Resolve “Unable to Open Outlook Attachments” Issue

Alphy Thomas | Modified: 2021-03-30T13:15:47+00:00 | Outlook Error|

There are instances when Outlook users experience issues while trying to access some email attachments in MS Outlook 2019 / 2016 / 2013 / 2010. This issue may come in the form of an error message (Unable to open Outlook attachments) which will prevent you from opening the attached files.

unable to open attachments

Common Causes:

When you are unable to open Outlook attachments, there may be a number of reasons behind it. Below we have listed the most common ones for you.

  • Temporary Internet file folder has reached its storage limit. Also, the user may not have sufficient permission to access the temp Internet files on the server. The error associated with the temp folder is as follows:
Can't Open Outlook Attachment

One more case related to temp file folder is that after a certain time-period Outlook stops saving temporary files with the same name.

  • In Outlook, Default Security Protocols also intervenes by preventing user access to any potentially harmful attachment. Some extensions such as .exe, .url etc. are deemed suspicious and thus blocked by Outlook 2019 / 2016 / 2013.
  • The PST data file is corrupt or damaged; which will restrict you from opening any attachments stored in it. Repair Outlook PST files before trying to access your Outlook attachments.

Solutions to Fix ‘Unable to Open Outlook Attachments 2016’ Issue

In this section, we will discuss separate solutions for each cause. Perform the steps sequentially for each given solution one by one.

I. For Temporary Internet folders related causes:

  • Open Run dialog box by hitting Windows+R command in your system
  • Type regedit.exe and hit enter to open the Registry Editor
  • Go to the menu and select Edit >> Find to open the Find dialog box
  • Here, enter OutlookSecureTempFolder and click on Find Next button
  • In the search results, note the folder location associated with OutlookSecureTempFolder

registry editor

  • Exit the Registry editor and open Windows Explorer
  • Locate and open the same folder location which you noted down previously
  • Delete all files present in this folder and close the Explorer

Now, restart MS Outlook 2019 / 2016 / 2013 / 2010 / 2007 / 2003 and check if you can access your attachment or not. If yes, then the issue is resolved. But if you are still unable to open Outlook attachments, go for the next solution.

II. To Unblock Blocked attachments due to Outlook Security Protocol:

Before performing the following steps, make sure that MS Outlook is closed.

  • Hit Win+R button to open the Run dialog box
  • Type regedit.exe and press Enter key to open Registry Editor
  • Hit Ctrl+F, type OutlookSecureTempFolder and click Find Next button
  • Go to Edit >> New >> String Value and name it Level1Remove

Allow permissions

  • Now double-click on this value and enter the file extension that you want to unblock such as: .exe. For multiple extension, type .exe; .url, .bak

multiple extensions

  • Click Ok and exit the registry editor
  • Now, open the Outlook application and you can now open the previously blocked attachments.

Note: This process is only applicable to those attachments which are blocked by Outlook. You can refer here to check all the blocked attachment extensions. Also, it is advised to change back the registry once you saved the attachment, since it may result in a virus infecting your system in the near future.

III. Solution if the cause is PST Corruption

Even after implementing the above methods, you still are unable to open Outlook attachments, then the most probable cause is corrupt PST file. The two ways to deal with it are explained as follows:

Use Third-Party Software

What to do when nothing works? Stop using Outlook altogether? Well no, you don’t need to take such drastic measures. Because we have a safe and result-oriented approach in the form of SysTools Outlook Recovery right here for you. It is by any means the BEST Software to repair Outlook PST corruption without ScanPST and also it will repair any level of corruption from PST file without fail regardless of Outlook version. Be it any issue such as ‘unable to open Outlook attachments’, as long as it is related to data file corruption, this tool can solve them all. The software can scan Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, 2002, 2000 data file.

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Use Inbox Repair Tool(ScanPST.exe)

It is an inbuilt tool provided by Microsoft to rectify minor corruption issues in Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010. To use it, simply Run scanpst.exe in the Run dialog box, browse the concerned Outlook PST file and start the process. It will repair the data file of any header errors and other minor issues. Being a free utility, it certainly is worth trying.

However, this tool is utterly useless in cases of major corruption. It is also noticed that it is incompetent when there is an issue with contacts, calendars, tasks, and attachments. In addition, data loss issues have often been associated with this inbox repair tool.

Final words

If you are unable to open Outlook attachments, there could be various reasons behind it. In this article, we discussed all those reasons and gave possible solutions for each of them for Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, 2000. A variety of manual solutions are provided to rectify this issue. However, in case everything fails, we also included an out of the box automated solution. With this tool, solving any PST file corruption or related problems is now an easy, safe and quick process with no data loss issue whatsoever.

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