DIY: Five switches for troubleshooting Outlook

Jack Wallen offers a TechRepublic member advice on how to reset Outlook's Navigation Pane for her profile using a switch.

Microsoft Outlook is a tricky beast at times. There are so many things that can go wrong, and so many ways to attempt to repair what has gone wrong. Read my answer to TechRepublic reader Beverly's Outlook question, and then post your suggestions in the discussion.

Q: "Help! Outlook has gone bat *&$^ crazy on me! When I open it, the preview pane won't open, giving me some strange cryptic error. Please tell me I don't have to delete my profile and start anew! What can I do to fix this?" A: Beverly, fear not, the solution to this problem is actually quite simple. Outlook has several switches that can be used to resolve some issues. The switch used to resolve navigation pane problems is resetnavpane. To run Outlook with that switch, do the following (I'll use Windows 7 as an example): click Start and then type outlook.exe /resetnavpane in the Search Programs And Files bar. This will clear and regenerate the Navigation Pane for the current Outlook profile. Once you've run this switch, Outlook should run just fine.

These are other helpful switches that can be used:

  • /safe -- Starts Outlook without Microsoft Exchange Client Extension, the Reading Pane, or toolbar customizations on. This switch also turns off Component Object Model (COM) add-ins.
  • /resetfolders -- Restores missing folders to the default delivery location.
  • /profiles -- Opens the Choose Profile window, so you can select which profile to use.
  • /noextensions - Starts Outlook with extensions turned off, but listed in the Add-In Manager. This is very helpful if you think Outlook extensions are causing problems with the Outlook client.

After you use one of these switches to troubleshoot Outlook, I hope you'll be able to start Outlook normally.

Ask Jack: If you have a DIY question, email it to me, and I'll do my best to answer it. (Read guidelines about submitting DIY questions.)


Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website


ever since going over to using Linux for main use, I have been using evolution, (an enterprise level Email/Groupware solution and you can purchase a connector for Exchange if you require it) I am surprised Jack did not want to convert the person to something else :-) Although, for personal e-mail, I am going to look into setting up a IMAP/central e-mail that is web based to house all my personal e-mail account(s), centrally store all content and contact info, be backed up and be assessable via web and mobile browser from anywhere without relying on all the add based web access of my ISP web client (pay for it and still get hit with ads)


Is that for tax purposes? Your house is assessable for property tax purposes for example, or did you mean accessible? Which means you can access (get to) it somewhere other than at the point of origin--say your office for example. As to the subject at hand, it is nice to have switches available. We do not have an Exchange server as we use Lotus Notes, I do use Outlook for its tasking and some calendaring features.

Editor's Picks