Top 7 Fixes for Unable to Open Attachments in Microsoft Outlook on Windows

Outlook can’t open an important attachment you received. ok This can happen and you may see different error messages depending on the problem. Fortunately, There are several ways to solve this problem.

Some common contributing factors are incorrect settings; Includes faulty third-party add-ons and corrupted data files. Below are some troubleshooting steps you can try when you can’t open attachments in Outlook for Windows.

1. When attachment is damaged

If the Microsoft Outlook attachment is not restricted to a specific file, the attachment is likely to be corrupted. In that case, Outlook may display an error message that says ‘The file is corrupt and cannot be opened’. You can ask the sender to resend the file and see if the error occurs again.

2. Check the Attachment Handling settings.

Another reason why Outlook fails to open attachments is if the file previewer option is disabled. To eliminate this possibility, You need to check the attachment handling settings in Outlook. Here’s how you can do it.

Step 1: In the Outlook app, click the File menu in the upper-left corner.

Step 2: Select Options from the left sidebar.

Step 3: Switch to the Trust Center tab and click the Trust Center Settings button.

Step 4: On the Attachment Handling tab, uncheck ‘Turn off attachment preview’.

Step 5: Then click on ‘Attachment and Document Previewers’ and make sure all previewers are active.

After that restart Microsoft Outlook and see if you can open the attachments.

3. Open Microsoft Outlook in Safe Mode.

When you open Microsoft Outlook in safe mode; The app works without any add-ins. If a third-party Outlook add-in is causing the problem. Using Outlook in safe mode will help you verify this.

To open Outlook in Safe Mode; Hold down the CTRL key and double-click the Outlook shortcut. Click Yes when the confirmation prompt appears.

Can open attachments in safe mode; Check no. If you can, you can blame one of the third-party plugins. You can disable all Outlook add-ins and re-enable them one at a time to find out what is causing the problem.

Step 1: Click the File Menu at the top.

Step 2: Use the left panel to navigate to Options.

Step 3: In the Outlook Options window, switch to the Add-ins tab. Use the drop-down menu next to Manage and select COM Add-ins. Then click the Go button next to it.

Step 4: Uncheck all the boxes to disable add-ins and click OK.

Restart Outlook in normal mode and run your add-ins one by one to isolate the culprit.

4. Clear the Outlook Cache.

Corrupt Outlook cache data can also prevent the app from working normally. If so, clearing Outlook’s cache files should help.

Step 1: Press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog.

Step 2: Type the following path in the Open field and press Enter.


Step 3: A RoamCache folder will open in File Explorer. Select all the files in the folder and click the trash can icon at the top to delete them.

Restart Outlook and check the mail attachments again.

5. Temporarily disable the antivirus program.

Your antivirus software can prevent Outlook from opening or opening suspicious attachments. However, This can occasionally block legitimate files and cause problems. If you trust the file source; You can temporarily disable your antivirus program and try opening the attachment again.

Be sure to re-run the antivirus program after viewing your attachments.

6. Update Microsoft Outlook.

You can’t open attachments in Outlook because you’re using an outdated version of the app. This can happen if you have disabled automatic updates for Office apps.

To manually install Outlook updates; Use these steps.

Step 1: Open Outlook and click the File menu in the upper left corner.

Step 2: Switch to the Office Account tab; Expand the update options and click Update Now.

7. Use Outlook’s Data File Repair Tool.

If updating the Outlook app doesn’t work; The problem may be related to Outlook’s data files on your PC. You can use Outlook’s repair tool to fix the problem.

Step 1: Open File Explorer on your PC and navigate to the following folder.

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16

Step 2: Double-click on the SCANPST.EXE file to open it.

Step 3: Click Start to start the scan.

Step 4: If you find any problem with the device, click Repair.

Restart Outlook on your PC. After this, You should be able to open attachments without any problems.

Restart your Outlook.

In most cases, Enabling document previewers or disabling add-ons should get things moving again. If not, You may have to work through the other solutions in the list. Let me know in the comments below which one did the trick for you.

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