Cannot expand the folder; Not enough free memory – Outlook error

When you try to expand a top-level folder in one or  you may receive an error – Cannot expand the folder, There is not enough memory available to perform the operation. This Outlook error happens mostly on Exchange accounts on your email client. If you face this issue, then this post will help you.

There is not enough memory available to perform the operation

Damaged data files are often the main reason for the error message “Cannot Expand the Folder; Not Enough Memory”. There are two types of data files on the Outlook desktop: Offline Storage Table (.ost), and Personal Storage Table (.pst). More often than not, a damaged PST file is the reason why Outlook won’t expand top-level folders in the left pane where all accounts and folders are displayed.

1] Repair the PST file

If you’re having trouble expanding a folder in Outlook, repairing your PST file may help. Outlook has a tool for this called the Inbox Repair Tool or SCANPST.EXE. This file is copied to your computer’s internal storage (on the primary drive) when you install Outlook. This executable file scans PST files for errors and repairs any damage to the PST file.

To fix your Outlook with the Inbox Repair Tool, you’ll need to find and run it. The Inbox Repair Tool’s exact location depends on which version of Outlook you’re using. Here are some tips to help you find the file:

The root directory is generally the C drive in Computer or Windows File Explorer. The way it displays – whether it says Computer, This Computer, or My Computer – is dependent on the Microsoft Windows operating system running on your computer.

For Outlook 2007, browse to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12
For Outlook 2010, browse to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14
For Outlook 2013, browse to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15
For Outlook 2016, browse to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Root\Office16
For Outlook 2019, browse to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Root\Office16

After browsing to the relevant folder as explained above, look for SCANPST.EXE. To find it, use the search option in Windows OS. Press Windows Key+F to get the Find dialog box.

To start the Inbox Repair Tool, double-click the SCANPST.EXE icon. After the tool opens, browse to your Outlook data file (usually named Outlook.pst). If you don’t know the location of your Outlook.pst file, use the Search feature in Windows to look for it on your computer’s storage devices. You can also use *.pst while searching, which can be helpful if you’re getting the error on a PST file other than the default file.

Once you find Outlook.pst, select it and click or tap START to initiate scanning. If the PST file has errors, a dialog box with a Repair button will appear. Click or tap the Repair button in the Outlook Inbox Repair dialog box to fix the PST file.


Before scanning for errors, make a backup copy of the PST file you are repairing.
Do not scan Outlook email when it is open.

After fixing the problem, try opening Outlook to see if it can now open the folder that was causing the problem.

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2] Repair OST file

In the event of a corrupted OST file, deleting the OST file and restarting Microsoft Outlook should resolve the issue. Once Outlook is restarted, it will automatically generate a new, clean OST file. This should eliminate any potential errors caused by the previous, corrupt OST file.

3] Use Windows Registry

You can attempt to fix this error by tweaking Windows Registry if the SCANPST.EXE method fails.

To open the Registry Editor–

Press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box
In the Run dialog box, type “REGEDIT” to open the Registry Editor

In the Registry Editor, click on:


To create a new DWORD, enter “SharedMemMaxSize” in the text box and press Enter. Set the value of the new DWORD to 300000 and press Enter or click OK to save the new value.

Having done that, browse to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Applications

In the Windows Registry Editor, look for the SharedMemMaxSize DWORD in the right pane. Right-click on it and change its value to 300000. Exit Registry EditorLaunch Outlook and check if you can expand the folders that were giving the Cannot expand the folder error.

4] Reinstall Microsoft Outlook

The best option if all the methods above fail to troubleshoot the Outlook error is to reinstall the Outlook client. This should fix the Outlook error by repairing any broken dependencies. How to fix this Outlook errorIf you have any doubts or questions about how to fix this Outlook error, please leave a comment below.

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