Outlook Express Could Not Be Started

Mel writes, "I cannot get Outlook Express to open at all. The error says, "The identity login could not be started. Some components are either missing or incorectly configured. When I click OK I get a message saying 'Outlook Express could not be started. It may not be installed correctly. Contact Microsoft support for further assistance. (ox8007045a). I then get the message that MSOE.DLL could not be initiated. Outlook Express may not be installed correctly.' I have XP Home with SP2. Can you help?"

This vague error message persists for Outlook Express users through many versions of the product. It is often caused by other applications, like antivirus software, running in the background during the process that upgrades the previous version of Outlook Express to the version tied to the latest Windows Service Pack. There are a number of potential fixes for Outlook Express, each with their own distinct set of potential problems.

If you have software like antivirus and other apps that automatically launch on startup running in the background, it's a good idea to shut it down temporarily before trying to repair Outlook Express. You can do this by going to Start > Run and typing MSCONFIG and then unchecking all non-Microsoft services in the start up list or by using a tool like SmartClose to assist you in shutting down currently running applications.

Be warned that if you have any messages stored in Outlook Express, all of these methods may delete those stored messages. If you are concerned with losing messages, make a copy of everything in System Drive:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{GUID}\Microsoft\Outlook Express before continuing.

If you don't see any files in this folder or if you can't see the folder, open Tools > Folder Options in Windows Explorer and select Show hidden files and folders.

Method 1:

One of the most common causes for this error is a corrupt *.dbx file From that same location you backed up the files associated with Outlook Express above, delete the Folders.dbx file. Empty your trash and re-launch Outlook Express.

Method 2:

If the first method fails, more drastic measures may be required. If Outlook Express fails to repair itself after deleting the Folders.dbx file, it might be necessary to re-install the latest service pack on your system. Follow the steps to shutdown background applications before proceeding. SmartClose may be your best bet for this because it helps make sure you don't stop any system critical processes. With all background processes closed, run the Windows XP SP2 install procedure again and check for cumulative updates to Windows following the release of XP SP2.

When All Else Fails

If following these steps did not solve your problem consider immediate live tech support when you ask an expert.