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Outlook data file cannot be accessed: 4 Fixes

Microsoft’s Office Suite is one of the best productivity software suites ever made. The company has put a lot of thought and effort into each program and they continue getting better with each version.

In this article, we’re talking about Outlook, more specifically, the “Outlook data file cannot be accessed” error, its causes and fixes.

Also read: Outlook spellcheck not working: 6 Fixes


What causes this Outlook error?

More often than not, the Outlook data file cannot be accessed error is a result of a corrupted Outlook profile. However, it can also be triggered by the following reasons

  • Incorrect Outlook settings.
  • Outdated program version.
  • Broken or imcomplete Office installation.

How to fix this Outlook error?

Here are a few solutions you can try out to fix the Outlook data file cannot be accessed error.

Create a new Outlook profile

Step 1: Delete your profile from the local Outlook profile directory. By default, the directory is at the following location. Reboot your computer once you’ve deleted the file. A

C:\Users\[Your username here]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outloook
How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

Step 2: Now open Outlook and click on File

How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

Step 3: Click on Account Settings followed by Manage Profiles

How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

Step 4: Under Profiles, click Show Profiles…

How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

Step 5: Click the Add button to add an email account to the newly created profile.

How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

Now restart Outlook and try again.


Change mail delivery location

Changing the mail delivery location can also help with solving the problem. Here’s how.

Step 1: Start Outlook and click File in the top-left corner.

Outlook data file cannot be accessed: 4 Fixes

Step 2: Click Info followed by Account Settings and then Account Settings again.

Outlook data file cannot be accessed: 4 Fixes

Step 3: Head over to the Data Files tab and click Add.

Outlook data file cannot be accessed: 4 Fixes

Step 4: Chose a location for the new file and click OK.

Step 5: Back in the Data Files tab, make sure you chose the new file as the default.

Now restart Outlook and try again. The Outlook data file cannot be accessed error should be fixed.


Take ownership of your Outlook files

Changing ownership or reclaiming it can also fix this issue.

Step 1: Navigate to your Outlook data file, right-click it and select Properties. 

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Step 2: Head over to the Security tab and click on Advanced.

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Step 3: Click Change.

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Step 4: Enter your account name in the Enter the object name to select field and click the Check Name button. Click OK when you’re done.

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Note that you can select it manually by clicking the Advanced button followed by the Find Now button if you don’t know your account name. This will show a list of all user groups on your computer, and you can select your group from here. 

Step 5: Check the Replace all child object permission entries with inheritable permission entries from this object checkbox and click Apply.

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Now restart your PC, and the Outlook data file cannot be accessed error should be resolved. 


Repair your Outlook installation

Sometimes, you might have a broken Outlook install. Follow these steps to repair your installation.

Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for Outlook. Click on Uninstall from the right side pane.

How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

Step 2; Find your version of Outlook in the list of programs. If you’ve installed the entire Microsoft Suite at once, search for that instead, click it and click the Change button.

How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

Step 3: You’ll see two options as explained below.

  • Quick Repair: This will work offline and resolve the most common issues with your Outlook Installation. 
  • Online Repair: As the name suggests, this option uses the internet and performs a more thorough installation repair. 
How to fix the 'Outlook Cannot Expand folder' error?

We recommend trying quick repair first and then moving on to online repair if the former doesn’t solve the error.

Also read: Outlook notifications not working: 7 Fixes

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