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How to Fix ‘Cannot Expand Folder Error in Outlook’ Issue

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Outlook is one of the most popular email clients and has been around for quite some time. However, like everything else in the tech world, it’s not immune to a few bugs and glitches here and there.

A rather frustrating issue that you may encounter when using Outlook is a pop-up that says ‘Cannot expand folder’ when you try to access a particular folder within Outlook. The problem started in Outlook 2010 and has been reported in almost every version of Outlook since then.

Make the folder “Visible”

First, make sure there are more subfolders than the limit, that is, a maximum of 500. Then, check whether the permission for the .ost folder view is assigned or not.

  • In the Outlook interface, right-click the folder you are concerned about and click the Properties option.
  • Now, go to the Permissions tab and make sure the “Folder Visible” permission is assigned.
  • If not, click the Edit option and assign it. Click OK to save your settings.
  • Now your problem can be solved.

Disable cached mode

When Cached Exchange Mode is turned on, it may cause problems to expand the respective folder due to synchronization issues.

It is suggested to disable Cached Exchange Mode in Outlook in such situation. Follow this process

  • In your Outlook interface, go to File> Account Settings> Account Settings.
  • In the Email section, on the Account Settings page, double-click the account that is causing the problem. Now, you will open the Change Account page. Here, in the Offline Settings section, select the Use Cached Exchange Mode option and click Next to follow the additional instructions and save these settings.
  • Now, restart the Microsoft Outlook application and try expanding the folder.

Disable Microsoft Outlook add-ins

Conflicts with third-party plug-ins can affect mailbox synchronization and application operation. You can try to disable the Outlook add-ins using the following procedure and then try to expand the folder of the problematic account.

  • In the Microsoft Outlook application interface, click File> Information> Options.
  • On the Outlook Options page, click Add-Ins. Go to the right pane and then click the Go option in Manage> COM Add-ins.
  • Now deselect the plugins and click OK.
  • Restart the Microsoft Outlook application and then try expanding the folder again.

Repair Outlook application

Due to some bugs, errors or other problems, the application may also get corrupted. Taking this as a guess, you can try to do an online repair in your Microsoft Office application suite. Make sure you have a high network speed to perform this repair. The procedure is the next.

  • Go to Control Panel and click on Programs and Features option.
  • Go to the installed Microsoft Office program and right click on it. Select the Change option from the drop-down list.
  • Click Yes to continue.
  • Now select the repair option as Quick Repair and click on Repair.
  • Follow the instructions below to perform the repair.
  • After the repair is complete, try to access the folder from the Outlook application.

Create a new Outlook profile

Corrupted Outlook profile is another problem and could be the cause of this error. Outlook users can create a new Outlook profile at any time and set it as the default.

Follow these steps to create a new Outlook profile.

  • Go to Control Panel and click on Mail option.
  • In the Mail Settings dialog box, click the Show Profiles option.
  • Click Add to add a new profile. Then provide a name for the Outlook profile and click OK.
  • Now set up this profile in your account by selecting the option that says Always use this profile and then selecting the account from the drop-down list. Then click OK.
  • Now start the Outlook application with this new profile and check if the problem is solved.

Repair Outlook database file

The corrupt .ost file may be the reason for the error, but here you have the advantage that you can recreate the .ost file of your configured Exchange Server account at any time. You just need to open the .ost file location from Account Settings in Outlook and then delete the problematic .ost file from there using Simply Delete option.

Final remarks: How to Fix ‘Cannot Expand Folder Error in Outlook’ Issue

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Dian Erwin
Dian Erwin
Dian Erwin is a writer for Bollyinside, covering topics related to computing, such as laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. Tony spends much too much of his free time on Twitter, reading speculative fiction novels, playing video games, and reading comic books. He also enjoys reading video game manuals.


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