Fix “The Set of Folders Cannot be Opened” Error in Outlook 2016

Himanshu Goyal Himanshu Goyal Updated On - 10 Jan 2020

Outlook users often face many errors while using this email client. And a frequent error faced by them is “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window. The set of folders cannot be opened. The operation failed.”

The actual reason behind this error is not known yet. Also, there is no specific solution to solve this error. However, there are some methods that can address this issue. Below we have mentioned the most effective ways to resolve this error. But, before using any method, make sure you’re not using Outlook.

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  1. Start Outlook in Safe Mode

    One of the simplest methods to solve this error is to run Outlook in safe mode. In safe mode, Outlook starts without loading the add-ins. To run Outlook in the safe mode, follow this process:

    • Start the Run command by Pressing “Window+R.”
    • Type “Outlook /safe” and press OK.
    • A “Choose Profile” dialog box will appear, click “OK.”
    • Choose Profile
      Note: If it asks for account credentials, enter your password and choose “Accept.”

    • If Outlook starts in the safe mode, then there is a problem with the add-ins. To check if Outlook is running in Safe Mode, check the status on top.
    • Check if Outlook is running in Safe Mode
      Disable add-ins

      If Outlook works fine in the safe mode, then you’ll have to disable the add-ins. To disable add-ins in Outlook:

    • Go to File tab and select “Options>>Add-ins.”
    • At the bottom of the window, select “COM Add-ins” in the “Manage box,” and then hit the “Go” button.
    • Disable add-ins in Outlook
    • You’ll find a list of all the Add-ins working with Outlook. Deselect all of them and click “OK.”
  2. List of Add-ins working with Outlook

    Now, restart Outlook and check if the same error occurs again or not. However, if you still face the same problem, then try other methods.

  3. Create a New Outlook Profile

    Your Outlook profile holds all settings of your MS Outlook. Sometimes, this profile gets corrupt due to some unexpected errors, and Outlook starts showing this error. So, try creating a new Outlook profile

    • Go to Control Panel and Choose “Mail (MS Outlook 2016)”.
    • Go to Control Panel

    • Select “Show Profiles” from the wizard; a new wizard will appear on the screen.
    • Select Show Profile from the wizard

    • Hit the “Add” button and give a name to the profile. Also, in the “Auto Account Setup” window, fill the details for your email account to setup up a new profile.
    • Once you create a new profile, it will appear on the General tab in the Mail dialog box.
    • In the section “When starting Outlook, use this profile,” select the new profile from the drop-down menu of “Always use this profile.” And click OK.

    After selecting the new profile, restart MS Outlook. And if Outlook starts normally, then the previous Outlook profile was corrupt. If you’re planning to remove the corrupt profile, make sure you create a backup for that profile.

  4. Repair Outlook Data Files

    All the data in Outlook, such as email messages, events, contacts, tasks, etc. are stored in data files (PST). However, these files often get corrupt due to various reasons. So, it can also be the reason behind this error. You can repair such files with the help of Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe). To scan Outlook file with ScanPST, follow these steps;

    • For Outlook 2016, open
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
    • Find ScanPST.exe and run it on your system.
    • Browse the file that you want to repair and hit the “Start” button to scan the file.
    • Browse PST file to repair
    • Once the scanning process is complete, hit the “Repair” button to repair the file.
    • Start repair process
    Note: If you want to create a backup of this file, then check the checkbox “Make a backup of scanned file before repairing.” The file will be repaired soon, and then you can import it to your Outlook. However, if you’re unable to repair Outlook 2016 PST file with ScanPST, then use Kernel for Outlook PST Repair. It is an advanced tool that can repair any corrupt/damaged PST file quickly.

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  5. Reset Navigation Pane

    The navigation pane is the leftmost pane in MS Outlook; it contains all the folders of your Outlook data files and icons like Calendar, Contacts, People, Tasks. Resetting the navigation pane will remove all the customization of the navigation pane, and it can also solve “the set of folders cannot be opened” error. To reset the navigation pane in Outlook, run “/resetnavpane” command on your system.

    • Close all applications related to Outlook.
    • Now, open the Run Command by pressing “Window+R” together.
    • In the open dialog box, type “outlook.exe /resetnavpane” and press enter.

    If Outlook opens normally after running this command, then your problem is solved.

    These are the most effective methods that can be used to solve the error “the set of folders cannot be opened” in Outlook 2016. In most cases, it is found that this error occurs due to corrupt data file or malware in the computer system. So, make sure your system is secured with antivirus.