I have to admit this has stumped me...

User's Workstation

  • Outlook 2010 (32-bit) w/ Cached Exchange Mode enabled
  • Windows 7 Pro (64-bit)

Email account is on Exchange 2003


The user is unable to open certain emails in Outlook on this computer. Error msg is "Cannot open this item". The same user has a laptop with Outlook 2010 (32-bit) and Windows 7 Pro (32-bit). On his laptop he CAN open these emails without any problems. So to me that says this is a bug with Windows 7 Pro (64-bit). He can also open these emails on his BlackBerry.

Things I've tried to fix this problem...

  1. Recreate his Outlook profile from scratch
  2. Recreate his Windows user profile from scratch
  3. Reinstall Office 2010 from scratch
  4. Move his Exchange mailbox to a different storage group on the server
  5. Installed a Microsoft Hotfix that supposedly fixes the problem (it did not)

Strange thing is - most of the emails he cannot open were emails sent to him from a BlackBerry within the organization. Coincidence?

Any help is greatly appreciated!

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    I think you may be barking up the wrong tree with thinking it's an OS issue. I (most unfortunately) and the rest of the IT department at my current shop have an Exchange 2003 mail environment we access from Windows 7 Pro x64, Outlook 32 bit. Works fine, even if Exchange 2003 sucks. I'd look at how your BB server is passing those mail items, and if the permissions on those mail objects are incorrectly applied (or if maybe they generate an invalid object "path"). – HopelessN00b Aug 10 '12 at 0:45
  • just to clarify - do they get the error when they first try to open a message or when they try to open an attachment in the message? If it is when opening the message, does it open in the reading pane and/or OWA? – Rex Aug 14 '12 at 17:30
  • Can he open then in OWA? If you create a profile for him on a different machine does it work? – Nate Jan 3 '13 at 15:52
  • Are these messages encrypted? Could it be he doesn't have the required private key on the problematic computer? – charleswj81 Mar 13 '13 at 3:52
  • Is this user an Admin in the Exchange organization? – I say Reinstate Monica Dec 25 '14 at 2:44

I was having the same problem with Outlook 2010. The IT team recreated my roaming user profile once and it started working. But I wasn't satisfied by that solution.

Tried many things and finally... I did a disk clean up.

  1. Close Outlook 2010.

  2. Go to Computer > Right click C: > Properties > Disk clean up > check all > click OK.

And that's it. When I restarted outlook all my emails which caused issue started working.

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  • It would be helpful to know what this does that may affect this problem. Before generalization it should be ruled out that this wasn't a coincidence. – Esa Jokinen Aug 12 '17 at 7:18
  • Few other users also tried the same in my office and it worked. Not exactly sure on the root cause. Outlook was able to show the email text in the preview (small popup when email arrives). So I guessed that its still able to read it but something else is causing the issue. May be some thing is cached in the temp. As I don't know how to reproduce this issue, unable to pin point on the exact setting you need to select in the disk clean up. But, select all - and it works.... – Rony Dennis Sep 8 '17 at 16:00

Is you exchange database corrupt? I only ask because we had a corrupt hd on our exchange 2003 server and experienced lots of messages like this.

The exchange data is split into two files .edb and .stm and I remember that these store different views of your emails which might be why the email displays OK in OWA.

Not sure why the email would work ok on a laptop but not the workstation unless its cached on one of them.

It maybe worth double checking the status of your exchange data.

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  • If Exchange DB corruption is at fault, all clients would be unable to open the problematic messages. – I say Reinstate Monica Dec 25 '14 at 2:43

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