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How to Start Outlook in Safe Mode

Microsoft Outlook is one of the most widely used email client software applications available today. It is highly customizable and allows users to change their preferences and install various add-ins that enable easier use. However, such customizations and add-ins may cause various errors in Outlook. If you can’t start Outlook, the best way to try and start it is by using Safe Mode. In Safe Mode, none of the customizations or add-ins are loaded. If you can’t load Outlook at first but you can when you use Safe Mode, this means that there is something wrong with an Add-In that you have installed or there is something wrong with a configuration file associated with your profile. In most of these cases a pst file repair is not needed.

To start Outlook in Safe Mode, you need to use the /safe switch. To start Outlook using this switch, hold “Windows key” + R and get the Run Program dialog box. In the field type outlook.exe /safe (make sure you leave a space between the two words). This will work in almost all cases, but in some cases Windows will say that it can’t find outlook.exe. In this case, you will have to specify its location. The default location is normally C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OfficeXX\ (where XX is the version of Office).

If the above mentioned path is not your default location then the PC user should proceed to right-click on the Outlook Quick Launch icon or shortcut and navigate to the “Properties” section. The path to “outlook.exe” will be shown in the next window that is being displayed. Copy and paste this to the Run dialog “box”, or you can simply change the default switch from /recycle to /safe and apply. Either way, Outlook will run in Safe Mode.

The following switch starts Outlook without extensions, Reading Pane, or toolbar customization. This parameter works with all versions of the product:

  • /safe

The following switch starts Outlook with the Reading Pane off. This option is available in Outlook 2003/2007 only:

  • /safe:1

The following switch starts Outlook without checking mail at startup. This parameter is available only for Outlook 2003/2007:

  • /safe:2

The following switch starts Outlook with extensions turned off, but listed in the Add-In Manager. This feature is compatible with Outlook 2003/2007:

  • /safe:3

The following switch starts Outlook without loading Outcmd.dat (customized toolbars) and *.fav files. In order to do so, you must have Outlook 2003/2007 installed and use the command line:

  • /safe:4

By using the following parameter it is possible to instruct Outlook to start and open the specified folder in a new window.

  • /select %foldername%

Please note that while using the last above mentioned instruction it is required to write the actual folder path instead of %foldername%.

If you are pulling your hair out and nothing seems to work then it may be time to call in an expert. We love the guys over at www.onlinecomputerrepair.org. This well known computer repair company is based in California and has done tens of thousands of remote computer repair jobs. They are very affordable and a good way to go if you can not resolve your own Outlook issues.

For more great tips check out our Outlook PST Repair articles. As well you may be interested in learning how to backup Outlook PST file.