HOW TO: Ways to fix Outlook error ‘cannot open your default email folders’

Microsoft Outlook may be the most widely used email service around the globe, but users have come to accept the good with the very bad. Yes, Outlook offers an extensive and exclusive range of features as well as its friendly user experience. But there’s the flip side: User forums are filled with anger over errors that seem to have zero solutions. For this article, we will examine and hopefully resolve perhaps the most common Outlook error: “cannot open your default email folders.” This Outlook error mostly appears when you are trying to open your Outlook profile. It generally happens because of a corrupted OST file or the execution of Outlook in compatibility mode.

Why OST file corruption happens

OST files are the files that allow users to use Outlook while they are offline. It is actually a synchronized copied element of the accounts saved on your device that enables you to continue to use Outlook even when the program gets disconnected from MS Exchange Server.

These files can become corrupted because of various reasons. Some of the reasons are:

  • Deletion of any file or folder removed from Exchange folder.
  • Intrusion of any malware or virus.
  • Disruption in the file synchronization process due to sudden or abnormal shutdown failure.
  • Some internal discrepancies in Outlook causing abnormal Outlook termination.
  • Creation of some bad sectors in the hard drive where the OST file is stored.
  • Failure of any networking device that might disrupt the synchronizing process of the OST file.
  • Any changes in the internal structures of the OST file.
  • Installed plugins sometimes may damage Outlook performance, thus causing damage to the OST file.

Fixing OST file corruption

Here’s some ways to begin fixing the problem:

  1. Remove those profiles that are not being used from the address “Control Panel > Mail > Show profiles.”
  2. Create another copy of OST file.
  3. Even if the error doesn’t get resolved, create another new profile from while using Outlook Profile Helper or manually.

Outlook error caused by running in compatibility mode

Outlook Error
You might have witnessed these errors:

Cannot open your default email folders. Information store could not be opened,”


“Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window. The server is not available. Contact your administrator if this condition persists.”


“Cannot display the folder. File access is denied. You do not have the permission required to access the file C:Usersusernamelocalsettingsapplication datamicrosoftoutlookoutlook.ost”

If you have enabled compatibility mode mistakenly, just disable it. If you haven’t, do not enable it for Outlook. Users typically enable it when they are required to run the troubleshoot compatibility wizard. Also, compatibility mode is not required for any version of Outlook on Vista or Windows 7 or any other Windows OS. This mode is also not needed for any application that is supported on any Windows OS or for recently released applications.

The user can switch off compatibility mode in a 64-bit operating system by following these easy steps:

  • Switch to the mentioned address “C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficeOffice XXOutlook.exe”
  • Right-click on exe and then follow up by clicking on Properties then Compatibility tab.
  • Uncheck the checkbox called “Run this program in compatibility mode” box, thereafter click Apply and OK.

And in case, you are unable to place the Compatibility tab, follow the following steps:

  • Click on Startand search for Program Compatibility Troubleshooter.
  • Start Program Compatibility Troubleshooter; select Next option to proceed.
  • Select Outlook XX from the appeared list of programs. Following the steps of the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter.
  • Switch to the mentioned address “C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficeOffice XXOutlook.exe”
  • Right-click on exe and then follow up by clicking on Properties then Compatibility tab.
  • Uncheck the checkbox called “Run this program in compatibility mode” box, thereafter click Apply and OK.

If this issue is experienced over an Exchange email account that is configured on your Outlook, you can diagnose the error by trying the following steps:

  1. If your program is executing along with a running Windows Server and/or over a firewall, then disable the firewall and then connect it with the server directly without any firewall.
  2. If this Outlook error gets resolved, then you will be required to reconfigure your firewall to allow Exchange to sync.
  3. And if the Outlook error still persists even after disabling the firewall, create a new mail profile from Outlook. You will also need to reconfigure your account.

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How to Restore Emails from OST file Outlook 2013?

MS Outlook 2013, like earlier Outlook versions, uses OST file to save a local replica of Exchange mailbox data. This file comes handy when user wishes to work on his mailbox even if Exchange isn’t available. But, it can’t be opened directly in Outlook if its parent account gets disconnected from Exchange. In such a case the OST file is called an ‘orphan’ file and extracting emails and other data from it can become a real pain.

Although Microsoft came up with the concept of using data files to save mailbox data locally in order to make backing up and archiving more convenient, OST and PST files have in some ways complicated mailbox management; and that holds especially true for OSTs. If you access an Exchange mailbox through Outlook, a local OST file is created to save a replica of mailbox data which the user can access and work with even if the mail server isn’t available. However, the basic nature of OST files makes managing mailbox data quite tricky for users.

The need to Restore mails from OST File

OST files have several shortcomings because of which, users often face the need to extract emails and other data stored within these files and save them in some other format:

  • OSTs cannot be transferred between different machines. If users need to access their mailbox data saved within OST files on another machine, it cannot be done directly through a simple copy-paste mechanism.
  • If the account that originally created an OST file gets deleted from the mail server, it cannot be opened directly from within Outlook.
  • In Outlook 2013 and 2016, data locally edited and saved within critical folders like Contacts, Calendars, Sent Items, etc. is not synced with the mail server and is thus not backed up there. In the event of damage to OST file, there’s no direct way to regain access to that local data since it doesn’t exist on the server.

Users who faced the need to extract OST file data because of any of the above-mentioned reasons make use of manual as well as automated ways to achieve it. For your reference, we’ve compiled a list of the most widely used and accepted techniques you can use to restore OST files if you’re sailing in the same boat.

Manual techniques to Restore OST files

In no specific order, these techniques can help you regain access to all your Exchange or other IMAP account data depending upon your exact problem scenario:

Scenario 1: If your Exchange account is intact but OST file gets corrupted

This is one of the most frequently encountered problems by Exchange users. OST files get damaged easily but if your Exchange profile is intact and you are in the habit of regularly syncing your local data with your server mailbox, regaining access to all your data should simply be a matter of manually creating a new OST file and downloading your mailbox data from the server again. Here are the steps:

  1. Quit all running instances of Outlook and open Control Panel
  2. Open the “Mail” option and in the ‘Mail Setup’ dialog box that opens, click on “Email Accounts”
  3. The next dialog that opens will display all your Outlook profiles / accounts. Here, click on the “Data Files” tab and choose the respective OST file from the list
  4. Now click on “Open File Location” to open the Windows Explorer window with the OST file’s location
  5. Close the ‘Account Settings’ and ‘Mail Setup’ windows
  6. In the Explorer window, create a copy (backup) of the OST file. Thereafter, right-click on it and click on “Delete”
  7. Start the Outlook application again to automatically create a new OST file for that account (doing so will download all the data from the Exchange server into the newly created OST file)

You should remember that if you’re using Outlook 2013 / 2016, only the data residing on the mail server will be downloaded into the new OST file. This will include your emails and the folders you have manually synced with the Exchange account. Any local data will not be downloaded since it doesn’t exist on the server. To get access to any such data you will need to convert the old OST to PST format and then open it directly within Outlook. You can either use the Outlook “Import & Export wizard” to convert OST to PST or take the help of reliable software Stellar OST to PST Converter to do so (skip to last section to discover how this product can help).

Scenario 2: If your Exchange account has been deleted or lost

If this happens, your “orphaned” OST file will most likely become useless since you won’t be able to open it directly unless you reconnect to Exchange and re-sync it. For this you will need a unique MAPI address to act as a bridge between Outlook and the Exchange server. However if this isn’t an option, the only way to access the data contained within the orphaned OST file is to convert it to PST format using Stellar OST to PST Converter. (Here you won’t have the option to use Outlook Import Export Wizard since you’ll need to open the OST file from within Outlook and without Exchange that won’t be possible).

Best Automated Solution to restore mails from OST file

If the manual technique doesn’t work or if you are dealing with an orphaned OST file, converting it to PST format is a task best handled by a professional product like Stellar OST to PST Converter. The advanced software is equipped with some very powerful algorithms that allow it to convert even the most severely damaged OST files to PST format files that can be used to access all mailbox contents including emails, attachments, contacts, calendars, notes, journals, etc. This software is your best bet if you wish to perform conversion of encrypted OST files or wish to extract only selected emails from within OST files and save them in MSG, EML, RTF, HTML, or PDF formats.

Final Thoughts…

So should a user completely shun the usage of OST files? Well obviously that isn’t an option since OST files are the Microsoft norm for saving Exchange data locally. What is needed is for users to stay aware of the techniques they can use to regain all their mailbox data if any disaster like virus infection or accidental deletion or severe corruption befalls their OST files. Converting OST files to PST format is the best way to salvage all the data stored within them and thus, having a product like Stellar OST to PST Converter handy goes a long way.


Connector Sharing

Connector sharing allows you to share files stored in on-premises Network Shares and SharePoint locations, as well as other file storage services like Dropbox or Box. When sharing on-prem files, a copy of the file is uploaded to the sender’s File Box.

This feature allows you to:

  • Share on-prem files securely via the Email with ShareFile or Get a Link options, without granting recipients access to your on-premises storage location.
  • Share files stored in other file storage services via the Personal Cloud Connectors feature.
  • Share files stored in a Connector with IRM protections. Click here for information on Protected Sharing. (This capability requires StorageZones Controller 4.2 or later)

System Requirements

  • StorageZones Controller 3.4 or later (if sharing on-prem files, not required for Personal Cloud Connector sharing)
  • Microsoft .NET 4.5.2 installed on the StorageZones Controller Server

Plan Requirements

  • This feature is available for Enterprise accounts

User Requirements

  • To share a file from a connector location, you must be an Employee user with the “Use Personal File Box” permission.
  • An Employee user’s ShareFile Username must match the user’s email address in Active Directory.
  • Users must be on the same Windows Active Directory domain as the StorageZones Controller.
  • Client users cannot utilize this feature.

Enable Connector Sharing

View Only Support

  • In order to share a file from your Connector as a View-Only message, you must have a View-Only enabled File Box.
  • Click here for more information on enabling View-Only Sharing.
  • This feature requires SZC v3.4.1 or later.

Share a File from Connectors (Web App 4.6 and later)

Navigate to the Network Share or SharePoint location where your file is stored. To share, right-click a file and choose Email with ShareFile or Get a Link.

This feature allows you to share on-premises files with the same customizable Notification and Security message options available for files stored on ShareFile servers. The Expiration Policy you set in Message Options will override that of the File Box. When sharing on-premises files, your file is copied to the File Box where it is subsequently downloaded by your recipient. Your recipient does not download files directly from your on-premises storage location. Due to this behavior, please allow your file time to upload to the File Box when using the Get a Link option.

Note Regarding File Version

Your file is copied to the File Box when it is sent. Due to this behavior, your recipient will receive the version of your file as it was at the time of the share. Updates to your file are not automatically uploaded to the File Box. If you update your file, you must compose another message to send the latest version of the file.

Supported Apps

Connector Sharing is supported on the following ShareFile apps:

  • ShareFile for Android v4.1 and later
  • ShareFile for Windows 10 v4.1 and later
  • ShareFile for iOS v4.0 and later
  • ShareFile Web App v4.6 and later
  • ShareFile Plugin for Microsoft Outlook v3.9 and later
  • ShareFile Desktop App v1.4 and later.

Note Regarding Restricted Zones

A user cannot use this feature if their File Box is located on a Restricted Zone.

Note regarding Users Provisioned by XenMobile

User accounts provisioned by a XenMobile server do not receive File Box access. ShareFile recommends provisioning users via the User Management Tool or manually enabling the “Use personal File Box” permission for each user.

Known Issues

  • If the user attempting to share from a CIFS Connector has an on-premise File Box, the share may fail. In the event of this error, ShareFile recommends using NTLM authentication.


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    7022715: Outlook prompts users that the Filr plugin has not been enabled

    This document (7022715) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


    Micro Focus Filr 3.3

    Micro Focus Filr Plugin for MS Office and Outlook


    Starting with Filr 3.2, Filr provides a plugin for integrating Filr with Microsoft Office and Outlook (as described in the Filr Administration Guide). The plugin is installed using a single FilrPluginforOfficeandOutlook.msi installer for both Microsoft Office and Outlook applications and requires the Filr administrator to enable the plugin for each (a) MS Outlook and (b) MS Office individually before users can begin to use it.

    If the Filr administrator is unable to enable the Outlook plugin (see additional information for more details) but has already enabled the MS Office plugin, end users using MS Outlook will see the following warning pop-up every time they start MS Outlook:

    The administrator has not enabled the Filr Plugin for Office and Outlook.

    The only way to get rid of this warning during MS Outlook startup is to either enable the plugin for MS Outlook (which may not even be possible depending on the type of Filr license) or uninstall the plugin altogether.


    A fix for this issue is available in the Filr 3.3.3 Update. With the fix in place, the warning will only appear when user attempts to login from the Filr settings tab.

    Users must download the updated Filr Plugin for MS Office and Outlook and install with the option to Update when presented in the installation wizard.

    Additional Information

    The plugin for Microsoft Office is only available to Filr customers with the Advanced Edition license. Therefore, any customer with a Standard Edition license that enables the Plugin for MS Office results in seeing the warning if using MS Outlook.

    Additionally, Filr customers with the Advanced Edition license, that only wish to use the Plugin for MS Office (but not MS Outlook) result in seeing the warning if using MS Outlook.


    This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for NetIQ/Novell/SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented “AS IS” WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.


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