Outlook Tip: Retrieving “lost” attachments

When you directly open up attachments in Outlook, they launch the application that corresponds to that attachment, e.g. a .xls file will launch Microsoft Excel. So when you start working on this file, remember to save it somewhere else (save as) to where all your other files are stored. When you click save, it will save the file in Outlook’s temporary attachment cache folder.

Just say you’ve saved a file (File->Safe) and closed Excel, then later cant find the file anymore!!! you start to get all Tasmanian devil about it..ITS NOT even in the Excel’s recently opened document list. Well DON’T PANIC YET…

Most attachments launched directly from Outlook will be stored in a cache (temp) folder before getting executed within the corresponding application. This folder is normally in C:Documents and SettingsusernameLocal SettingsTemporary Internet FilesOLKxxx (where username is your logon username) . This is where all temporary files are stored directly from outlook. Some may have different settings to this and you can easily find this path out inside your registry Key HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice11.0OutlookSecurity and look for the key OutlookSecureTempFolder…

Now access the file/folder directly using run or explorer (note in most OS-es, this particular folder and preceeding folders could be hidden, so unhide it from Explorer’s folder options first).

This is also a great place to find out what you girlfriend’s been receiving in her email… 😛


  1. Your tip was extremely useful. I was trying to find the temp folder for outlook cache and your tip on finding it through registry was excellent. THANKS!

  2. You are absolutely GREAT!
    just before a meeting I saved an xls opend via outlook and i could not find my last three hours of work!!
    THANKS THANKS.. very smart solution

  3. I could not find this path. I searched for the registry key in the path u provided but I found 12 instead of 11 and so the rest of the path.

  4. I could not find the path for the temporary file you provided. When I used regedit to find the registration key….I was stuck at 12 instead of 11 and then could not get to same folders afterwards! Can u help with that?

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