Last reviewed on December 30, 2013   —  12 Comments

We're seeing a rash of errors with the To-Do Bar lately. This following message appears at the bottom, where the Task List is:

"The operation failed. An object could not be found."

Also, in the To-Do List in the Tasks module, the error message is

"Cannot display the folder."

Depending on the cause, it may be easily fixed by closing Outlook and reopening it using the /resettodobar switch then restart Outlook.

When it's caused by a corrupted profile (often due to using Easy Transfer or copying and pasting a *.pst file over the current *.pst file), check for duplicate *.pst files in your profile and delete the extras. If this doesn't help, you'll need to make a new profile.

How to use the /resettodobar switch

Close Outlook. At the Start search field on Vista or Windows7 Start menu or in the Start menu, Run command (Windows key + R), type

outlook.exe /resettodobar

Then press Enter (or OK) to restart Outlook.

Note: Make sure there is a space between the words.

How to reset the To-Do Bar

Delete duplicate *.pst files

Close Outlook

Go to Control Panel, Mail, Data Files. This will open the Account settings dialog to the Data Files tab. (Search for Mail after opening the Control panel, if its not visible).

Remove duplicate pst files

Do you have 2 identical *.pst files listed? If so, select one of them and click Remove then re-open Outlook.

Tip: While this procedure will not delete your *.pst file from the hard drive, if you don't have a backup of your *.pst, now is a good time to make one. Before removing the duplicated listing, select the *.pst file and click the Open Folder Location button. This opens Windows Explorer to the location where the *.pst file is. Make a copy of the *.pst.

More Information

How to start Outlook in safe mode
Outlook’s Command Line Switches
Where Are My Files?

See Error Message: Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. if the error is "Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. Unable to open the Outlook window"


  1. TimR says

    We've had this problem in our environment since migrating from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010. The problem though, is that even after running Outlook with resettodobar, after the user closes outlook, the next time they open oulook, the problem comes back. So far the only thing that we can find that fixes the issue is to create a PST backup of their mailbox, delete the mailbox, then create a new mailbox and import the PST. However, this can cause other problems with other users due to Exchange caching email addresses. Also, an upgrade to Outlook 2010 fixes the problem.

    There has to be a more permanent fix for this than the resettodobar fix. Hard deleting the ToDo and Reminders using MFCMAPI also often results in a short term fix with the problem coming back next run of Outlook.

  2. David P says

    I did the usual Google to find a solution.
    I even did the Help-Office Diagnosics routine (why didn't that check pick up the error?)
    My problem was, as you suggested, "2 identical *.pst files listed".
    I followed your instructions and now
    1. my Tasks appear in my To-Do Bar (again), and
    2. my Reminders are displaying as expected (without giving me an error indication).
    Many, many thanks!

  3. Jon says

    I have the problem of being unable to display To Do list or tasks in my main Outlook view, and when I bring Tasks to the screen by clicking on the lower left hand Tasks tab, the To Do list cannot be displayed. I tried running outlook.exe /resettodobar but this had no effect. I had multiple .pst files but deleted the extras, still with no effect. This problem began after I copied one of my Outlook mail folders as a .pst file to an external drive. Please suggest what to try next. thank you.

  4. Kalala says

    thank you! thank you! thank you!
    battled for months with this on an old laptop and was very frustrated to have it happen again.

  5. David says

    Wow, the cleanviews switch fixed my task pane issue. Before I only had the message "Operation Failed" where the task pane should have been. (Outlook2010)

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Do you have more than one data file in your profile? If so, try setting a different pst file as default and see if it works, then set the original one back as default.

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