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Unable to open or save attachments in Outlook XP

Posted on 2009-05-07
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-06-21

Hopefully someone will be able to assist with this issue, because I'm stumped at this point.

We have been in the process of migrating users from a workgroup to an Active Directory domain. All workstations are running XP Pro and Office XP (I realize the version of Office is quite old, but the customer does not have the funds to upgrade to a newer release at this time).  Email is POP3 from a 3rd party company. We have been copying the contents of the users' old local profile into their new local profile for their domain account. For the majority of the users, there have been no issues. However, for a small percentage of users, we are running into an issue where they are not able to open or save any email attachments. When an attachment is opened, nothing happens. When an attempt to save the attachment is made, Outlook generates an error window stating "Outlook could not save the file".  There are no errors in the Windows event logs as to what the error is.  Upon checking the OLK directory, the attached file is there and can be opened without issues.  The problem appears to be that Outlook is saving the attachment to the Outlooksecuretemp location, but fails to actually open the file.  The user account is a member of the local administrators group on the workstation and has full permission to everything.

We have tried everything we can think of to resolve the issue, with no luck. We have deleted all files in the OLK directory and logged out/logged in or rebooted/logged in. We have changed the location of the OutlookSecureTemp location in the registry. We have created a new .pst file, sent a test message with a .doc attachment and were unable to open or save it. We have deleted all local profiles on the workstation and started from scratch. We have logged in as other users (including the Domain Administrator account) and configured Outlook and still are not able to open or save attachments.  We have uninstalled/reinstalled Office with no effect.

We've searched through Experts-Exchange and the web in general for a solution. We have found many posts with similar issues, but they all have been resolved by deleting the files in the OLK directory, which has had no impact on the issue.

I have a feeling that there is a key in the registry that is causing the problems, since the problem occurs regardless of what user is logged onto the pc, but I have no idea what it could be.  

If anyone has any ideas or has run across this issue, please let me know.  I would rather not have to resort to completely reimaging the workstations that are affected.

Question by:George D'Alessandro
  • 3

Expert Comment

ID: 24345592
Does this happens to new emails or emails imported from the old machine or both?

Author Comment

by:George D'Alessandro
ID: 24351515
It happens to both new emails and old ones. The users have not changed machines; they have just had their workstation joined to a domain.

Author Comment

by:George D'Alessandro
ID: 24377808
Yesterday, I ran "Detect and Repair" on Outlook which restored registry entries to the default settings. This didnt solve the problem.

Then I removed Office XP and reinstalled it. This too did not solve the problem.

Again I emptied the contents of the OLK folder and tried again. This too did not solve the issue.

I created a new email message and sent it to the client with an attachment. This new email with attachment didnt open either.

Any new suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Accepted Solution

George D'Alessandro earned 0 total points
ID: 24380448
Problem solved!

The issue with Outlook was due to a bug in Symantec Endpoint Protection 11.0x. Apparrently there is a known issue with SEP 11.0x and Outlook 2000 and XP that causes a user to be unable to open attachments. It is a semi-rare bug that can occur randomly in a domain.

I removed email scanning from the SEP antivirus policy and users were now able to open attachments without issues.

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