Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Outlook 2010 can't open or save tif attachments

All of a sudden a user starts having trouble opening or saving faxes that have arrived to her inbox as tif attachments from the fax server. Here is the behavior you see:
  1. You try to preview or open the attachment – you receive an error like “Cannot create fax.tif. Check the permissions on the folder you are trying to save the file to”.
  2. You drag the attachment and try to drop it on a folder – you hear a beep and nothing happens. Same if you right click and copy the try to paste it on a folder. 
  3. You right click on the attachment and try to “Save as” you see the same error as in number 1 above.
You check the permissions and yes you do have full control on the folder you are trying to save the attachment to. So what is the problem?
Here is what happens: anytime you preview, open or copy an attachment that is considered safe Outlook saves a copy of the attachment in a folder under the Temporary Internet Files folder. Now, if you close outlook while the attachment is open then the file will remain on that temporary folder forever as it is left in an “open” status and Outlook cannot dispose of it. When the number of those “open” files in the temporary outlook secure folder grows beyond a certain limit then you start seeing the behavior described above.
Resolution: locate the folder where Outlook stores those files and delete them. In Windows 7 with Outlook 2010 the folder you are looking for has a randomly generate name and is located under C:\Users\ username \AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook
Note: while this issue was experienced with the tif attachments it can happen with any type of attachments and the resolution is the same.

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