I want to delete all my Outlook accounts, remove all configurations and everything and start afresh. Basically, like do a complete reset. But, it doesn't let me remove my last account saying something about data files and all. How do I nuke Outlook and start afresh? I'm using Outlook 2013

  • Can't you create a new account and then delete that last one which you weren't allowed to get rid of earlier?
    – Karan
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 8:16

4 Answers 4


To ensure you get a complete reset, uninstall it, delete the data files and reinstall.

Here are instructions to help if you need them; Install or remove individual Office programs and components

  • 1
    Where are the data files? Which all locations? Want to confirm
    – pratnala
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 13:08
  • 6
    By default the data files are located at %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook. Check out Locating the Outlook data files.
    – CharlieRB
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 14:14
  • 1
    The link @CharlieRB provided no longer works.
    – NFR
    Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 2:35

Re-installing is waste of time...

just go to control panel>>mail(32bit)>>show profiles>delete all profiles here.

then open the outlook, you will be opening an fresh account.

NOTE:1.before deleting don't forget to take mail backup.

NOTE:2. On windows 8, 8.1 and 10 you can use windows + x and select Control Panel.

  • 1
    Wish I knew this earlier!
    – pratnala
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 3:24
  • 1
    Here on Windows 8.1 Mail does not show up, not even in the search. I have to switch to Category View and then go to User Accounts and Family Safety and there I have a Mail icon. ?-) Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 7:12
  • 2
    Control Panel > User Accounts > Mail(32-bit) > Show Profiles > Remove
    – ZygD
    Commented Sep 28, 2018 at 8:25
  • 1
    This worked after hours of debugging issues with Outlook, including a Repair. Can't believe this config isn't accessible within Outlook itself. Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 23:21
  • OP asked to reinstall, not delete profiles... Commented Mar 4 at 15:34

Shockingly, you can delete all your profiles and even uninstall, reboot, and reinstall Outlook and still have nasty issues that linger.

Some stuff that will not be reset includes....

  • Any VBA scrips
  • Any ribbon bar customizations
  • The database of which emails have already been downloaded via POP3

...and lots of other stuff that can haunt you.

To completely reset Outlook, you must....

  1. Uninstall the Outlook application
  2. Delete all the profiles
  3. Delete the tree under the registry key [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office] (or you can go in and only delete the sub-trees for your Outlook version if you want to keep state for other Office applications)
  4. Delete (or rename to a .bak) the folder C:\Users\[your user name]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office or %localappdata%\Microsoft\Office
  5. Delete (or rename to a .bak) the folder C:\Users\[your user name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Office or %appdata%\Microsoft\Office
  6. Delete (or just don't use) the previous PST file.

I only know all this because I had a nasty problem where Outlook started downloading messages over POP3 and then deleting them. Deleting all profiles, PST files, and uninstalling/reinstalling did not solve the problem. Only after following all the above steps did the problem go away. I still can't figure out exactly where the POP3 messages database is actually stored.

  • I tried this and hit a snag. Even a system restore wouldn't recover it properly. It got stuck on 'Profile loading' following re-install. At that point, I had to open in it safe mode (run > outlook.exe /safe) and set up a new profile as detailed here - intowindows.com/… Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 10:40

In the recent versions of Outlook the Mail option in the Control Panel has been removed. Even so, you can use the /profiles switch for outlook.exe to open the Outlook Mail Profiles window even if Outlook accounts are hosed.

Run outlook.exe /profiles from the start menu to open the Profile selection window. Now click options then delete. If warned about data loss you'll need to confirm removal. Repeat for any other profiles.

If you want to remove the PST, OST & NK2 files (effectively all your data so caveat emptor) you can delete them from the folders:

  1. %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Outlook
  2. %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Outlook Files

Now re-open Outlook and you'll be prompted to create a new profile and add an email address to it.

The entire process can be completed in under 5 minutes, but you'll then need to re-download all your email so expect that to take some time for people with large mail archives.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .