Read time 7 minutes

Outlook users have grown heavily reliant on the application, making it challenging to switch to an alternative email client when confronted with Outlook-related issues. While some problems can be overlooked or managed through workarounds, certain errors demand immediate attention. A frequently reported issue by users occurs when the Outlook application refuses to open, displaying the error message: “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook Cannot open the Outlook Window.” Additionally, the error indicates an issue with Invalid XML and the inability to load a particular view. This problem leaves users at a complete standstill since no email-related tasks can be executed if Outlook fails to open. Reading emails becomes impossible, let alone performing other essential functions. In this blog, we will provide guidance on comprehending and resolving this persistent error.

What is Invalid XML Error

Occasionally, Outlook users encounter a situation where the application refuses to launch and instead presents an error message within a pop-up dialog box.

error in a pop-up window

The error message displayed is: “Microsoft Outlook cannot be initiated. The Outlook window cannot be opened due to an invalid XML, rendering the view unloadable.” Unfortunately, the error dialogue offers limited troubleshooting options, as clicking the sole “OK” button causes the application to immediately close. Consequently, users are unable to perform any actions within Outlook due to the persistent nature of this error. It should be noted that this error typically recurs until resolved.

Causes behind Invalid XML Error

Prior to delving into resolution techniques, it is essential to explore the factors that can give rise to the occurrence of this error. The Invalid XML error can stem from a multitude of sources, and we will now elucidate some of the most prevalent ones.

  • Navigation pane configuration issue
  • The navigation pane is the window that appears on the left side in Outlook and helps you switch between different functional areas such as Calendar, Contacts, Mail, Notes, Tasks, etc. The configuration settings of this Navigation pane are stored in an XML file in the Outlook folder. Editing this XML file can cause this issue. Further, corruption or any other damage to this file may also lead to this error

  • Hard drive corruption
  • Corruption of hard drive can cause issues. If the XML file for the navigation pane lies in any bad sector, then the application will not be able to access and process it successfully. This may lead to Invalid XML Error.

  • Running Outlook in compatibility mode
  • Sometimes, you may have to open Outlook in compatibility mode so as to fix any other issue that you might have faced. But there are various features and settings that are disabled in compatibility mode. The navigation pane is also impacted while running Outlook in compatibility mode and can face the invalid XML error.

  • Using an outdated version of Outlook
  • This cause is not common but has still been observed in some cases to impact the navigation pane configurations. An outdated or very old version of Outlook can cause this issue.

How to fix the Invalid XML Error?

We have some understanding of the Invalid XML error, including its nature and potential causes. Next, let’s proceed to address and resolve this error.

  • Resetting the Navigation Pane: If resetting the navigation pane does not resolve the problem, it is possible that the XML file is corrupted, preventing Outlook from both reading and resetting it. To address this issue, you can manually delete the file and then restart Outlook. This action will result in the creation of a new XML file with default settings. To accomplish this, follow the steps below.
    1. Press Windows+R keys on your keyboard.
    2. This will open the Run window.
    3. In the Run window, paste below command –‘Outlook.exe /resetnavpane’
    4. Run the Outlook again, and it should work fine. If not, proceed to the next method.
  • Remove a Corrupted XML File If resetting the navigation pane does not resolve the problem, it is possible that the XML file has become corrupted, causing Outlook to be unable to read or reset it. To address this issue, manually delete the corrupted file and then restart Outlook. This action will trigger the generation of a new XML file with default settings. Please follow the steps below to accomplish this.
    1. Press Windows+R keys on the keyboard to open the Run dialog box.
    2. In the run box, paste “%appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook” and press Enter.Delete corrupt XML file
    3. This will open the Windows Explorer window and take you to the Outlook configuration directory. You would find an XML file under this location most probably by the name “Outlook.xml”.Outlook.xml
    4. Delete this XML file and restart Outlook.
  • If you still face the same issue, proceed to the next method.

  • Disable compatibility mode
    1. Click on the Start menu and type Outlook.exe.
    2. Outlook.exe application icon would appear in the search results. Right-click on the icon and click on Properties.
    3. A new window opens for Outlook.exe properties. Click on the Compatibility tab.
    4. Under the compatibility mode, there would be a checkbox for “Run this program in compatibility mode for:”. Uncheck this checkbox and click on Apply and then press OK.
  • Repair Corrupt PST Files
  • Occasionally, corruption can afflict both the hard drive and Outlook data files, resulting in this error. If the PST file is indeed corrupted, it is advisable to utilize a specialized Outlook Repair tool for the necessary repairs. Kernel for PST Repair tool is the answer to your problems in such a scenario. This tool possesses formidable yet straightforward capabilities, swiftly rectifying any corruption within your PST file. Its user interface is seamless and so intuitively designed that you can effortlessly repair your PST file without the need for any explicit instructions. After employing this tool to restore your PST file, reintegrate it into Outlook, and your issue should be resolved promptly.


This blog post addresses the Invalid XML Error that hinders the opening of the Outlook application. Initially, we provide an overview of the error and its implications. Following that, we delve into the diverse factors responsible for this issue and elucidate how they can trigger the error. In the ensuing section, we present a range of methods to rectify the problem and eliminate this error. These solutions span from the commonly employed fixes to those seldom needed, ensuring a resolution regardless of the underlying cause.

Ultimately, we recommended employing an Outlook repair tool as a last resort in cases where PST restoration is the sole remaining option, especially if your PST file is compromised. Kernel for Outlook PST tool can be used to resolve Outlook PST corruption issues. We trust that this blog was instrumental in restoring functionality to your Outlook.

Kernel for Outlook PST Repair