Read more at:

Opening Attachments
by Dan Speziale

Fix Attachments in Outlook Express

In an effort to stop the quick spread of computer viruses, Microsoft changed the way Outlook Express handles attached files. Microsoft's solution? After people install Windows XP's Service Pack 1, Outlook Express can no longer open or save most attachments. Outlook Express users can see the attached file's name, but it's "grayed out" and can't be selected, opened, or saved.

If this creates a problem, here's how to make Outlook Express open your attachments.

  1. Choose Options from Outlook Express' Tools menu.
  2. Click the Security Tab.
  3. Click to remove the checkmark by the option called,
    "Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened
    that could potentially be a virus.
  4. Click the OK button.
  5. Close and restart Outlook Express, if necessary.

Outlook Express will then let you open and save attachments.

Instead of opening your attachments directly from Outlook Express, it's safest to save them to your hard drive and scan them with a virus checker. Then open them.

You'll find more detailed information about the new attachment policy in Outlook Express from Microsoft's KnowledgeBase website. Microsoft's KnowledgeBase also lists the types of attached files Outlook Express won't let you open.

Outlook Express also won't let you open files that Windows XP doesn't recognize. This includes many files created by third-party companies. The solution to this is to manually tell Windows XP what program to use.

Right click on any file in a file window. You will see a menu pop-up that says:

The Open With dialog box comes up. You can choose a program from the list provided. You can also Browse for a specific program, one that you suspect may open the file. You may have to try a few different programs.

Important: Leave the box unselected. If you guess the wrong program, Windows will always choose that program. Try it once to see if it works.

You will probably see different programs listed on your screen than the ones displayed in this picture. It all depends on the configuration of your system.


As a web developer and strategic content consultant in the Chicago area, Dan Speziale helps others manage technology and get more out of the internet.

Read more at: