I’m speaking to my mother who’s all frantic that her Outlook won’t launch. Okay, no biggie I assume. I ask if there’s an error message, which there is:
What the deuce? I get it, a lot is going on behind the scenes with Office/Outlook, but that’s kind of odd. When I actually get my hands on her laptop, just as she said, said error message is displayed, an empty Outlook window appears for a second, just before closing. Hmm. In the back of my head I’m thinking good thing we installed Windows 7 recently with its idiot proof backup setup, this could get ugly.
After trying the usual diagnostic measures and tests, I was pointed to Microsoft knowledge base article #252304, which basically walks you through deleting a registry key (or even have the Microsoft’s “Fix It” do it for you). After some hesitation and thinking back to when I was young and naive (if Microsoft says to do it, I should!) I backed up the registry keys and then deleted them. Result? Wow! Outlook opens, but with no profile or account information… not quite the fix I was looking for. Restored the previously backed-up registry keys and went back to the drawing board.
That’s when I remembered. Outlook has a whole slew of console switches that can be used (safe mode, etc.). Guess which one did the trick? “/resetnavpane“. I have no idea how the navigation pane would have got messed up, or how fixing it would then allow Outlook to launch, or what else gets reset with that switch, but the reset worked. Something to consider trying to before nuking your registry and being forced to set up all of your mother’s email accounts and their settings all over again.