Opening Attachments in Outlook – Stopping Error Messages

When opening attachments directly in Outlook, have you received an error message?

It probably said something along the lines of needing to check the permissions on the folder in which you want to save it in.

Well that’s a bit of a red herring because the permissions are probably fine, it just means the folder is “full”.

How did it get so full?

Well, when you open an attachment within Outlook it first saves a copy to a subfolder of the Temporary Internet Files folder. Clearing out this folder should solve the problem.

Cleaning out the Outlook Secure Temp folder

Remember, this is IT so it’s not going to be as simple as it sounds.

The subfolder name Outlook creates (when it is first installed) in the Temporary Internet Files folder is random.

For example, in Outlook 2003 and earlier, it starts with OLK and followed by 4 random numbers or letters. In Outlook 2007, 2010 and 2013 it’s called “Content”. Outlook and then has a subfolder identified by 8 random numbers and letters.

As if that wasn’t annoying enough, by default you can’t browse to the folder and clear it out.

However, getting to your Temporary Outlook Folder can be done following these 2 easy steps.

1. Step 1 – Locate the folder

It’s location is stored in the registry in the following key (dependent on which version of Outlook you’re using):

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
Outlook 2013 HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook\Security

2. Step 2 – Get access to the folder

These steps will help you gain access to the folder:

  • Open the “OutlookSecureTempFolder” registry key from the location provided in Step 1
  • Copy the path from the key
  • Open Explorer
  • Paste the address in the Address Bar and press Enter

Thank you to for these useful tips.

If you’re struggling, fear not, they’ve created 2 free tools to do the job for you:

OutlookTools offers besides locating, opening and cleaning up the SecureTempFolder also quite a lot of additional features to troubleshoot and tweak Outlook.

OutlookTempCleaner focuses only on dealing with the SecureTempFolder and can also be used in (corporate) login and logoff scripts to clean up the folder without any end-user interaction.

Outlook tool

OutlookTempCleaner can detect and empty Outlook’s Secure Temp folder automatically for you.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.