Problem: ArcMap does not open


When trying to open ArcMap, the application hangs and doesn't open.

This article pertains to ArcGIS versions 9.x. Later versions of ArcGIS may contain different functionality, as well as different names and locations for menus, commands and geoprocessing tools.

Before attempting the following procedures, ensure that ArcMap is correctly installed and authorized, see: How To: Download and install Esri software from My Esri for more information about this topic.


This may be due to a corrupt Normal.mxt file or registry settings.

Solution or Workaround

The following workaround may have unintended results. Renaming or deleting the Normal.mxt template may remove any ArcMap customization, such as activated toolbars, toolbar/panel positioning, and folder/database connections.
  1. Delete the ArcMap template file 'Normal.mxt' or rename it.
  • On Windows 7, 8 and 10:
  • On Windows 2000 and Windows XP:
C:\Documents and Settings\<user_account>\Application Data\Esri\ArcMap\Templates
  • On Windows NT:
C:\WINNT\Profiles\<user_account>\Application Data\Esri\ArcMap\Templates
The file is re-created the next time ArcMap is started.
  1. Edit the registry
The instructions below include making changes to essential parts of your operating system. It is recommended that you backup your operating system and files, including the registry, before proceeding. Consult with a qualified computer systems professional, if necessary.

Esri cannot guarantee results from incorrect modifications while following these instructions; therefore, use caution and proceed at your own risk.
  1. Open the Registry Editor.
    1. Click Start > Run.
    2. Type regedit
    3. Click OK.
  2. ​​Browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > ESRI
  3. Delete the ArcMap folder.
  4. Close the Registry Editor.
  5. Start a new, empty ArcMap document.

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