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Outlook Error: This item cannot be displayed in the reading pane. open the item to read its contents.

Posted on 2008-10-06
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I have a strange problem with outlook 2003 sp3 (11.8217.8221) part of office professional edition. outlook connects to my sbs server using rpc/http ok but some emails will not display in the preview window. I get a grey screen with the above message printed there. If i open the email as told to outlook gives an error: can't open this item. I have tried completely uninstalling and reinstalling office to no avail. please help.
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Question by:Powerhousecomputing
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Expert Comment

by:WilyGuy
ID: 22649441
We just had a similar post not too many days ago.  Had to do with McAfee AntiVirus.

What is your AV?  Can you disable and try again?
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Author Comment

by:Powerhousecomputing
ID: 22649459
I am using ESET Smart Security Business Edition. I have set the firewall to interactive mode to observe if it is calling for access. you think i should remove it temporarily?
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Expert Comment

by:WilyGuy
ID: 22649532
Well, the last problem (which may not be related) had to do with the McAfee agent.

Some other things to try:

FIRST: Is it something that "needs" to be opened?  or are we opening Pandora's box?
Can you open/view in OWA (Outlook Web Access) if Exchange on backend?
Can you highlight the item in the email list and click File Save? (what extension is it?) (can you open that in notepad or maybe Outlook Express?)
Can you scan it with AntiVirus first? (not sure how to do that with your software)
Lastly, try disabling the antivirus and open (if you are caching Outlook, you may want to disconnect from the network when you do this part).
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Author Comment

by:Powerhousecomputing
ID: 22649639
I can access the email fine from OWA. If i open the mailbox from the Administrators account on the server that email is accessible with problem. If i right click and choose to forward or reply, i get another error;

Microsoft Word is set to be your e-mail editor. However, Word is unavailable, not installed, or is not the same version as Outlook. The Outlook e-mail editor will be used instead.

press ok

the crash; The messaging interface has returned an unknown error. If the problem persists, restart Outlook.

i then tried the following with outlook shut down:

start>run>
outlook.exe /safe
outlook.exe /cleanprofile
outlook.exe /firstrun

same problem again. Also i tried to right click the email and view options. i cannot see the message headers. this is very weird.
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Expert Comment

by:WilyGuy
ID: 22649713
Is Word the same version as Outlook?
can you open Word?

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Author Comment

by:Powerhousecomputing
ID: 22649716
sorry for the type, i meant that i can access the email from the server without problem
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Author Comment

by:Powerhousecomputing
ID: 22649750
i can open word fine. Aswell as excel, pwerpoint etc. in the help menus of each program they belong to office professional product.
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:WilyGuy
ID: 22649909
So OWA is fine, another Outlook is fine?

Try a Repair on Outlook?
What about the Antivirus test?
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:ckozloski
ID: 22649966
Check your security settings in Outlook. Go to Tools > Options > Security and see if the security settings are allowing you to open all messages in the reading pane.
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Author Comment

by:Powerhousecomputing
ID: 22650259
I have now removed the antivirus software, and i still get the same error. i was hoping that would do it.
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Author Comment

by:Powerhousecomputing
ID: 22650370
I tried to access zone security but was not allowed in. I then attempted to access internet option from the control panel, but it would not open. I opened Internet Explorer and tried to open it from there but was told;

This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator. I am logged in as the administrator here, and this machine is not on a domain. Why does it seem Windows is throwing me every error message it has.
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:ckozloski
ID: 22650399
It sounds like that computer has local security policy restrictions. I would go through those and start checking to see if restrictions have been enabled under the local security policy.
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Author Comment

by:Powerhousecomputing
ID: 22657486
Ok so now i have uninstalled IE7. I have now regained access to internet options settings, which is a relief. I went to security zones and reset all zones to default. but i still cannot open certain email on my computer or look at them in the reading pane.
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:ckozloski
ID: 22659312
In Outlook, not internet explorer, go to Tools > Options > Security and check those settings.
If you have Outlook 2007 it will be Tools > Trust Center.
If that doesn't work you could look at a few things. Make sure you have the appropriate updates installed for your version of office.
If that doesn't fix it, run the repair wizard on office to see if that fixes the problem.
If that doesn't fix it, try recreating your profile from scratch.
 
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Accepted Solution

by:
Powerhousecomputing earned 0 total points
ID: 22810831
Removed everything to do with office from the computer, cleaned up registry and rebooted a couple of times then reinstalled and updated office, hadn't had a chance to do this previously as have never had the disks and laptop all in the same place. Works now though, thanks for all your help!
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