Fix Cannot open windows, set of folders cannot be opened Outlook Error

Imagine someday, you need to access your Outlook application to share some data through mail or for some other urgent work and instead of Outlook application launch, a pop-up comes in front of you like

“Cannot open windows, set of folders can’t be opened. The information store could not be opened.”

And you went thinking like – No, why me? But this can happen anytime with Outlook application and one should be prepared at that time to overcome such situation. This article is about those helpful solutions which are going to help the Outlook users if they ever get stuck with this Outlook PST error.

The above error stops you going any further in accessing the Outlook data file and is one of the common Outlook PST errors faced by the users often. Reasons can be different – may be small issues like damaged Outlook profile issues, applications interference, faulty Outlook Add-ins, etc. or sometimes severe issues like Outlook database file (OST and PST) corruption.

The users can try some tricks or processes to resolve the issue. Some tricks are basic in nature while some are to be used when the case is severe and when basic tricks fail to show up.

Tricks to fix PST Error – Cannot open windows, set of folders can’t be opened

The primary step which users can take is to check for the proper functioning of the anti-viruses, firewalls, malware on your system. You can temporarily disable these 3rd party applications on your system and then run the Outlook application If the error still comes, try the given solutions and see which helps you to fix the problem:

  1. Open Outlook in Safe Mode – First thing which a user can do in such situation is try opening Outlook application in safe mode. For this, press Windows+R and type – Outlook /safe and then press OK.

    In Choose Profile dialogue box, select the Outlook profile and click OK. Provide user account credentials if asked for and then click Accept.

    If the Outlook application runs in safe mode, users need to disable the add-ins by visiting File>Options>Add-ins. Go to Manage section, choose COM Add-ins and click on Go option.
    set of folders cannot be opened Outlook

    Next, unselect the desired (or all) Add-ins from the list and click on OK.

    After this, first close and then start the Outlook application and check if the errors come again or not.

  2. Reset the Outlook Navigation Pane – A basic way to solve this issue is to try resetting the Outlook navigation pane (which holds Outlook database folders like Contacts, Calendars, Tasks, etc. When you reset the navigation pane, it removes all the customized settings on it. First close all the running Outlook instances or related applications and press Windows+R. In the opened box, type outlook.exe /resetnavpane and press OK.

    Run Outlook now and see if it works fine.

    Or you can go to the location

    C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook

    And directly delete the Outlook.xml file from there to reset the navigation pane settings in Outlook.

  3. Turn off the compatibility mode – One solution can be running Outlook application and then turning off the compatibility mode to get rid of this PST error. Perform this by right-clicking on the Outlook shortcut or outlook.exe file available at the default location –
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Officexx or
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Officexx

    and selecting the Properties option. Then click on the Compatibility tab, clear the checkbox saying Run this program in compatibility mode for and select the checkbox saying Run this program as an administrator. Click Apply to apply the changes and Ok to finish.
    set of folders cannot be opened Outlook Error

    Start the Outlook application again and see if success is achieved.

    If this method does not help you, you can try disabling the Compatibility mode option in the Outlook.exe file properties. Reach the file location by visiting at

    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16 or C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Officexx

    Then, right-click on the Outlook.exe file and click on the Properties option. Switch to the Compatibility tab and then unselect the checkbox saying Run this program in Compatibility mode and then click on OK. Now, start the Outlook application and see the difference.

  4. Enabling Use Cached Exchange Mode (for Exchange Users) – This issue can be fixed by enabling the “Use cached exchange mode” in your system. Go to Control Panel, click on Mail and then select Email Accounts. Select your Outlook account facing the error and then click on Change. Go the Offline Settings option and select the checkboxes “Use cached exchange mode”, “Download shared folders” and “Download public folder favorites”. This will enable the Use cached exchange mode and when you will start the Outlook again; your problem may get resolve.
  5. Creating a new Outlook profile – This error issue can be due to corruption in the current Outlook profile (may get corrupted). Users can anytime create a new Outlook profile and experience the difference. Create the new Outlook profile by following these steps:

    Go to Control Panel and click on Mail. In the Mail setup wizard, select the Show Profiles option. In the opened wizard, click on the Add button, provide a profile name, enter the account details in Auto account setup wizard and then finally click on OK. A new profile will be created. Select this new profile under the Always use this profile option and click on OK. If the Outlook runs smoothly with this profile now, then you had a corrupt profile earlier and if not, then the problem must be severe.

  6. Repair Microsoft Office program – Outlook is one of the Microsoft Office Suite applications, and so users can try fixing or repairing the installed Office program manually to check if it would be a solution.

    For that, first go to the Control Panel on your system. Click the Programs and Features option. Select the Microsoft Office program, right-click on it and select the Change option. Next, select the Quick Repair option and follow the instructions to perform and complete the online repair of the program. Then try to access the Outlook application.

    There is another option to reinstall the Microsoft Office program if the repair does not work for you.

  7. Repair Outlook database file – It can be concluded that if all the above solutions have failed, then the issue is severe with the corruption in Outlook PST file. Microsoft provides a free in-built utility to fix the corruption issues in Outlook data file. The Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe) is the name of the utility which can be found at the C Drive location in your system.

    The exact location for the Outlook 2016 version is –

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16

    Run that tool from there, browse your corrupt PST file and click on Start button to scan that particular file.

    After the scanning is completed, click on Repair to repair the file. You can also have a backup of PST file by selecting the checkbox Make a backup of scanned file before repairing. Once the repair is finished, launch the Outlook application and see if the error is fixed.

The above-mentioned solutions can help you fix the PST error – Cannot open windows, set of folders can’t be opened primarily. But all the manual solutions need some technical knowhow, time and efforts of users; unreliable ones, include data limitations and can lead to data loss or other Outlook error as well. And if none of the native solutions are useful for you in fixing the problem, then you can anytime try the robust professional Outlook PST repair tool to repair any sort of Outlook database file. Unlike the above solutions, it promises the complete data security and required results. With this tool, users can repair the data in minutes and make it accessible without any efforts.

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Final Words

For Outlook errors like “Cannot open Windows set of folders cannot be opened” can be fixed using certain manual tricks or native ways which are explained in this blog but at the risk of compromises of time, efforts and sometimes data loss. On the other hand, a full proof solution is introduced to users at the finish of the blog to face all Outlook PST related issues by repairing corrupt PST files in not time.