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How to Fix the “Unable to Open Outlook Attachment” Error?

How to Fix the “Unable to Open Outlook Attachment” Error?

Email conversion Are you tired of getting the “unable to open Outlook attachments” error message whenever you try to access a file attached to your email? Sometimes Microsoft Outlook users face difficulties if they rely on mail attachments to communicate with colleagues or clients. Luckily, there are solutions to this issue.

You may be unable to open attachments in Outlook 2013 for several reasons. One common cause for that is that the file may be too large for Outlook to handle. Another possible cause is that the mail attachment is corrupted or damaged, preventing the service from opening it. Security settings and add-ins can also affect the ability to open Microsoft Outlook attachments.

One of the main solutions to this issue is to check your attachment handling settings and ensure that they are enabled. You can also try to disable Outlook add-ins that may be causing the issue. Another potential fix is scanning your computer for viruses and malware, which could prevent Outlook not opening attachments.

If none of these solutions work, open the attachment in another program from the file menu or convert it from the OST file format to a PST file. Additionally, you may need to update or repair your Microsoft Office or Outlook app installation.

This article will explore these solutions in more detail and provide step-by-step instructions for resolving the Outlook attachments issue. With these solutions, you can finally access your attachments and return to work without any headaches or delays.

Solution #1: Clean Temporary Files

When Outlook tries to open an attachment, it first saves it to a temporary folder on your computer. You may encounter issues opening files if this folder is full or corrupt. In such cases, cleaning up temporary files can help you fix the Outlook not opening attachments error.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Close Outlook and any other Office applications.
  2. Press the Windows key + R to access the Run dialog box.
  3. Type %temp% in the box and hit Enter.
  4. This will open the Temp folder. Select all the files and folders there and delete them.
  5. Empty the Recycle Bin to free up space.

After completing these steps, restart Outlook and try opening the attachment again. If the error persists, try the next solution.

Solution #2: Disable Antivirus

Sometimes, your antivirus program may interfere with the email client and prevent you from opening attachments. In such cases, disabling the antivirus temporarily can help you download email attachments and open them.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Open your antivirus program.
  2. Look for an option to disable the real-time scanning or shield.
  3. Once disabled, close the antivirus program.
  4. Restart Outlook and try opening the attachment again.

If Outlook won’t open attachments and disabling the antivirus helps solve the problem, try adding the app as an exception to your antivirus program to avoid this issue in the future.

Solution #3: Use Save As

You can try to save attachments from Outlook to a folder automatically using the Save As option to solve the issue. This can help you bypass any difficulties with opening the attachment directly from Outlook.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Open the email containing the attachment you need to save.
  2. Right-click on the attachment and select Save As.
  3. Select the folder where you want to save the attachment in the Save Attachment dialog box. Usually, this field is set to your default download folder.
  4. Enable the “Save with original file name” option.
  5. Click the “Save” button.

After saving the attachment to a folder, try opening it from the folder and see if it opens without any issues. If you are still unable to open an attachment in Outlook 2010 and later versions, there are other solutions to try.

Solution #4: Clean Microsoft Outlook Temporary Files

When you receive an attachment in Outlook, a temporary file is created in your system to store it and show you an attachment preview. However, these temporary files can accumulate over time and cause issues with opening attachments in Outlook.

Deleting these temporary files when you can’t open attachments in Outlook can help.

Here’s how to clean the temporary files:

  1. Close Microsoft Outlook.
  2. Open File Explorer and navigate to the following folder: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook
  3. Select all files in this folder and click “Delete
  4. Open the program and try to access the attachment again.

Solution #5: Update Outlook

An outdated version of the app can also cause Outlook attachment-related issues. You can try to install updates when Outlook cannot open attachments.

Here’s how to update Outlook:

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook.
  2. Click on the “File” tab in the top-left corner.
  3. Click the “Office Account” tab or “Account” in the left sidebar.
  4. Choose “Update Options” and “Update Now”.
  5. Wait for the update to download and install.
  6. Restart the program and try to open the attachment again.

Solution #6: PST Recovery

If you cannot open attachments in Outlook with the above solutions, there may be an issue with the PST file containing the attachment. Using a PST recovery tool can help fix the problem.

Here’s how to recover a PST file:

  1. Download and install a PST recovery tool.
    Outlook Inbox Recovery software
  2. Open the tool and select the PST file that contains the attachment.
  3. Follow the tool’s instructions to repair the PST file.
  4. Once the repair process is complete, try to open the attachment again.


So there you have several solutions to the frustrating issue of being unable to open Outlook attachments. Whether you cannot open attachments in Outlook 2013 or any version after 2010, these solutions can help you resolve the problem and save attachments.

Remember to start with simpler solutions, such as cleaning temporary files and disabling antivirus software, before moving on to more complex options like PST recovery. And make sure to install Outlook updates to ensure the best performance possible. These tips and tricks allow you to quickly conquer the error.

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How to Fix the “Unable to Open Outlook Attachment” Error?

time to read: 4 min