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Summary: If you encounter the error ‘OST file cannot be opened’, it can be due to several reasons, such as a corrupt OST file, incompatible Outlook version, or network problems. Fixing the issue may involve repairing the OST file, creating a new Outlook profile, or configuring network settings. However, a reliable solution is to use Kernel for Outlook PST Repair, a professional tool that can recover data from damaged PST and OST files.

“I was having a lot of trouble with my Outlook data file. It just wouldn’t open. I tried many things I could think of, but nothing worked. I was getting really frustrated. Then, I happened to come across a few easy solutions that fixed the issue right away. All it took was some step-by-step instructions, and my Outlook data file opened right up!”

Many Outlook users have reported errors related to “Outlook data file cannot be opened.” It’s amazing to see how some easy solutions can be of help to fix this issue.

Now, we will discuss the causes of this problem and the ways to fix them. We will also provide an ultimate troubleshooter if these solutions don’t work. So, if you are experiencing problems opening your Outlook data file, stay tuned for our helpful tips.

Why my Outlook data file cannot be opened?

Occasionally when trying to open your Outlook Data File, you may receive an error that the file cannot be opened. This can be due to:

  • The file is damaged or corrupt
  • Outlook is not using the correct data file
  • The data file has been moved or renamed
  • There are compatibility issues with the data file
  • The data file is being used by another program
  • There are permissions issues with the data file
Top solutions to fix the Outlook data file cannot be opened issue

If you receive this error, first check to see if the file path is correct. If not, make sure that Outlook is pointed to the correct location of your data file.

If the problem persists, we have given some easy solutions, but it is advisable to keep a backup of the PST file before carrying out these steps for an extra layer of protection with your data.

  1. Creating and using a new Outlook profile
    To fix the “Outlook data file cannot be opened” issue, you can create a new Outlook profile. This will reset Outlook and allow you to start fresh. Here’s how:

    • First, access the Control Panel and click on Mail. Then, under the Profile section, click on Show on Mail
    • Next, click on Add and enter a name for your new profile; click on OK and then on OK and then Finish
    • Now that your new profile has been created, you need to set it as the default profile.
    • To do this, go back to the Mail window in the Control Panel and click on Always use this profile. Finally, select the new profile and click on OK.
    • Finally, restart Outlook, and you should be good to go!
  2. Using the SCANPST.EXE tool
    If you’re using Microsoft Outlook and you’ve encountered the error “the Outlook data file cannot be opened,” there’s a tool called SCANPST.EXE that can be used to try and fix the issue. Here are the steps to run SCANPST.EXE:

    • Close Microsoft Outlook.
    • Go to Start, then type “scanpst.exe” in the search field. This will bring up the tool.
    • Select the file you want to scan. If you’re not sure which file it is, check under C:\Users\ [Your Name]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook for files with a .pst or .ost extension.
    • Once selected the file, click on the “Start” button to begin scanning.
    • If errors are found, you’ll be given the option to repair corrupt Outlook PST files. Click on “Repair” to fix the issues that were found.
    • Once the repair is complete, restart Microsoft Outlook and see if the issue has been resolved.
  3. Changing the mail delivery location
    In case you are experiencing the error “Outlook Data File Cannot be Opened” when trying to open Outlook, it is likely because your mail delivery location is set to an old or invalid location. To fix this issue, you will need to change your mail delivery location to the correct path.

    • In Outlook, go to File > Account Settings > Account Settings.go to File Account Settings
    • Under the “Email” tab, find your account and click “Change.” In the IMAP Account Settings section, fill out the new mail delivery Change
    • Once you’re done with the new mail delivery location, click “Next” and restart Outlook. This should allow you to access your emails.
  4. Gaining ownership of the Outlook data file
    The “Outlook Data File Cannot be Opened” error typically occurs when Outlook is unable to access the data file that stores all your email messages, contacts, and other data. Fortunately, there is a simple fix for this issue. So, you can take ownership of the data file. Here’s how:

    • Close Outlook and open File Explorer.
    • Navigate to the following folder: C:\Users\Your Username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook.
    • Right-click on the “Outlook Data File” and select “Properties.”
    • Tap on the “Security” tab & then tap on the “Advanced” button.Advanced button
    • Choose the “Change” link next to the owner’s name.Choose the Change
    • Enter your username in the “Enter object name to select” field and click “OK.”click OK
    • Check “Replace owner on subcontainers and objects.”
    • Hit the “Apply” button and then tap on “OK.”
    • Close all open windows and restart Outlook. Your data file should now be accessible.
  5. Turn off compatibility mode
    By turning off the compatibility mode, you can easily resolve the “OST file cannot be opened” error. Here are the steps.

    • Access Control Panel and open Outlook.
    • With a right-click on Outlook, tap on the option Properties.Access Control Panel
    • Navigate to the Compatibility tab, Unmark the option “Run this program in compatibility mode”Run this program in compatibility mode
    • Hit OK and restart your PC..
  6. Start Outlook in safe mode
    With opening Outlook in safe mode, you can easily troubleshoot the issue “OST file cannot be opened” easily.

    • Exit Outlook and open the Run window.
    • Type up Outlook.exe/safe and hit Enter. Run window
    • If the error still persists, navigate to File>Options.
    • Go to Add-ins.Add-ins
    • Disable all the add-ins.Disable all the add-ins
    • At last, access Outlook and enable all the add-ins one by one to fix the problem.
  7. Recovering the Navigation pane config file
    Sometimes you might have problems with your navigation pane because it gets corrupted. Here is how to reset the navigation pane to fix the “Outlook data file cannot be opened” issue.
    • Open the Run window and type “outlook.exe/resetnavpane”. This command resets the navigation pane to its default settings free of any kind of corruption.
    • Hit OK and restart Outlook and check if the issue is resolved.
  8. Troubleshoot the Outlook hanging on the loading profile
    This is a common problem, and your Outlook data file cannot be opened as it gets stuck due to the hanging problem on the loading profile. It is the issue with your OS and video drivers. Follow our steps to fix this issue instantly.
    • Open screen resolution settings.
    • From the monitor tab, change the colors to High Color (16 bit).change the colors to High Color
    • Moreover, you also need to disable the hardware graphics acceleration option.
    • Access Outlook. From the File menu, go to Options.
    • From the Advanced tab, check the option “disable hardware graphics acceleration”.disable hardware graphics acceleration
  9. Disable Cached Exchange Mode
    For disabling the Cached Exchange Mode in Outlook, here are the steps:
    • Access Outlook & go to the File tab.
    • Click on the Account Settings option, then select Account Settings again from the drop-down menu.Account Settings
    • Choose your Exchange or Microsoft 365 account for which you wish to turn off the Cached Exchange Mode.
    • Tap on Change.Tap on Change
    • Tap on More Settings.Tap on More Settings
    • Click on the Advanced tab & untick the “Download Shared folders” or “Download Public Folder Favorites” option.Download Public Folder Favorites
    • Hit OK & then restart Outlook for applying the changes.

Note: You should be aware that disabling Cached Exchange Mode may impact your Outlook application’s performance, particularly if you have a large mailbox and a slow internet connection.

The ultimate troubleshooter to fix Outlook data file won’t open issue

Kernel for Outlook PST Repair helps to fix the ‘Outlook cannot be opened’ data file error. It can successfully repair and restore all mailbox items from corrupt or damaged PST files, such as emails, contacts, calendar items, tasks, journals, etc. This PST repair tool can also recover deleted mailbox items from the PST file. Furthermore, it supports all versions of MS Outlook, including 2021, 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, etc.

  • Repairs and restores all mailbox items from the corrupt or damaged PST file.
  • Supports all versions of MS Outlook.
  • Recover deleted mailbox items from the PST file.
  • Allows users to save repaired PST files in multiple formats, including DBX, MSG, MBOX, TXT, EML, RTF, HTML, and MHTML.
  • Provides an option to split large-sized PST files into smaller parts.
  • Allows users to preview repaired mailbox items before saving them.

Thus, with the help of this PST Repair Tool, users can fix the ‘Outlook data file cannot be opened’ error without any difficulty and in just a few simple steps.


Outlook data files are an important part of our daily lives. They store all our emails, contacts, and calendar items so that we can access them from any device or computer. But what do you do when your Outlook data file won’t open? So, we have outlined the easiest solutions for this issue. So, whether your Outlook data file is corrupted or just not opening correctly, one of these solutions will surely fix your problems.

Moreover, do not forget the ultimate troubleshooter, as it helps in repairing and recovering lost or inaccessible data due to corruption or any other reason. Get your hands on the trial version today and take a sneak peek into its easy-to-use yet advanced features.

Kernel for Outlook PST Repair