Categories Tutorials

HOW TO: Ways to fix Outlook error ‘cannot open your default email folders’

Microsoft Outlook may be the most widely used email service around the globe, but users have come to accept the good with the very bad. Yes, Outlook offers an extensive and exclusive range of features as well as its friendly user experience. But there’s the flip side: User forums are filled with anger over errors that seem to have zero solutions. For this article, we will examine and hopefully resolve perhaps the most common Outlook error: “cannot open your default email folders.” This Outlook error mostly appears when you are trying to open your Outlook profile. It generally happens because of a corrupted OST file or the execution of Outlook in compatibility mode.

Why OST file corruption happens

OST files are the files that allow users to use Outlook while they are offline. It is actually a synchronized copied element of the accounts saved on your device that enables you to continue to use Outlook even when the program gets disconnected from MS Exchange Server.

These files can become corrupted because of various reasons. Some of the reasons are:

  • Deletion of any file or folder removed from Exchange folder.
  • Intrusion of any malware or virus.
  • Disruption in the file synchronization process due to sudden or abnormal shutdown failure.
  • Some internal discrepancies in Outlook causing abnormal Outlook termination.
  • Creation of some bad sectors in the hard drive where the OST file is stored.
  • Failure of any networking device that might disrupt the synchronizing process of the OST file.
  • Any changes in the internal structures of the OST file.
  • Installed plugins sometimes may damage Outlook performance, thus causing damage to the OST file.

Fixing OST file corruption

Here’s some ways to begin fixing the problem:

  1. Remove those profiles that are not being used from the address “Control Panel > Mail > Show profiles.”
  2. Create another copy of OST file.
  3. Even if the error doesn’t get resolved, create another new profile from while using Outlook Profile Helper or manually.

Outlook error caused by running in compatibility mode


You might have witnessed these errors:

Cannot open your default email folders. Information store could not be opened,”

or

“Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window. The server is not available. Contact your administrator if this condition persists.”

or

“Cannot display the folder. File access is denied. You do not have the permission required to access the file C:\Users\username\localsettings\application data\microsoft\outlook\outlook.ost”

If you have enabled compatibility mode mistakenly, just disable it. If you haven’t, do not enable it for Outlook. Users typically enable it when they are required to run the troubleshoot compatibility wizard. Also, compatibility mode is not required for any version of Outlook on Vista or Windows 7 or any other Windows OS. This mode is also not needed for any application that is supported on any Windows OS or for recently released applications.

The user can switch off compatibility mode in a 64-bit operating system by following these easy steps:

  • Switch to the mentioned address “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office XX\Outlook.exe”
  • Right-click on exe and then follow up by clicking on Properties then Compatibility tab.
  • Uncheck the checkbox called “Run this program in compatibility mode” box, thereafter click Apply and OK.

And in case, you are unable to place the Compatibility tab, follow the following steps:

  • Click on Start and search for Program Compatibility Troubleshooter.
  • Start Program Compatibility Troubleshooter; select Next option to proceed.
  • Select Outlook XX from the appeared list of programs. Following the steps of the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter.
  • Switch to the mentioned address “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office XX\Outlook.exe”
  • Right-click on exe and then follow up by clicking on Properties then Compatibility tab.
  • Uncheck the checkbox called “Run this program in compatibility mode” box, thereafter click Apply and OK.

If this issue is experienced over an Exchange email account that is configured on your Outlook, you can diagnose the error by trying the following steps:

  1. If your program is executing along with a running Windows Server and/or over a firewall, then disable the firewall and then connect it with the server directly without any firewall.
  2. If this Outlook error gets resolved, then you will be required to reconfigure your firewall to allow Exchange to sync.
  3. And if the Outlook error still persists even after disabling the firewall, create a new mail profile from Outlook. You will also need to reconfigure your account.

Featured image: Shutterstock

Mukesh Nailwal

I'm a technology expert working for key technology domains that revolve around Data Recovery, Email Migration, Email Recovery and related software's on regular basis.

Share
Published by
Mukesh Nailwal

Recent Posts

Hardware RAID vs. software RAID: Pros and cons for each

RAID is a technique to virtualize independent disks into arrays for improved performance. Should you…

4 days ago

After the plague: What IT will look like in a post-COVID-19 world

COVID-19 has changed everything, but once it disappears, we will not go back to how…

4 days ago

Solved: Outlook defaults to Microsoft 365 version with Exchange server

An Exchange server with a hybrid connection to Microsoft 365 is usually pretty seamless —…

4 days ago

How chatbots are changing the way teams communicate internally

Chatots are primarily thought of as consumer-facing solutions. They bring life to customer interactions by…

4 days ago

Hakbit ransomware campaign targeting specific European countries

The newly uncovered Hakbit ransomware campaign spread via spear-phishing emails may indicate a shift in…

5 days ago

Credential stuffing: Everything you need to know to avoid being a victim

Credential stuffing is yet another weapon being used by cybercriminals. Here’s what credential stuffing is…

5 days ago