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OLEXP: "Identity Switch Canceled" when starting Outlook Express

This article was previously published under Q224463
For information about the differences between Microsoft Outlook Express and Microsoft Outlook e-mail clients, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
257824 OL2000: Differences Between Outlook and Outlook Express
When you attempt to start Outlook Express 5, one of the following symptoms may occur:
  • You may receive the following error message:
    Identity Switch Canceled. The current identity could not be changed because one of the applications was unable to switch. Close any open dialog boxes in other applications before trying again.
  • Outlook Express 5 does not start.
This issue can occur if the following registry key is missing or damaged:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\<Account ID>\<User ID>
Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

The User ID string value should be exactly the same as the name of the Account ID. See examples below for clarification.

If the User ID is missing, you can resolve this behavior by adding a string value with the name of "User ID" to the following registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\<Account ID>
In this key, <Account ID> represents your identity.

If the User ID is listed, then delete the User ID string value and create a new one using the procedure above. For example, if the following identity is represented, its User ID should have the value data of 12345ABC-ABCD-12A1-ABC1-12A12AB12345:
If you have more than one identity and need to find out which one you need to edit, look at the Username string value of the
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\<Account ID>

Using the example above, to find the Username string value, you would look under the following key:

Article ID: 224463 - Last Review: 01/24/2007 03:02:21 - Revision: 3.3

  • Microsoft Outlook Express 5.0
  • Microsoft Outlook Express 5.0
  • Microsoft Outlook Express 5.0
  • kberrmsg kbprb KB224463