"Outlook could not create the work file" error when you start Outlook

Applies to: Microsoft Outlook 2010Outlook 2013Outlook 2016


When you start Microsoft Outlook, you receive the following error message:

Outlook could not create the work file. Check the temp environment variable.


This problem occurs when the Cache string value in the registry doesn't point to a valid directory.


Warning Serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly by using Registry Editor or by using another method. These problems might require you to reinstall the operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that these problems can be solved. Modify the registry at your own risk.

To resolve this issue follow these steps.
  1. Exit Outlook.
  2. Start Registry Editor. To do this, use one of the following procedures, as appropriate for your situation:
    • Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 8: Press Windows Key+R to open a Run dialog box. Type regedit.exe and then press OK.
    • Windows 7 or Windows Vista: Click Start, type regedit.exe in the search box, and then press Enter.
  3. Locate and then click the following subkey:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
  4. Right-click the Cache key, and then click Modify.

    Note The Cache string value varies, depending on your version of Windows.

    Windows 10, or Windows 8.1
    DWORD: Cache
    Data: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache

    Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista
    DWORD: Cache
    Data: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files

    Windows XP
    DWORD: Cache
    Data: %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files
  5. On the File menu, click Exit to exit Registry Editor.