Unable to open *.oft files by directly opening them. (Double-Click on them from file share, etc)

I help manage a Windows domain of approximately 300 users. Everyone uses either 2003 of 2007 Outlook. We have an intranet site on our network with a custom form that the users are supposed to use to put in their personal time off requests to their supervisors. This file can be accessed two ways. Either from our sharepoint intranet site or from our public folders. Either way, when they attempt to open this file it is displaying the following message.

Outlook 2003
"The custom form could not be opened. Outlook will use Outlook form instead."

Outlook 2007
"Outlook has blocked access to this form template file. If you know and trust the person who created the form, on the File menu, point to New, click Choose Form, and then in the Look In list, click User Templates from File System. Get more information about opening an .oft file."

After the error message, the default new email form is displayed.

If the user copies this *.oft file to their desktop and opens it via the steps listed above (File->New->Choose Form, etc) they can open the form fine however performing these type of steps for most users is a very complex task indeed. I need a way to fix the problem with the file not opening up correctly when the user simple clicks on it. This also is happening with other *.oft files although this PTO form is used very often.

I don't think it's a permission issue as, this problem occurs to everyone, even administrators. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

hope this article helps.


adw123Author Commented:
I read through this and while related, it doesn't seem to pin point my problem exactly. Thank you for the suggestion though.
adw123Author Commented:
Raising point value on this.
Has Powershell sent you back into the Stone Age?

If managing Active Directory using Windows Powershell® is making you feel like you stepped back in time, you are not alone.  For nearly 20 years, AD admins around the world have used one tool for day-to-day AD management: Hyena. Discover why.

I've got the same issue here with an Outlook 2003 client.
Some of our key users make their own custom outlook forms. They email them to me as an attachment and I have to publish them. But when I try to open these files, I got the this error message as well: "The custom form could not be opened. Outlook will use Outlook form instead."
The only workaround for me is to use an Outlook 2000 client.

Did you find a solution yet?
adw123Author Commented:
Right now, the only solution I've found, really isn't a solution, but it is easier than the alternative. I have to open the pto form in design mode then publish it to one of our organization libraries. Once there the users can open them by doing Tools->Forms->Choose Form. Browse to Organizational Library then select the form. This has proved to be easier for them to understand, however it's still not as easy as just double-clicking the form.

I believe this problem began when we updated our exchange server. I think there is a security update that blocks the custom forms from opening in this manner. I believe forms can execute macros, etc and this was a potential security issue. Because of this, I've sort of come to the conclusion that this is no work around to this issue, other than uninstalling the update which, I'm not going to do.

I'm probably going to keep this open a few more days incase some expert happens to know something I don't but I think this is the best I can hope for.
I found a solution for Outlook 2003(see below) but we are having problems with the oft file in Outlook 2007.
Outlook 2003 fix:
If you have upgraded the standard install of your company's PCs to Office 2003 Service Pack 3 (released Sept 20th) then you may be having some problems with Outlook Forms.

The error message "The custom form could not be opened. An Outlook form will be used instead" will appear when you attempt to open any customized Outlook Forms saved as .oft files (such as forms stored on a file server or shared drive).

The solution to this problem is to change two entires in the registry which disable the new security properties available in Office 2003 SP3. These two options will revert Outlook 2003 SP3 back to it's SP2 form security settings.

Create the following keys in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\Options\Mail

This is especially helpful because Service Pack 3 cannot be removed, you must uninstall all of Office 2003 and reinstall.
The above was copied from here:  http://www.mcox.com/2007/09/microsoft-office-2003-sp3-breaks.html?aa7de040


Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
adw123Author Commented:
This seems to be working for me. Thank you. I didn't think there was a solution to this problem.
Iain MacMillanIT Regional Manager - UKCommented:
Still no solution for Outlook 2007, apart from manually opening it from inside the app via the form menu.  The registry changes listed above work of 2003 only, as we have used them for a while to allow double clicking to open, now we have upgraded to 2007, it was the only thing we didn't check/test - single 'When You Were Out' oft file is all we need to get working.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.