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Unable to Open or Save Attachments in Outlook or Outlook Express

A security feature in some versions of Outlook and Outlook Express may prevent you from opening attachments. This page explains what you need to do to regain access to attached files in email messages.

Why Attachments Are Blocked

By default, the latest versions of Outlook and Outlook Express will not allow you to open or save certain files (see below for a list). This is because these types of files could potentially be harmful to your computer. When these files are opened or viewed, they could alter your system configuration or infect your computer with a virus. While it is certainly a nice thought on Microsoft’s part to protect us from these files, there may be certain cases in which someone is sending you a legitimate file that you need to open or save.

Instructions for Outlook Express

  1. Launch Outlook Express.
  2. Within Outlook Express click the "Tools" menu, then click "Options."
  3. Click the "Security" tab.
  4. Remove the checkmark from the option labeled "Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened that could potentially be a virus."
  5. Click "OK" to save your changes.

Instructions of Outlook XP

Outlook XP does not give you the option of turning this feature off, but it can be done. We ask that you call our technical support staff for help with this process since it involves a modification of the system registry.

Complete List of Blocked Attachments

If an incoming message has an attachment of the following type, it will be blocked by default.

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