So Outlook crashed on me yesterday...

...Ok, so that's not terribly interesting. But what happened next was: there was a "Restart" option on the resulting crash dialog. When I clicked it, Outlook re-opened along with all of my previously-open messages!

Well, surprise, surprise - Outlook missed an opportunity to annoy me!

But now I'm curious: is there a way to make this happen intentionally? I do enjoy closing Outlook now and then, to reboot or just to get it out of my hair. But losing track of the messages I'd been reading isn't much fun. I suppose I could flag them or something, but that's tedious - I'd rather just close the app on a whim, knowing I could pick back up where I left off later.

So: is there an option for this somewhere, buried deep within the bowels of Outlook's labyrinthine Options dialog? Or failing that... Any good tips on making Outlook crash on demand?

  • If you kill Outlook from, say, Process Explorer what is the behaviour on restart? Does it give you the Restart dialogue? – Rory Alsop May 6 '11 at 8:41
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    @Rory: no... But you gave me an idea: I wonder if Outlook is using the Restart Manager to accomplish this... – Shog9 May 6 '11 at 22:06
  • Killing Outlook process with, say, Process Explorer doesn't return Outlook to previous state; However, File -> Exit, and re-launching Outlook.exe with /restore switch does! – user66001 Mar 17 '16 at 6:21
  • I tried the file>exit and then re-open with /restore, and no luck? I had one extra window open with outlook and it didn't get restored. I'm using outlook 2016 though. – boomhauer Feb 26 '17 at 22:00

Perhaps use the /restore switch on the command line:


  • DrClown - Please copy the important content from the linked page, to your answer, to prevent link rot – user66001 Mar 10 '16 at 16:45
  • FTA: Use the 'restore' switch / flag. Your shortcut's target should look something like this: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE" /restore Or, for one time use, you can just run that from the command line. – Patrick Oct 11 '17 at 6:09

1) make a shortcut to the Outlook application on your desktop (you may already have one there)

2) right-click the shortcut and choose the last menu item "Properties"

3) in the field labeled "Target" you should see a file path to where Outlook is installed on your PC. Click to the end of that path and add /restore

It should look something like this:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE" /restore

Now when you launch Outlook via that shortcut it will restore all open items. Really useful if your machine crashes or Windows force restarts based on a critical update.

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    This is just a way to automate DrClown’s answer from 2½ years ago. Also, the existing shortcut to Outlook probably doesn’t have an editable “Target” field. – G-Man Says 'Reinstate Monica' Oct 15 '14 at 22:50
  • Yes, which is an improvement on Dr Clown's answer. Thanks November man. He's right the existing shortcut doesn't have an editable target field, but since you tell us to create one, I can use that. – Eoin Oct 31 '16 at 17:01
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    any suggestions for outlook 2016? – boomhauer Feb 26 '17 at 22:05

You can attempt to hibernate the process to disk.

If it works, you get your messages. If it doesn't work and crashes, you get your messages back.

Unless it completely doesn't work, this should be a win-win situation... :)

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