Fix the Outlook error &quotcannot open your default email folders&quot | Intermedia

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Nearly 100,000 companies rely on Microsoft Outlook for business communications. it’s easy to use and comes with all the essential features business users need from an email client.

While you normally won’t have a problem accessing your email messages, sometimes you get a frustrating “can’t open default email folders” error message, preventing you from viewing your email.

if you see this error appear when using microsoft outlook, don’t worry. this problem is easy to fix. Let’s see why you might see this error message and what you can do to resolve it.

‘cannot open default email folders’. what is causing this error?

The error message “cannot open default email folders” doesn’t come up often, but when it does, it can feel like your entire workday has stopped. To resolve this technical error, you must first know what is causing the problem.

There are two main issues that can cause this error message in outlook email folder:

  1. Your .ost file, also known as outlook offline data file, has become corrupted and needs to be repaired or replaced.
  2. You are running outlook in compatibility mode.

Now that you know what the possible causes are, let’s see what you can do to fix the “cannot open default email folders” error.

3 solutions to try when you can’t access your emails in outlook

To resolve the issue, you need to find out which of the two likely causes is behind your dreaded “cannot open default email folders” error message.

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In most cases, the problem is with your .ost file, not “compatibility mode”, so you’ll want to address this issue first. that means you will need to delete your damaged file and create a new one.

1. delete a damaged file and rebuild your .ost file

sometimes an .ost file becomes corrupted beyond repair or repair is not desirable. in this case, it can be removed.

  1. exit outlook, if it is running.
  2. from the start menu, choose run.
  3. in the run window, type this path in the open box and click ok: “%localappdata%microsoftoutlook” to find the exact path, follow the steps above to get to offline folder file setup. you can see the location of the .ost file in the file box. you may want to copy and paste that information into the run window for accuracy and ease.

2. create a new .ost file

in perspective 2007/2010/2013/2016/2019:

  1. in outlook 2007: open the tools menu. in outlook 2010/2013/2016/2019: open the file tab on the ribbon, click account settings and choose account settings. .
  2. In the account settings window, select the email account, then double-click it or click change strong>.
  3. click more settings.
  4. select the advanced tab, then click settings of the outlook data file. note: If outlook is running in online mode, outlook data file settings will be grayed out. to enable it, click the use cached exchange mode checkbox.
  5. in the file box, type the path of the file you want to use as the .ost file and click ok. the default name is outlook.ost. if this file already exists, you will be prompted for a new name. if you see this message, click ok: “<path> .ost could not be found. would you like to create it?” (<path> represents the path to the .ost file and <filename> represents the name of the .ost file).
  6. click ok, next and then click finish. note: Outlook must be connected to the exchange server for the initial offline folder file creation and synchronization.
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If you still see the error message “cannot open default email folders”, you are probably running outlook through compatibility mode. all you need to do now is disable compatibility mode.

3. disable compatibility mode

To disable compatibility mode on a 64-bit operating system:

  1. navigate to c:program files (x86)microsoft officeoffice xxoutlook.exe
  2. right-click outlook.exe and navigate to properties > compatibility tab
  3. uncheck the box run this program in compatibility mode, click apply and ok
  4. at this point, outlook should be working fine, which means you will no longer get the “cannot open default email folders” error message. you’ll be able to see all your emails in your inbox and get on with your day.

    4. run outlook in safe mode to disable plugins

    There is a workaround you can try that may help you get around this error message: You can run outlook in safe mode. doing this will disable any installed plugins that may be causing errors. this solution is basically a quick and easy way to access your default email folder in outlook. You can try this if you recently installed an add-in for outlook that might be causing the problem.

    To enable safe mode, here’s what you can do:

    1. open your launcher application on your computer
    2. type “outlook.exe/safe” in the open box
    3. in the choose profiles dialog, choose the outlook default settings and click ok

    now outlook will start working in safe mode. Please note that you will need to disable safe mode to access your plugins again.

    If this works to get rid of your error message, a plugin is likely causing the problem. you can read more about operating in safe mode and disabling plugins here.

    where to find more help for “cannot open default email folders”

    If your issue is still not resolved, please explore the intermediate knowledge base article on this topic.

    intermedia’s friendly support team is also here to help. If you are an intermediate customer, please contact us at 800.379.7729 and we can help you resolve this issue over the phone.

    We’re here to make sure our customers have a worry-free experience, so whether you want instant tech support from our knowledge base or prefer to speak with an expert from our support team, we’re always here to resolve any issues. -solve!

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