How to Troubleshoot Outlook Crashes or Hangs in Safe Mode

Your MS Office Outlook application may crash at any point in time, i.e. while starting, while executing a few tasks, or when closing the email client. There could be myriad reasons for this weird behavior, including a corrupt mail message in your Inbox or a corrupt entry in your Outlook calendar. If the problem is specific to an item, try to delete that item from your email database. You can also use another email client to view that item, in case deletion is not an option. Sometimes, when the application is restarted after a crash, you receive the following message on your screen:

Outlook failed to start correctly last time. Starting Outlook in safe mode will help you correct or isolate a startup problem in order to successfully start the program. Some functionality may be disabled in this mode. Do you want to start Outlook in safe mode?

Starting Outlook in Safe Mode is an easy way to troubleshoot problems. This option allows you to start Outlook with default settings and remove customizations. Further, you cannot enable COM add-ins and Exchange Client Extensions in safe mode. This prevents loading of a number of dynamic link libraries (DLLs) that interact with both data and the application. You may notice the following changes after starting MS Outlook in safe mode:

  • The Reading Pane doesn’t appear.
  • Customized toolbars are not loaded.
  • Ribbon customizations and Quick Access Toolbar customizations are not loaded.
  • The Instant Search functionality cannot be accessed.
  • To-Do bar customizations are not loaded.

There are a number of other temporary changes that take place when Outlook is opened in safe mode. Once the application has started, you need to do certain things in order to remove inconsistencies from Outlook:

  • Verify the list of items disabled in safe mode and try to remember the actions that forced the Outlook to crash.
  • Check if there are still any third-party add-ins or extensions enabled in Outlook. In order to check and disable them, follow the given procedures:
    • Disable COM add-ins:

1. Go to ‘Tools’ and select ‘Trust Center’.

2. Click ‘Add-ins’ and then choose ‘COM Add-ins’ in the ‘Manage’ box. Click ‘Go’.

3. Deselect the checkboxes corresponding to all add-ins that you need to disable.

4. Click ‘OK’ and restart Outlook.

  • Disable Exchange Client Extensions:

1. Navigate to ‘Tools’ and then click ‘Trust Center’.

2. Click ‘Add-ins’.

3. In the ‘Manage’ box, click ‘Exchange Client Extensions’ and then ‘Go’.

4. Deselect the checkboxes for the extensions you need to disable.

5. Click ‘OK’ and restart Outlook.

  • Ensure that there are no third-party LLs running under the Outlook.exe Process by running the Process Explorer. If you find any such DLLs, remove them by uninstalling their parent software.
  •  Follow the given steps to create a new ‘Outlook’ registry having default settings:
    • Quit Outlook, if running.
    • Open Registry Editor and switch to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice12.0Outlook

  • Rename ‘Outlook’ to ‘Outlook-1’.
  • Restart MS Outlook.

After restarting the application, a new registry key is created with default settings and you can start working with your Outlook effortlessly.

10 thoughts on “How to Troubleshoot Outlook Crashes or Hangs in Safe Mode”

  1. Avatar of Aditya

    Hi Lawmacs,
    I am finding it difficult to access my outlook account.It is telling me to connect with the internet and then i can access my mails.Can you help me on this??

  2. Avatar of Linda

    Great share , your Blog always has some unique information , and this again an new information about Microsoft outlook, Thanks for sharing.

  3. Avatar of Lisa

    Great informative rips! Think the beginning Perspective in Secure Method is an easy way to diagnose issues. This choice allows you to start Perspective with standard configurations and eliminate customizations…Thanks for sharing me..

  4. Avatar of Addie from The Best Blogs
    Addie from The Best Blogs

    Hi Lawmacs!I always learn from you..I’ve encountered the same problem with Microsoft Outlook and I just followed what you said and it’s great!Your always sharing good ideas that can help many of us here.

  5. Avatar of Scott

    I recently happened to suffer from outlook crash yesterday. It was a tensed situation for me due to lots of important emails. I took help from experts and he tried his best and finally it was alright. Thanks for sharing this informative post so that I might be able to solve this issue by myself.

  6. Avatar of Bhushan

    Hey i am using Outlook form long time but this post make me very eager to know about this type of issues here.I will give it a try soon.Thanks for this wonderful suggestion.

  7. Avatar of Social e-commerce
    Social e-commerce

    Hey i am using Outlook form long time but this post make me very eager to know about this type of issues here.I will give it a experiment with soon.thank you for this wonderful suggestion.

  8. Avatar of Felicia

    Hi Marshal,
    I used MS Outlook in the past and it was and still plagued with monstrous crashes. After finally getting pissed back in 2010, I decided to look for another email client until I found the Mozilla Thunderbird. I have been using thunderbird up to now and I find it to be very stable with plenty of built in security features. Probably the best feature I love about Thunderbird is its user-friendly interface. Anyway, great post on troubleshooting Outlook, this will truly be helpful for those who still use it.

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