Unable to open attachment in Outlook 2003

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I have a user that has trouble opening some PDF attachments.  She can open some PDF's but not others.  There doesn't seem to be a common thred between the pdf's either.  When she gets a PDF that won't open it comes up with a very plain error message that says "Access is denied"  the title of the error window is just "Microsoft Office Outlook"  I am not sure what could be causing this.  She is allowed to open other attachments without issue.  Just certain PDF documents are giving her trouble.



We are also having this same issue and it appeared on 8/01/07. We have rolled back all patches addded before this issue occured and it appears to have not solved the problem.



Outlook opens attachments in a temporary folder in


c:\documents and settings\%user%\local settings\temporary internet files\OLKxxx


where xxx is a number.  According to Microsoft KB article 817878, Outlook is supposed to empty that folder when you close Outlook, but in practice (at least in my experience) this never seems to work.  (Which has actually been helpful in some cases where a user made changes to a document that was sent to them as an attachment, and it was then saved to that folder.  Man am I a hero when I save the day with that one!) 


I could not find any documentation on this anywhere, so this is based solely on my observations, which admittedly are pretty awesome.  :)  There is a limit of 100 occurrences of any filename in that directory, for instance, document.pdf - document(99).pdf.  When you try to open the 101st occurrence of the attachment named document.pdf, you get an error message like "access denied" or "you do not have rights in the folder." 


Now for the fun part:  when you are logged in as %user%, even if you have cleared the Tools>Folder Options>View item "Hide Protected Operating System Files (Recommended)," the folder will not display when you open the Temporary Internet Files folder.  If you do not know what number is assigned to the OLK folder, you will either need to log in on a separate administrator account, or check your registry for the key:



Value Name: OutlookSecureTempFolder
Data Type: REG_SZ

Open the OutlookSecureTempFolder key and it should show you the name of the OLK folder. 


As long as you know the name, you can drill down to the folder and open it.  Delete the contents of this folder (no one ever looks for anything in it anyway!), and your problem will go away.




I've tried this solution, and it ain't working for me...I can search for OLK* and find the folder under the user (and even when some of my users don't have any entry under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\Security) I'm also having an issue where they can't save the attachments (excel, word, or pdf files) either.


Any hints? 




Chris Manning

Does the user have Adobe Professional or just Reader?


If she has Professional some PDF file are locked to editing and could throw up an Access Denied error message.


Can you access the same PDF files that are giving the error from another computer with the same version of Adobe Professional/Reader?


Ed Kunz

     My problem was with Windows Defender and Vista Home Premium. I was able to resolve the problem with removing all instances of "WinDefend" and "Windows Defender" from the registry.

Ed Kunz

Tyler Andal

I just want to say thanks to Mary for pointing me in the right direction.

The user I was helping is running XP Pro, and her issue was that she was only unable to open .htm messages. It should the paper clip and you could try to save it locally but it would not allow you to.

I had trouble locating the OLK folder even when I enabled the computer to show hidden files and folders.

So what I did was opened search and searched her profile for OLK.* and the folder came up. I deleted the contents inside and that resolved her issue.

I'm hoping this might help someone that's unable to find the OLK folder.


Another way to get the OLK folder up in Explorer is to navigate to the level above it, i.e. C:\Documents and Settings\Fred\Local Settings\Temporary Internet files and then manually add the OLK folder name in the address bar. If you don't know the folder name (OLK7, OLK12, etc) you can get this from the registry (see Mary's post at #3 above)
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