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Problem: ArcMap does not 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.

Attempts to open ArcMap fail, and cause it to be unresponsive.


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

Solution or Workaround

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

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.

Delete the Normal.mxt template file 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.

Edit the registry settings

The instructions below include making changes to essential parts of your operating system. Esri recommends backing up the operating system and files, including the registry, before proceeding. Consult a qualified computer systems professional, if necessary.

Esri does not guarantee results from incorrect modifications while following these instructions. Therefore, proceed with caution.
  1. Open 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 Registry Editor.
  5. Start a new, and empty ArcMap document.

Related Information

Last Published: 6/20/2021

Article ID: 000008840

Software: ArcGIS-ArcEditor 9.3.1, 9.3, 9.2, 9.1, 9.0 ArcGIS-ArcInfo 9.3.1, 9.3, 9.2, 9.1, 9.0 ArcGIS-ArcView 9.3.1, 9.3, 9.2, 9.1, 9.0