Cannot open, accept, or delete a task request.

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Cory Brown

Hello, we are having a problem opening tasks in Outlook. We use Outlook as our task management software and not being able to open them is causing us lots of problems.

We recently upgraded half of our office to using outlook 2007 and the other half is still using outlook 2002 (came with office XP).

Tasks in general work fine. My first thought was that there was a version compatibility problem between 2002 and 2007. This however is not the case. If one of our employees sends a task request to another employee they can open it no matter the version with no problems.

The problem presents itself when they have a task that goes from employee A to employee B and then employee B reasings that task to employee C. If employee B is running Outlook 2007, employee C will not be able to open it.

I've tested this in every configuration possible.

Employee A | Employee B | Employee C | Successfully opens
2007 2002 Pass
2002 2007 Pass
2002 2002 2002 Pass
2002 2002 2007 Pass
2007 2002 2002 Pass
2007 2002 2007 Pass
2002 2007 2002 Fail
2002 2007 2007 Fail
2007 2007 2002 Fail
2007 2007 2007 Fail

I find it odd that a task sent from 07 to 07 and forwarded on to a 3rd person running 07 would fail but it does.

I've found posts about problems with hot fixes and service packs but none of those seem to help. I've also cleared the forms cache but had no luck.

Any ideas on this would be great. Thank you for taking the time on such a long read.

Cory Brown

We do not have the service pack installed, I'm downloading it now.

They get the error "Can't open this item. Operation failed." You can see the task request in the preview pane but you can not open, accept or delete the task.

I'll also mention that we do not have an exchange server. We are using pop3 to mail the task requests. I also tried disabling all email virus scanners as we were affraid the virus scan was stripping out the task attachment, but this did not help.

Ben M. Schorr [MVP]

Interesting. Please let me know if the situation is improved with the SP installed (it does contain quite a few fixes/improvements for Outlook; not sure if it will fix that specific problem).

Cory Brown

Sadly service pack 2 did not fix the problem. I know that the task request is sent as an attachment to an e-mail. Is there some kind of weird security setting involving attachments? Most everything I can find has to do with exchange servers and is no help. This only happens when a task is reasigned from 07 to 07.

Cory Brown

This is definately an issue as I can repeat this on any system. You can create and assign a task from a pc running outlook 2007 via a pop3 mail message to a pc running outlook 2007 with no problem. However, if that 2nd pc accepts the task and then assigns it to a 3rd pc, that 3rd pc will not be able to open it. They will get an error messagebox that says "Can't open this item. Operation failed." The task cannot be opened, deleted, or accepted. The only way to get rid of it is to create a new folder, drag it to that folder and then delete the folder. If we were only assinging tasks to one person we would not have a problem but unfortunately our work flow demands that some tasks be passed on to others.

I've tried service packs, disabling av software, making sure all pc's were running the same OS with service packs, all security settings are identical across all of the pc's

Any help here would be great. Microsoft will not talk to me unless I pay them $200+, which I'm really upset about as we just spent $1800 on software. Is there any way to tell MS their software is broken without paying to tell them?

On a side note. Outlook 2002 does not have this problem as half of our employees are running it. I've been in situations where I downgraded my os to earlier versions using my product key. Is there a way to legally run outlook 2002 with my outlook 2007 key? Grapsing at straws at this point.

Cory Brown

There appears to be something happening to the attachment that contains the task when it goes through the pop3 server. We host our mail server with Verio and just to eliminate another possibility I tried using gmail to pop the tasks. It almost works correctly when sent through gmail. For some reason it looses the response chaine, but the task will open and can be accepted.

I tried turning off AV and spam filter on the mail account hoping that they were messing up the attacment but this did not help.

I also tried going through another pop3 server but found that it had the same problem as when I go through our Verio server.

Not sure why G-mail works when they do not.

Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
The POP servers are munging the TNEF somehow - AV is the common cause, but it could be something else. Are you doing any header rewrites? Gmail can decipher some TNEF so their server takes care not to corrupt the TNEF. (Hey, it sounds good :)) Compare the gmail and pop source - see if anything jumps out.

2002 may work because its not unicode.



I have the problem after I installed MS Off Business 2007 on Windows 7. Can get task and accept, but when send tasks the receiver can't open task. Receivers have Off 2003 and Off 2007.

Ben M. Schorr [MVP]

I have the problem after I installed MS Off Business 2007 on Windows 7. Can get task and accept, but when send tasks the receiver can't open task. Receivers have Off 2003 and Off 2007.

What happens when they try to open the task? What kind of server are you sending the task through? Exchange? Gmail? Something else?



I found the problem to this error.

The Internet Security Antivirus was set to check all outgoning email.

This removed the macros from the outgoing task which led to the task not being able to work when it arrives at the receipient.

Thanx for your effort.
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