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Can’t Create File – Outlook Error, and a the Fix

by Steve Wiseman on August 28, 2007 · 90 comments

in Office,Outlook,Tips,Windows


I have been seeing this message on and off with attachments for some time now in outlook:

Can’t Create file: VoiceMessage.wav. Right-Click the folder you want to create the file in, and then click properties on the shortcut menu to check your permissions for the folder

In this case it was a voicemail. Sometimes it is a PDF file, other times it is a BMP. The only connection I started to notice was the name of the file.

After some research I discovered that Outlook saves every single attachment you download – in a temp folder. If the same file name exists, it simply appends a number like this:

Too many attachments

The only problem is that it gets stuck at 100. Once you have had 100 attachments with the same name you get the error message I described.

The trick is finding *where* outlook is storing all of this.

Update August, 2010 – We just created a utility that will clean up this folder for you. Look for the Outlook Cleanup Tool in our downloads section.

For more information about the download, visit this page

Microsoft decided that they would create a random folder name to keep viruses and maleware from finding this folder and exploiting it to their advantage.

The folder path can be found under this key:


See the variable on the right named “OutlookSecureTempFolder” – That is your path

Outlook temp folder location

Now that you know where the files are you can simply clear them out from time to time, and the error will go away.

Still, I am a little irritated that this problem has not been fixed by know in a service pack, or a patch. Hopefully Outlook 2007 does not have the same issue.

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Related Articles:

{ 3 trackbacks }

Mike Tech Show 323 | Mike Tech Show
September 17, 2010 at 8:51 pm » Outlook – Can’t Create File…
September 22, 2010 at 8:44 am
Mike Tech Show 326 | Mike Tech Show
October 9, 2010 at 12:22 am

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tracy June 3, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Hallelujah!!!!! Mystery solved – problem fixed. Thank you!!!

2 Joseph June 3, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Two of us found this solution the same day. Amazing! Thanks for explaining this so clearly!

3 Kristie June 3, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Very easy to follow instructions and it worked!

4 mike June 10, 2010 at 9:21 am

do this

rename the path to c:\outlooktemp

then put this in your startup so it erases your outlook temp files

erase /f /q c:\outlooktemp\*.*


5 S. Waqar Arif June 17, 2010 at 2:43 am

Thank you so much, it is really works, problem has resolved now, Wonderfull

Waqar Arif

6 TPO June 18, 2010 at 9:05 am

I tried to access that path but the file was not found there? Anyplace else it would be located?

7 ST June 18, 2010 at 9:12 am

Magic, problem solved – thanks! Note none of the file paths listed here were where my temp internet/email files are kept but a quick search of the problem file located the folder. Thanks again!

8 Eric July 1, 2010 at 9:14 am

That worked perfect for me. Thanks

9 SPT July 6, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Outlook 2007 & 2010 still have this issue.

10 Tony James Team August 27, 2010 at 12:03 pm

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! It worked Great.

11 THANK YOU October 15, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Thank you so much for the clear explanation and documentation (screenshots).


12 Andrew October 17, 2010 at 11:13 pm

It is amazing how we can have all sorts of effort put into changing the way Outlook works on every release but critical errors like this which are completely sloopy work in the first place remain as issue. Try explaining the above instructions to a typical user! Arrr at least Microsoft is good at keeping us IT people in jobs.

13 Dan October 27, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Does anyone know if there is a similiar Trick for Outlook Web Access? I get the same problem but I cannot find the registry key for OWA.

14 Prabhakar December 3, 2010 at 2:24 am

Thanks, I got the solution.

15 Marc / DrDuplo December 21, 2010 at 9:00 am

We had this problem today and your information helped us to solve the problem. Thank you very much!

16 Donna B. January 14, 2011 at 11:31 am

Thank you for your clear explanation and solution. My employer doesn’t allow us to download your fix, but at least I know what the issue is. I also can’t hit the temp file from “My Computer” (much less run regedit), but I opened another file and did Save As to find the folder, and spent about 20 minutes deleting the temp files one by one. Crude, but it got the job done. Thanks again! This error was making me crazy!!

17 Tim Lara February 16, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Thanks for the Outlook Cleanup Tool! Very handy for limited users w/o registry access. If you ever do any updates to it, it would be extremely helpful to also include a “browse” button to open the folder in Explorer — I often get the request where someone “lost” an attachment because they edited it in Outlook, then deleted the email, and the file can often still be found in this folder.

18 Sickcityxiii February 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Issue happened at a client’s this morning. Came across this post in a few minutes…

Worked like a charm.

Tried this solution because it totally made sense to what was in the post – the user couldn’t open Scanned documents from their MFP – likely because it kept creating “Document(1).pdf, Document(2).pdf, Document(3).pdf”

Protip – make sure you run RegEdt32 under the actual user’s profile 🙂

19 Brian March 8, 2011 at 12:33 am

My problem was different in that it said to check for permissions. when I did that it said I had read only rights to the disk. all-so there was no OLKEnnn directory off of the temporaryInternetFiles in the that direcory like the hkey stated. Changing permissions fixed the problem.

20 Michael August 22, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Hi. This also helped me and I thank you!! for that Is there a permanent fix for this? Or can we increase the maximun number to greater that 100?

21 Jonathan Wagstaff August 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I’ve had this problem on our network and solved it by right clicking on the user folder ie c:/users/Jon Doe , Left click on properties, and uncheck the “read only” box, apply to all sub folders. Solved the issue on our network.

22 joe September 29, 2011 at 10:48 am

Let’s all Thank Microsoft for being stupid. This error still occurs in Office 2010. Some folder Hidding (Temporary Internet files)

23 Lucas October 11, 2011 at 9:06 am

Hey guys!
Well, I solved the same problem, but mine was different, outllok not open. Htm files, just running Ccleaner software or other cleaning useless files created by the system, garbage, any other cleaner would also serve as the problem is related to the folder that stores temporary files, and she filled it was not for anything else.
Thanks all!

24 Marilyn February 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm

This worked like a charm! Thank you so much. I will be signing up for your newsletter.

25 Mj April 12, 2012 at 10:29 am

Thank you! I can’t get my tech support to call me back, so I found you via google…cleanup tool worked great!

26 Nic0 April 13, 2012 at 10:07 am

Thank you! It works, problem solved, I’m not stressed anymore 🙂
Special thanks to Mr.Sam.T as he directed me to this page at the first place.

27 Dennis May 2, 2012 at 9:01 am

Great article!

28 rafeeq ali May 14, 2012 at 2:52 am

wow!!!!!!!! after a long time, i was able to solve my problems, tank you very much!!!!!!!!!

29 Yasser Najah July 26, 2012 at 10:51 am

Thanks much for posting this!

30 David August 8, 2012 at 11:02 am

Hi i’m unable to find the free outlook clean up tool on your download page. can you please help? thanks!

31 Steve Wiseman August 8, 2012 at 11:13 am

Looks like the download page was broken for IE. It has been fixed.

Here is the direct link:

32 asanka kasun August 9, 2012 at 5:00 am

firstly clear folder items inside following path
C:\Documents and Settings\%user%\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook

33 Mike Guilmot December 17, 2012 at 5:15 am

You can also put this in a script, so you don’t have to look it up in the registry. This will open Explorer directly at this location (in Win7)

@echo OFF
set KEY_NAME=”HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\security”
set VALUE_NAME=OutlookSecureTempFolder
FOR /F “tokens=2*” %%A IN (‘REG.exe query “%KEY_NAME%” /v “%VALUE_NAME%”‘) DO (set pOutlookSecureTempFolder=%%B)
explorer.exe %pOutlookSecureTempFolder%

34 B Williams March 16, 2013 at 11:11 am

Only 5 words, Sir you are a genius! Your write up is spot on! We were able to resolve our issue.

35 Saher May 23, 2013 at 2:40 am

Thanks a lot for your clearly explain

36 Markus May 28, 2013 at 8:22 am

Hi there,

from what I’ve seen so far the folder always resides under %localappdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\ and the folder name always begins with “OLK”. So in most cases it should be possible to get hold of it with a few lines in a batchfile, not invlving the registry:

@echo off
cd “%localappdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\OLK*\”
set temp_fld=%cd%
cd \
del “%temp_fld%\*.*”

Cheers — Markus

37 Lucy March 13, 2015 at 4:58 pm


I’m having this same exact issue except my VB application is automating Outlook to send the emails out( no control over deleting them manually), with same attachment file name, and the limit for outlook 2010 seems to be in this case 200, instead of 99 in your case. Any permanent solutions,workarounds would be appreciated.

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