Troubleshoot a non-starter

Startup problems with Microsoft Outlook 2000 cause you to check areas such as the registry, examine locations of the personal store files or possibly look at connection issues with the Exchange server. But with Outlook 2002 the troubleshooting process is a lot easier if you use the safe-mode option. When Outlook loads in safe mode, a dialog box outlines the problem and prompts the user whether to repair, continue to load Outlook in safe mode, or load in normal mode.

The two most common ways of starting Outlook 2002 in safe mode are:

When starting Outlook 2002 press the Ctrl Key.


In Windows 2000/XP Click Start -> Run then type Outlook/Safe.

Now let's say that Outlook 2002 is taking a long time to start. You can go into safe mode, which will, in most cases, load Outlook much faster because a number of items have been disabled. In my experience, Outlook add-ins that are not loading properly are the principal cause of Outlook 2002 startup issues. If you wish to clear all add-ins:

  1. Open the Tools menu.
  2. Select Options -> Other.
  3. Go to Advanced Options then click COM Add-Ins.
  4. Click Add-In Manager then clear all add-in check boxes.

If you want to view all add-ins that are disabled when Outlook 2002 loads in safe mode you can perform the following procedure:

  1. Go to Help then click on About Microsoft Outlook.
  2. Click Disabled Items.

In here, all items that Outlook disabled

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upon startup in safe mode will be listed.

You can then experiment with each add-in by either disabling or removing an item and restarting Outlook to see if the program loads faster.

To learn more about using Outlook in safe mode you can visit Microsoft Knowledge Base article 298838: Error Message: Outlook Failed to Start Correctly Last Time.

Adesh Rampat has 10 years experience with network and IT administration. He is a member of the Association of Internet Professionals, the Institute for Network Professionals and the International Webmasters Association. He has also lectured extensively on a variety of topics.

This was first published in September 2003

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