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Outlook task error: this item cannot be displayed in the reading pane

Posted on 2009-07-02
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
Computer A assigns a task to computer B, computer B accepts the task, computer B then reassigns the task to computer C, when computer C receives e-mail to accept or decline the task computer C displays the following message in the reading pane: this item cannot be displayed in the reading pane. Open the item to read its contents When I try to open the item I get the following message cannot open this item. The operation failed. Everything works fine from computer A to computer B, I get the message to let me know computer B has accepted the task and computer A can get updates from computer B, its only a problem when I try to have computer B reassign the task to computer C.
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Question by:TSECTim
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Expert Comment

by:weinberk
ID: 24769115
What version(s) of Outlook, what OS?  What service packs?
Are you using exchange, standalone with smtp, groupwise, or something else?
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Author Comment

by:TSECTim
ID: 24769220
Computer A MS Office Outlook 2007, Vista Home Premium, SP 1,  Im not sure about your next question, Im using Outlook 2007 part of MS Office Ultimate 2007 SP 2 MSO 12.0,
Computer B MS Office Outlook 2007, Vista Ultimate, SP 1, again Im not sure about your next question, Im using Outlook 2007 part of MS Office Ultimate 2007 SP 2 MSO 12.0,
Computer C MS Office Outlook 2007, XP Home Edition vers 2002 sP3, again Im not sure about your next question, Im using Outlook 2007 part of MS Office Small Business 2007 SP 2 MSO 12.0,

Is this what you wanted to know?
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Expert Comment

by:weinberk
ID: 24769759

How about if you start from computer C, send to A, reassign to B.  Same error?  (is it computer specific or just after reasignment generally?)
It would be helpful if you could tell me if you're using an Exchange Server or not.
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Author Comment

by:TSECTim
ID: 24771769
Ive changed it up and each time the computer that originates the task will get a notification when the second computer accepts the task, it breaks down when the second computer assigns the task it has already accepted to a third computer, no matter which computer is the third it has the same error message. I just tried it again and after the second computer assigned a task it has accepted to the third computer the second computer was able to successfully send a status report to the first computer, I also noticed the second computer after assigning the task shows the third computer as the owner.

No I am not using Exchange Server.
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Expert Comment

by:weinberk
ID: 24772597
Thanks for the clarification.  Let's check the service pack level for Outlook 2007.
Goto help->about
The first line gives some information.  Mine says:
Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 (12.0.6504.5000) SP2 MSO (12.0.6425.1000)
What does yours show.
Have you done windows updates recently?  Do your updates also download office updates?
If your version doesn't say SP2, lets try installing that from here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=B444BF18-79EA-46C6-8A81-9DB49B4AB6E5&displaylang=en
Awaiting your report.
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Author Comment

by:TSECTim
ID: 24772785
Computer A: Microsoft  Office Outlook 2007 (12.0.6504.5000) SP 2 MSO (12.0.6425.1000)
Computer B: Microsoft  Office Outlook 2007 (12.0.6504.5000) SP 2 MSO (12.0.6425.1000)
Computer C: Microsoft  Office Outlook 2007 (12.0.6504.5000) SP 1 MSO (12.0.6320.5000)


Ill try now to update Computer C. This seems a little frustrating to have to have each computers updates current, just thinking when we figure this out and I start assigning task to people in the company Ill have to first find out what their current update status is, but it is a price worth paying if it works, just seems like Microsoft life should be easier.
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by:weinberk
ID: 24772795
Of course msft life should be easier...
Honestly, updating is a shot in the dark, but worth a shot.  
Where these machines upgraded from Office 2003 by chance?  There's some information available on some microsoft patches that actually CAUSED this problem in Office 2003.
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Author Comment

by:TSECTim
ID: 24772825
Computer A & B were both originally Outlook 2007 operating on Vista, Computer C may have been an upgrade from 2003 but I dont think it was  operating on XP. Question, what Im trying to do should work right? Have you done this before?
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:weinberk
ID: 24772930
I have NOT done what you're trying before without an Exchange server managing everything.  Since exchange isn't in use, I'm trying to see if there's any update available that lets it work.
Number 4 on this page from microsoft http://www.microsoft.com/australia/smallbusiness/themes/organise-your-work/tip-Outlook-to-Assign-Tasks.mspx says:
The new Task Owner can Accept or Decline the task, or Assign the task to another person. (This functionality requires Microsoft Exchange as your mail server.) The Task Owner can also update the status and percent completion. By clicking on the Details tab, the Task Owner can enter additional data about the task, including mileage and billing information.
The part about requiring exchange is troubling, though it's not clear which functionality they're talking about.
Have you tried assigning without having the 2 checkboxes (keep a copy, send status report) checked?  I wonder if that might just have it be like the 2nd user created the task and then it won't rely on Exchange.
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Author Comment

by:TSECTim
ID: 24772982
I appears Microsoft Exchange is required by that statement, what is Microsoft Exchange ? Computer C is just finishing the update to SP2.
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Author Comment

by:TSECTim
ID: 24773032
Ok, computer C now reads: Microsoft  Office Outlook 2007 (12.0.6504.5000) SP 2 MSO (12.0.6425.1000), are you ready for me to try now?
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Expert Comment

by:weinberk
ID: 24773095
Sure, give it a go.
If it still doesn't work, try without the checkboxes checked.
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Author Comment

by:TSECTim
ID: 24773132
Ok, I just tried it and again I get the same error message, now Ill try it with boxes unchecked.
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Author Comment

by:TSECTim
ID: 24773257
Ok, I unchecked the boxes on computer A and sent to computer B, doing this did not allow computer A to retain a copy of the task. Computer B received the task and accepted it, I then assigned the task to computer C and left the boxes checked, computer B did retain a copy of the task. Computer C received the task and there was no error message, computer C accepted the task and is able to send status reports but by default only computer B has the task updated. I sent another update from computer C with computer B (by default) in the To&. And I cced computer A. Computer B received the update and the task was updated, computer A received a standard e-mail showing the update but of course since the task has been removed there was no task to update.

This is an option but this is not the neat simplistic method as I was shooting for. Do you have any other ideas? Do you think this is the best we can do without the MS Exchange?
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Accepted Solution

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weinberk earned 500 total points
ID: 24773285

Unfortunately, I think that's as good as you're going to so without either exchange or some 3rd party tool to keep everything in sync.  
Microsoft knows what they're doing when it comes to forcing upgrades to Exchange...
On second (or 50th) thought, maybe you could create a user form to assign the task with the checkboxes unchecked by default?
And - maybe another option would be to use something other than excel.  Maybe MS Project or some other project management system that allows multi-user tracking?
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Author Comment

by:TSECTim
ID: 24773323
I dont mind (too much) to spend the money for Exchange. What is it and how does it work?

Can you explain what you mean by create a user form? And when you say Maybe MS Project other than excel, do you mean other than outlook?

Im not sure how Expert.com benefits you, but I REALLY appreciate you help on this.
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Assisted Solution

by:weinberk
weinberk earned 500 total points
ID: 24773342
Hehe, experts-exchange.com doesn't benefit me directly.  I'm just giving back to a comunity that helps me at times.
I did mean OUTLOOK, not excel.
Exchange is microsoft's email server solution.  It has email, calendaring, tasks, and other features all in one place.  You'll need a server and a good deal of technical knowledge to get get it running and maintained.  It's not easy.  
You could also consider using a "hosted" exchange solution, where you pay a monthly per mailbox fee to a hosting provider for exchange server access.  I don't know if this is within your corporate guidelines though.
If I've helped, please accept my final answer above. That'll flag this as closed, help others find what we've discovered, and give me "points" that go towards bragging rights :)
 
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