The Set of Folders Cannot Be Opened Outlook 2016

Fixing The Error In Outlook: “The Set of Folders Cannot Be Opened”

Among various other Microsoft products, Outlook is widely used for business as well as general purpose email and electronic communication service. But just like any other Office programs, Outlook also runs into problems sometimes. And one such issue comes with the error message which says ‘The set of folders cannot be opened’. Is it due to your internet connection or your system issues? Or maybe something is wrong with your account? Let’s find out more about the error and how to resolve it.

Possible Causes For This Error Message

While the exact reason behind this error is yet unknown, yet all the versions of Microsoft Outlook, starting from 2003 to the newest Outlook 2016, may be affected. The possible causes behind it include:

  • One of the main reason for this issue is a corrupted Navigation Pane settings file that goes by the name profilename.xml (here “profilename” is the name of user’s Outlook profile)
  • Running Outlook in compatibility mode.
  • If you are using an Outlook profile that you created in an older version of Outlook.
  • The error can also be caused if the Outlook data file (file with extensions .pst or .ost) was deleted or damaged due to an incorrect uninstallation or reinstallation of Outlook.

How Can I Solve The Error – ‘The Set Of Folders Cannot Be Opened’?

In order to resolve the above-mentioned issues in Outlook, try these quick fixes.

  • Recovering the Navigation Pane configuration file: As this is the most common and major cause behind this error, let’s get started trying to resolve it first.
    • Right click on your Start button, then select the option which says ‘Run’. It will open up the Run command box.
    • Type the following command in the input field:

outlook.exe /resetnavpane

Do not skip the space between outlook.exe and /resetnavpane.

    • Hit Enter to reset the Navigation Pane settings file.
    • Open Outlook again and check if the error still persists.
  • Delete the Navigation pane settings file: If the above method of recovering the Navigation Pane settings file doesn’t work for your, consider deleting it.
    • Open the Run command box using the keyboard shortcut: Window + R keys.

    • In the input box, type in: %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook and hit OK.
    • Once the Microsoft Outlook configuration files’ folder is opened up, select the file named ‘Outlook.xml’ and delete it.

  • Turn off the Compatibility mode in Outlook: The Outlook’s compatibility mode is basically an invitation to new errors. It’s better to turn it off.
    • Locate the Outlook installation folder, usually located at C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\{Office version}
    • Right click on the Outlook.exe, then select the Properties.
    • Under the properties window, switch to the Compatibility tab.
    • Uncheck the box which says ‘Run this program in compatibility mode for’.
    • Hit OK and open outlook again to check if ‘the set of folders cannot be opened’ error is resolved.

Start Outlook in Safe mode: If nothing works, try opening the Outlook in safe mode by holding the Ctrl key and then double click on the Outlook icon. Press OK in the confirmation prompt.

If you are still unable to open the Outlook due to the error ‘the set of folders cannot be opened’, we suggest you take help from some technician. Alternatively, you can log in to the official support page of Office and learn more about your problem on the Microsoft community.

Author: Support Escalation Engineer