Why MS Outlook Gets Crashes, When Read Corrupt Emails

Written By Deepmala
Chirag Arora
Approved By Chirag Arora  
Published On October 3rd, 2023
Reading Time 3 Minutes Reading

Microsoft Outlook is a desktop-based application, developed by Microsoft in 1996, providing email facility to clients with an additional feature of personal information management.

Since its introduction, many versions have been developed and latest updated version is Outlook 2016. MS Outlook stores the account data in the form of PST File (i.e., Personal Storage Table File) with an extension of .pst, which is a binary type file and stores entire data like emails, contacts, calendars, etc.

Sometimes, Microsoft may consist of some emails which when accessed, may crash. These mails actually are emails that have gone corrupted. Major problem with such mails is that user cannot delete such message, because as soon as these mails are accessed, crashes instantly.

Causes for Outlook Crashing

Outlook crashes lead to very frustrating situation, because the problem usually occurs randomly and sometimes it gets difficult to determine the cause of the crash. Microsoft crashes due to following causes:

  • Corrupted PST File:- The most genuine reason for Outlook corruption, instability and unexplained weird behavior is a corrupted PST file.
  • Corrupted Profile:- Sometimes an profile might get corrupted leading to crashing.
  • Corrupted Configuration File:- In addition to PST, OST and profiles, It has several other files like Outlook Configuration Files, which may also be corrupted.
  • Corrupted Outlook Emails:- Emails with or without attachments can also be corrupted which causes crashing.

Causes for Email Corruption –

Following are the reasons for the cause:

  • Viruses or other Malicious Software:- In computer system, many viruses can infect and damage the emails and makes them inaccessible.
  • Terminating System Abnormally:- If system/application is quit abnormally, then emails are prone to get corrupted or damaged.
  • Faults within Networking Device:- Emails reside on the network server and we access them in system. If network devices like routers, gateway, etc. have, defects in them, email may be corrupted.
  • Improper Mapping of Emails:- Mails of may not be properly matched with the preexisting folders of it.

Solution To Deal With This Trouble

To deal with such problem, users can to delete the corrupted message without crashing  by disabling the reading pane. There are different conditions for this:

Condition 1: When MS Outlook Cannot Open

To work around with this issue, Open MS Outlook in Safe Mode because this will enable users to disable the Reading Pane. The procedure to open Reading pane varies according to the Windows version that is being currently used:

  • For Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8
    Start >> Type: outlook.exe/safe
    start outlook safe mode
  • For Windows XP
    Start>>run: outlook.exe/safe

Condition 2: When MS Outlook Can Open

In such condition, open email client and then perform following steps:

  • For 2002 and previous: View>>Preview Pane>>Off
  • For 2003 and 2007: View>> Reading Pane>> Off
  • For 2010 and 2003: In tab Select View>> Reading Panel>> Off


Even after performing the above-mentioned procedures, if still crashes upon selecting such emails, then it means that the PST file is damaged. To recover data from such corrupt PST files, users are advised to use MS Outlook’s inbuilt tool called SCANPST.exe or a third party application.

Also Read: Does Your Outlook Crash When Printing?