Cannot open attachments in Outlook

When opening an attachment in outlook, you get an error stating that it cannot create the file or you need to check the permissions of the folder. This can happen if you often receive attachments with the same name. For example, you may receive many emails from a supplier using MYOB which sends out emails with a PDF attachment called esale.pdf.

When the attachment is opened, Outlook creates a copy of the file in a temporary folder. This is stored in the user profile, in a subfolder of the Temporary Internet Files hidden folder. The name of this folder is quite random. When another file of the same name is saved here, it is renamed filename (n).ext. And when n reached 99, you will have reached the maximum number of attachments of this name that can be saved. So, when a new file save is attempted, the error is produced.

To fix this, you need to delete the previous files saved in this folder. Locating the folder is not too difficult. A registry key controls this location.

Depending on your version of outlook, you can find the registry key as follows.

  • Outlook 97 – HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Outlook\Security
  • Outlook 98 – HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.5\Outlook\Security
  • Outlook 2000 – HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\9.0\Outlook\Security
  • Outlook 2002/XP – HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Outlook\Security
  • Outlook 2003 – HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\Security
  • Outlook 2007 – HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\Security
  • Outlook 2010 – HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\Security

The location of the folder will be found in the registry key – OutlookSecureTempFolder

  1. Open the registry key
  2. Copy the path in this key
  3. Open Windows Explorer
  4. Paste this path into the addresss bar
  5. Locate and delete all instances of the attachment file name

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