The ranting of an IT Professional

Oct 22 2009   8:11PM GMT

Recovering a file from the Outlook temp folder

Jason Tramer Jason Tramer Profile: Jason Tramer

Ever opened an attachment in Outlook, made changes, and then did a save instead of save as? Suck’s I know. Microsoft seems to delight it making it all but impossible to find your file. Windows search will be of absolute no help here.

So here is what you do.

First find the location of you Outlook temp directory. You can get this info from the registry

Outlook 97 HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Outlook\Security
Outlook 98 HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.5\Outlook\Security
Outlook 2000 HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\9.0\Outlook\Security
Outlook 2002/XP HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Outlook\Security
Outlook 2003 HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\Security
Outlook 2007 HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\Security

You can try navigating to this location in Windows explorer but for me it lead to a dead end, I could no see the folder it specified even though I had selected show hidden files and de-selected Hide essential operating system files. However you can access this from command prompt. Open command prompt, navigate to the folder (you can use the tab key to save time by auto populating fields) and then use the copy command to copy this file somewhere else on your computer.

Bang, Bob’s your uncle. No the only thing left to do is email Microsoft and ask them why they hate you so much.

3  Comments on this Post

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  • Aligntech
    Hi there Jason, just stumbled onto your post after assisting a client with this issue. Hadn't hit this yet on a win 7 box but had done so millions of times under xp where it was simpler because when you hit 'save as' from opening the attachment in Outlook at least it took you to this temp folder and voila all the attachments are there. Doesn't do this in Win7. The only thing I wanted to add was to save you going into DOS to do this copy. You can actually navigate to this folder (I could in XP anyway) by typing the path into the address field. Eg. I could get as far as C:Documents and Settings[I]user[/I]Local SettingsTemporary Internet Files but no folders appear. The trick then is to type "Content.Outlook" after this and push enter and bingo the 'hidden' folder will appear and then the randomly named secure folder. I figure there may be differences in variables depending on OS but this worked in XP SP3. Hope this helps. Kind regards, Daniel
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  • Metadata
    Jason, Thanks for taking the trouble to document this. It probably saved me many hours of searching for those temp files. I did exactly what you outlined -- modified an outlook attachment and then forgot to save it before closing it. Luckily, thanks to google and you, I was able to recover it. This works for Win7 and Outlook 2007.
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  • Campamocha
    Thanks Jason! Saved me hours of work! I wanted to add a couple of instructions for not so experienced users. 1.- Go to Start, then RUN and type Regedit 2.- On the left side tree, look for the path correspondent to your version of outlook. for example for Outlook 2007 you will clic on all the folders to take you to the desired path: My computer then HKEY_CURRENT_USER then Software then Microsoft then Office then 12.0 then Outlook then Security On the right window you should see a file called OutlookSecureTempFolder and in the Data column you should see the location in your computer of this file. Now go to explorer and and type the address that you saw in the data column of the registry (most of the times you won't see the folders even though you uncheck the hide option in the folder so you will have to type it yourself). In my case it was C:Documents and Settingsyour_NameLocal SettingsTemporary Internet FilesContent.OutlookX815QHPQ Browse in the particular folder where the registry address pointed to and your file should be there. Seconding Jason, email Microsoft and ask them why they hate you so much
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