Unable to open Outlook attachments

Are you trying to solve the Outlook error message "unable to open outlook attachments"?

This guide is for you.

Here at Ibmi Media, as part of our Server Management Services, we regularly help our Customers to fix Outlook related errors.

In this context, we shall look into the causes and different methods to fix this Outlook error.

Nature of the Outlook error message "unable to open outlook attachments" ?

Most Outlook users come across this error message while opening attachments in Outlook. This error often appears after double-clicking on the attachments.

Also, right-clicking on the attachment and clicking on the ‘save as’ option doesn’t work.

Simple hacks like restarting the Outlook application do not fix the issue and the attachment remains inaccessible even after restarting the application.

What triggers Outlook error message "unable to open outlook attachments" ?

Here are the different causes of this error to occur.

i. Accessing temporary Internet files and folders on the local system or on the server is restricted to a user. This error occurs when a subfolder, which contains default copies of temporary Internet files, has reached its storage limit.

ii. Outlook denies permission to access suspicious attachments due to default security protocols. Because this may harm the user’s Outlook database or other system files severely.

iii. Trying to open Outlook attachments while Outlook PST files are in a corrupt or inaccessible state.

iv. If a user repetitively accesses the same Outlook attachment(s).

v. When a user is not able to access attachments through Office 365 using the Outlook web app. Outlook web app blocks attachments having some specific file extensions.

How to fix Outlook error message "unable to open outlook attachments" ?

You can apply the tips give below to resolve this error message;

Solution 1: If the error is associated with Temporary Internet folders:

i. First, click Start and select the run option.

ii. Next, REGEDIT.EXE will appear, click on Edit and then opt to Find option.

iii. Then we type OutlookSecureTempFolder in the Find dialog box.

iv. We locate the registry key that contains the actual folder location.

v. Now, we note down the folder’s location.

vi. After that, we go to the Run option in the Start menu and type the particular location and click OK.

vii. The folder opens automatically by the default browser.

viii. Now, we remove all the files present in the folder.

ix. Finally, we restart the browser and try to open the Outlook attachments, which we were unable to access.

Solution 2: If the error is associated with default security protocols:

If the errors occur due to any security restrictions then the user must edit and restore the security settings in the Outlook registry. 

Here are the steps that we follow to modify the security registry keys.

For the oldest version Window XP:

i. First, we click Start and select the run option.

ii. Next, we type the below command-click OK.


iii. As a result, the Welcome to System Restore page will appear.

iv. Then we select Create a restore point and click Next.

v. A new page will open, here we mention the new file restoration location and click create and subsequently click the Close button.

vi. Again, we repeat steps 1, 2, and 3.

vii. Then we select Restore my computer to an earlier time option and click Next.

viii. Now when the new page appears, we select the system checkpoint. A list will appear, we click “Guided Help (Registry Backup)” and select the Next button.

ix. A System restoration message will prompt, listing configuration changes made, click OK. The confirmation page will appear after it, click the Next and OK button consequently.

For the latest version of Windows 10:

i. First, we click Start and select the run option. Then we type REGEDIT.EXE

ii. Next, we mention the administration password if password confirmation is prompted.

iii. After opening Registry Editor, we trace the registry key that you want to modify.

iv. Now, we click on the File menu and then we select Export.

v. The Export Registry File box will appear. Here we mention the place where we want to restore the backup name of the backup file to identify it afterward. Finally, we click Save.

Solution 3: If Outlook web app is not opening attachments

Outlook web application can restrict the download of files with some specific extensions. We can change the policy settings to allow the required file types. 

For that, we can remove the file extension from the blocked application list and add it to the allowed lists.

Solution 4: Disable all add-ins in Outlook

Here are the steps that we follow to disable all add-ins in Outlook.

i. First, we open Microsoft Outlook.

ii. Next, we click File, Options, and then Add-ins.

iii. Then under Manage click COM Add-ins.

iv. After that, we click on the GO button next to Manage, then uncheck all of the add-ins.

v. After everything is disabled, we click OK.

vi. Finally, we close Microsoft Outlook, then re-open Outlook to see if the issue is resolved.

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This article will guide you on the different methods to tackle Outlook error message "unable to open outlook attachments" which occurs while opening an Outlook attachment. 

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