Can't Open Attachment in Outlook

We have had several occurences of this problem, but I can't always reproduce it. When an Outlook 2010 user opens a file attached to a message, they get an error like this:

C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temporary Internet
Files\Content.Outlook\F2E0M??\filename.xls could not be found.  Check the
spelling of the file name, and verify that the file location is correct.

This seems to happen for Excel the most, but we also deal with a lot of Excel files here. After the error, the program for the attachment stays open, but the file is not open. If you go back to the message and double-click the attachment again, it will open.

From what I can tell, this is not the same as the "object not found" that I am finding in my searches, since the program is opening.

I was wondering if anyone has come across this specifically, or has any ideas about the problem. This issue has happened in both XP SP3 and Win7, but always with Outlook 2010.
LVL 26
Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology ProfessionalAsked:
Who is Participating?
Maybe it has something to do with excel file name, maybe is too big or contains unsupported characters, try to see if it happens with attachments that fit this info..
Dan MuzrallEHS SpecialistCommented:
I've run into this several times, and deleting the Temporary Internet Files (via the Internet Options control panel) has typically solved the issue.  Those cases where it didn't, it was due to long file names or use of reserved characters in the file name.  If the later is the case, instead of opening the attachment from Outlook, save it to another location (i.e. your desktop, C:\temp, etc.), and then open the file from the new saved location.
Try this:

Go to the control panel > Folder Options > File Types
Select XLS
Click Advanced > Open entry > Edit
Uncheck "Use DDE"
In the application box add a space then "%1" to the end of that string
Ultimate Tool Kit for Technology Solution Provider

Broken down into practical pointers and step-by-step instructions, the IT Service Excellence Tool Kit delivers expert advice for technology solution providers. Get your free copy now.

Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Interesting ideas.

@skgra & @moonie, I would think if the filename was the problem, it wouldn't open the second time either, but stranger things have happened. Although the file I was sent as an example is a long filename.

@rick_gwu, I'll try that for XLS and XLSX, but the problem is I can't reproduce the issue. I would also hate to think this is the global solution as it would mean updating 80 PCs.
It has happened few times at my fork, filename size (even characters sometime) + path length to temp where outlook stores file when it's opened from mail directly were reasons for that what is bothering you. Insted of dealing with solution for many hours i rather directed clients to save file on some short path (C:\Temp .. or alike) and then open it directly... as moonie42 sad.
For example in your problem you post path C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\F2E0M??\filename.xls.

The directory name have ?? in it F2E0M??, windows don't allow ? in folder/filenames, and that specific folder isn't always the target when outlook saves attachement it's "random", so that us why you probobaly dont get error every time - because sometime outlook create path that is ok...
Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Actually, the path I used is just an example of the error message I copied from somebody else. Don't know for sure my users' had those question marks.

So it kind of seems like there is no specific solution, just workarounds.
Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
I didn't mean to accept my own comment as part of the solution. Please correct.
Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the help. There was no specific solution, but as a fellow expert I appreciate the effort and it got me looking in the right places.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.