errors while using this email client. One of the most prevalent errors in Outlook is ‘Cannot start Microsoft Outlook’. Besides this message, you will come across ‘Cannot open Outlook window’, or ‘The set of folders cannot be opened’ or ‘the operation failed’.

Nothing can be said with certainty as to why this error occurs, plus no specific solution is there to solve this error as well. However, there are certain methods that you can try to resolve this error. But, before you try any method, make sure to turn off Outlook or else the solutions won’t work.

Start Outlook in Safe Mode

Arguably, the simplest of the methods to solve the problem is to run MS Outlook in safe mode. The add-ins won’t load ‘Safe Mode’. To run MS Outlook in safe mode, follow the process:

  1. Start ‘Run’ command. For that, press the ‘Windows + R’ key.
  2. Type ‘Outlook/Safe’ and press OK.
  3. A dialog box will appear by the name of ‘Choose Profile’, so click ‘OK’ to that.

Note – If you are prompted to add account credentials, enter your password followed by choosing ‘Accept’.

If Outlook starts normally in the safe mode, then there were issues with add-ins. To check if Outlook runs in Safe Mode, you can check the status on top.

Disable add-ins

As your Outlook is working fine in the safe mode, you should disable the add-ins. For that, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the ‘File’ tab followed by selecting ‘Options’ and then, ‘Add-ins’.
  2. At the bottom of the window, you need to go to the ‘Manage box’ where you have to select ‘COM Add-ins’. Then, click the ‘Go’ button.

You are now going to find a list of all add-ins that work with Outlook and deselect all those. Then, click ‘OK’.

Now, you need to restart Outlook and check if the error has been resolved or not. In case, the error persists, then try other methods:

Create a new Outlook profile:

Sometimes, the settings of your MS Outlook can get corrupt due to unexpected errors. If that is the case, then you need to create a new Outlook profile.

  1. Go to ‘Control Panel’ and then, choose ‘Mail’.
  2. From the ‘Wizard’ section, select ‘Show Profiles’ and as you select it, a new wizard appears.
  3. Click the ‘Add’ button to add a name to your profile. Then, enter details in the fields that you see in ‘Auto Account Setup’.
  4. As you create a new profile, it is going to appear on the ‘General’ tab.
  5. You need to select a new profile in the section named ‘When starting Outlook, use this profile’. You will see a drop-down menu of ‘Always use this profile’, where you need to select the new profile followed by clicking ‘OK’.
  6. Restart your MS Outlook now and if the same starts normally, then it means the previous Outlook profile was problematic. You can remove that profile, but make sure to create a backup for the same.

Repair Outlook data files.

All the data in your Outlook is stored in data files with .PST extension. At times, these data files can get corrupt due to various reasons. However, you can get these data files repaired with the help of the ‘Inbox Repair Tool’. Here is how you can scan the Outlook data file.

  1. Go to Program Files, then Microsoft Office, Root and finally, Office16 (In case you are using Outlook 2016).
  2. Find ‘ScanPST.exe’ and run it on your system.
  3. Browse the file you wish to repair followed by clicking the ‘Start’ button to scan the file.
  4. As the scanning process completes, click the ‘Repair’ button to repair the file.

Reset Navigation Pane

The navigation pane contains all the folders related to your Outlook data files and icons such as Tasks, People, Contacts, and Calendar. If you reset the navigation pane, then all the customization you have done in there will also be deleted. But, it will solve the Microsoft Outlook error message ‘the set of folders cannot be opened’. To reset the navigation pane, you need to run a command, i.e., ‘/resetnavpane’ on your computer.

  1. Shut down all the apps related to MS Outlook.
  2. Press ‘Windows + R’ key to open Run command.
  3. Type ‘Outlook.exe/resetnavpane’ in the dialog box and then, press ‘Enter’.
  4. If MS Outlook begins to open normally after the aforementioned command, then it means the problem is fixed.

This is how you can fix the Microsoft Outlook error message ‘the set of folders cannot be found in Outlook’. However, if the problem continues to exist, then you should consult Outlook experts.


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