Has your regular launch of Office applications been affected showing an error message to start in Safe mode? Usually, this error is seen in most Office applications like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, or Outlook. When you launch any Office application, the complete error message displayed to the user is as below: “Word Couldn’t start last time. Safe mode could help you troubleshoot the problem, but some features might not be available in this mode. Do you want to start in safe mode?”
This error is generally related to plugins and corrupted folders in Office applications. In this article, you will find some troubleshooting strategies that have been used by a number of users to solve this particular error with Office applications that says Word, Excel, or Powerpoint couldn’t start last time.
Fix 1 – Changes in the Registry
1. Open the Run dialog by holding the Windows and R keys together.
2. Type regedit and click on OK to open the Registry Editor.
3. Navigate to the following location in the Registry:
4. In the above location you can see different keys based on the version of Office being used. Open the one which matches your Office version.
Office 2003 –> 11.0
Office 2007 –> 12.0
Office 2010 –> 14.0
Office 2013 –> 15.0
Office 365, Office 2019 or Office 2016 –> 16.0
5. Since we have Office 365, we will open the 16.0 key.
6. Expand 16.0, go to Common and then expand it and then select the key Open Find.
7. If you don’t have Open Find, right-click on Common and select New –> Key.
8. Name the key as Open Find.
9. After selecting the key Open Find, right-click on the empty space on the right side and select New –> DWORD (32-bit) Value.
10. Name the new DWORD as EnableShellDataCaching and press Enter.
11. Right-click on EnableShellDataCaching and select Modify…
12. Enter 1 in the Value Data field. Click on the OK button.
13. Exit the Registry Editor. Restart your system.
14. Open Word and check if the error Word couldn’t start last time has been resolved.
Fix 2 – Repair Office Application
Corrupted files of MS Office can lead to this error in all Office Applications and repairing your MS Office suite by replacing those files with a new copy.
1. Press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
2. Type appwiz.cpl to open Programs & Features in the Control Panel.
3. Locate your MS Office suite installation in the list of programs.
4. Select your Office suite and click on the Change button to open Microsoft Office Repair Utility. Click on Yes if prompted by UAC.
5. In the repair window that appears, there are two options Quick Repair and Online Repair.
6. First choose Quick Repair and then click on the Repair button to start the process.
7. Select Repair in the Ready to start a Quick Repair window.
8. Restart your computer once the repair process is complete. Open Word and check if the error is resolved.
If the error still persists after Quick Repair, try the Online Repair option and check if it resolves the issue after a system restart.
Fix 3 – Disable Add-ins in Safe Mode
Some users have reported that disabling add-ins and relaunching the app in normal mode has helped them solve the problem.
1. In the error dialog that appears, if you select Yes then the Office application opens in safe mode.
2. If you have clicked on No, then open Run (Windows + R) and type winword /safe to launch Word in safe mode.
3. Click on the File Menu.
4. Select Options on the left-hand side.
5. In the Options window, go to the Add-ins tab.
6. At the bottom on the right side, you will see Manage:. In the dropdown box select COM Add-in. Click on the Go button next to it.
7. Uncheck all the add-ins in the list to disable them.
8. Close the application and then start it again in normal mode to check if the error is fixed.
Fix 4 – Delete files in Application Startup Path
Some users in Microsoft forum answers have mentioned that removing files and folders in the startup path of the Office applications has helped to clear the error.
1. Press Windows key + R to open Run.
2. Type the following based on the MS Office application for which you want to perform file deletions.
3. The startup folder name for Word and PowerPoint is Startup, and for Excel it is XLSTART.
4. Make sure the office application is closed. Open the folder.
5. Press Ctrl +A to select all the files and press Shift + Delete to remove the contents of the folder completely.
6. Relaunch the application and check if the error is resolved or not.
Thanks for reading.
We hope the instructions above helped you to open Word, Excel, and Powerpoint applications in Windows 10 without any error. Comment and let us know the fix that helped you.
A software engineer turned into an educator with vast teaching experience in universities. Currently working towards my passion for writing.