Add-ins make many of our favorite programs even better to use and allow for a nice customized experience while working, but what do you do when an add-in is causing problems and preventing you from using Outlook to get your work done?

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

Shattered glass effect courtesy of PhotoFunia.

The Question

SuperUser reader f.ardelian needs to know how to disable a problematic add-in without starting Outlook:

All the guides I have found online start with “go to the Tools menu”. My problem is that Outlook 2013 will not start at all because it gets stuck at start-up while it tries to load the TeamViewer add-in.

How can I disable the TeamViewer add-in?

Is there a simple, straightforward way to deal with a problematic Outlook add-in?

The Answer

SuperUser contributor Raystafarian has the answer for us:

Start Outlook in safe mode: outlook.exe /safe

If you are having problems with a Microsoft Office program, you may be able to use User-Initiated Safe mode to make it possible to run the program. You can find more info on Microsoft Office’s Safe Mode here.

Note: Since Raystafarian’s answer was a bit brief, we have added a small bit from the link he shared below.

To start a Microsoft Office program in User-Initiated Safe mode:

On the Microsoft Windows Start menu

  • Click Start, point to All Programs, and then point to Microsoft Office.
  • Press and hold the CTRL key, and then click the name of the Microsoft Office program that you want to run.

In the Command Prompt window

  • At the command prompt, use the /safe option when you start the program.

To stop User-Initiated Safe mode, exit the program then start it again normally.


Special Note: Another method was mentioned in the discussion thread, but it was pointed out as being an insecure method if an add-in happened to be malicious in nature.

If you ever find yourself with a problematic add-in in the future, Raystafarian’s method will provide a quick and easy way to get your Outlook installation up and running again so you can deal with that pesky add-in the easy way.

Have something to add to the explanation? Sound off in the comments. Want to read more answers from other tech-savvy Stack Exchange users? Check out the full discussion thread here.

Akemi Iwaya
Akemi Iwaya has been part of the How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media team since 2009. She has previously written under the pen name "Asian Angel" and was a Lifehacker intern before joining How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media. She has been quoted as an authoritative source by ZDNet Worldwide.
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