Outlook crashes upon selecting folder

When selecting a specific folder, Outlook directly crashes. Outlook works just fine for all other folders.

How can I access this folder again?

Common causes for such a crash or freeze to happen is that there is a corruption in either the first message of that folder, the view of that folder is corrupted or there is a corruption in your pst-file.

Safe Mode

The first thing to test with these kind of reproducible errors is to see if it also occurs in Outlook Safe Mode;

  • Windows XP
    Start-> Run; outlook.exe /safe
  • Windows Vista and Windows 7
    Start-> type; outlook.exe /safe

Note the space in the command. For alternative ways to start Outlook in Safe Mode see this post.

If that works, the issue is usually a corrupted message or view. If it doesn’t, it usually indicates a corruption in the pst-file and you must use scanpst.exe to scan it for errors. If it still doesn’t work after using scanpst.exe, you must further analyze the crash in the Event Viewer.

Starting Outlook in Safe Mode via the Start Menu in Windows 7.
Starting Outlook in Safe Mode is always a good way to begin your troubleshooting.

Corrupt message

If you immediately recognize the first message or item in the folder as being corrupted or unwanted, delete the message and start Outlook normally again. If you can access the folder now, the issue was caused by a corrupt message. A common cause for messages to get corrupted is by having a virus scanner integrated with Outlook. It is really best that you disable this type of integration; you’d still be fully protected by the on-access scanner of your virus scanner.

If you do not want to delete the first message in the folder, then move the message to a different folder. Start Outlook normally again and see if you can access the folder now. If so, select the folder where you moved the message to. Outlook will either crash and you’d still have to delete the message or you might be lucky and Outlook decides to play nice with you and will continue to work.

Corrupt view

If Outlook crashes or freezes when accessing the folder even after moving the first item or running scanpst.exe against your pst-file, then the issue is likely to be a corrupted view. To recover, start Outlook in Safe Mode and reset the view for that folder;

  • Outlook 2002/XP and previous
    View-> Current View-> Customize Current View…-> Reset Current View…
  • Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007
    View-> Arrange By-> Custom…-> button Reset Current View
  • Outlook 2010
    tab View-> button Reset View

If you have multiple folders that crash upon entering them and resetting the view worked, then you can also reset all views at one by starting Outlook with the cleanviews startup switch;
Start-> Run; outlook.exe /cleanviews

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