We can’t open .msg File In Outlook – Solved

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We all know that MS Outlook only supports MSG files. Email messages are stored within them, while attachments are usually saved in a proprietary format. Moreover, the inability to open an MSG file can stem from various factors. As a result, it ranges from software issues to file corruption. However, multiple users are looking for a solution to know how to resolve the “Cannot open MSG Files.” The pop-up says:  

Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. We can’t open ‘C:\Users\a40005772\Desktop\8D Training – 1st batch (268).msg’. It’s possible the file is already open, or you don’t have permission to open it. 

To check your permissions, right-click the file folder, then click Properties.

Why Can’t I Open MSG Files in Outlook 2019 or 2021? 

If you’re unable to open msg files in Outlook 2019 or 2021, there may be a few common reasons why. Now, let’s discuss these reasons below:

  • If your Microsoft Outlook is set up incorrectly, it might lead to issues opening MSG files. Check your Outlook settings to ensure everything is configured properly.
  • Trying to preview MSG files using a hexadecimal editor can cause trouble. Stick to regular methods to avoid complications.
  • If you’re attempting to open an MSG file in Outlook that’s already open, it won’t work. Close the file in Outlook before trying again.
  • If you’re not allowed to access or open the MSG file due to permission issues, you’ll encounter problems. Make sure you have the necessary permissions.
  • If your MSG files are in Unicode format, consider using Outlook 2003 or an earlier version for better compatibility.

Here are some reasons to be unable to open MSG files in Outlook 365 error. Now, we will discuss how to resolve them. 

Fix MSG Files Not Opening in Outlook

Is your MSG file refusing to open in Outlook? The following section will discuss different ways to resolve the problem. 

#1. Change Your Outlook Configuration: 

The following steps are as follows: 

  • First, open the Outlook application on your computer.
  • After that, click on the “File” tab at the top.
  • From the drop-down list, choose “Account Settings.”
  • Thereafter, select the email account you’re using and click “Change.”
  • Then, enter your password in the window that pops up.
  • Outlook will test your account settings.
  • After the test, click “Next,” then “Finish,” and finally, “Close.”

By following these straightforward steps, you can tweak your Outlook settings and potentially resolve the issue of MSG files not opening in Outlook.

#2. Open Your MSG File Using the Right Outlook Version 

If you’re having trouble opening MSG files, consider this simple solution: match the Outlook version. Here’s how:

  • First, know your Outlook version.
  • After that, use a similar Outlook version to open your MSG file.

Keep in mind that you can’t have two Outlook versions on one device. So, you have two options:

Option 1: Uninstall your current Outlook before installing the new version.

Option 2: Install Outlook on a different computer and try opening the MSG file there.

You might crack the code to open your MSG files by sticking to the correct Outlook version.

#3. Open MSG Files Manually

Opening MSG files shouldn’t be a headache. Follow these simple steps:

  • Your computer usually recognizes MSG files. Look for the email icon in File Explorer.
  • If you see the email icon, double-click it to open the file in Outlook. Your computer knows what to do.
  • At last, right-click on the file, choose “Open With,” and select “Outlook.”

The above solution will help you to resolve the cannot open MSG file in Outlook 365 error. Moreover, we have other approaches for the same. You can also follow them. 

#4. Disabling Add-ins 

  • First, Open the Outlook program on your computer.
  • Afterwards, click the “File” tab, then select “Options.”
  • On the left, choose “Add-Ins.”
  • At the bottom, find “Manage” and select “COM Add-Ins.” Click “Go.”
  • Further, uncheck all the add-ins, then hit “OK.”
  • In the end, restart Outlook and check if the problem persists.

If your MSG file still won’t open, don’t fret. Try re-enabling one add-in at a time to identify the cause. 

#5. Clearing Temporary Files

If you’re having trouble opening MSG files in Outlook, your solution might be as simple as cleaning up temporary files. 

  • First, open File Explorer by pressing the Windows key + E.
  • Enter the following path in the address bar:

C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook

If that doesn’t work, try this:

  • Further, open the Registry Editor by searching for it in Windows (Windows key + S), then press Ctrl+F, and search for:


  • Now, copy the folder path from the Registry Editor and paste it into File Explorer.
  • Then, press Ctrl + A to select all files in the folder.
  • After that, click “Delete” to remove the files.
  • Lastly, restart your computer and check if your MSG files are now open with Outlook.

By clearing out these temporary files, you might give Outlook the boost it needs to handle MSG files smoothly. 

#6. Adjusting Outlook Email Formats for MSG Files 

If you’re having trouble opening Outlook email files (MSG files), how do you save them matters. Follow these simple steps:

  • When saving an Outlook email, ensure to choose the correct format. Select “Outlook Message Format-Unicode (.msg)” or “Outlook Message Format (.msg)” from the drop-down menu.
  • If your email is already in Outlook, you can change the file format easily.
    • Further, go to File > Options > Mail.
    • Then, look for the “Use Unicode Format” option in the Save Messages section.
    • Turn it on or off based on your needs.
  • At last, make the changes and try opening the file in Outlook again.

Remember, the file format you use depends on your Outlook version. It’s a quick fix to ensure smooth handling of your MSG files.

#7. Update Windows And Office 

If you’re facing errors opening MSG files, a simple solution might be updating your Windows operating system and Office application. 

Update Windows:

  • First, press the Windows key + I to open Settings.
  • Then, navigate to Windows Update.
  • Now, check for available updates and install them. Once done, restart your computer.

Update Office:

If you have Microsoft Office from the Microsoft Store:

  • Initially, open the Office app and go to the Library.
  • Then, look for updates for all apps installed from the Store.

If you installed Office using a setup file:

  • First, open Outlook and click File > Account > Update Options.
  • After that, select Update Now.

#8. Rebuilding Extend.dat File

If you’re facing MSG file errors in Outlook, it might be due to a corrupted Extend.dat file. Follow these simple steps to have Outlook recreate it:

  • First, Close Outlook and any other open applications.
  • Then, press the Windows key + E to open File Explorer. In the search bar, look for the “extend.dat” file.
  • For each file you find, rename it to “extend.old.” Simply select the file, press F2, and make the change.
  • At last, restart Outlook and try opening your MSG file again.

By refreshing the Extend.dat file, you might solve those cannot open MSG files with Outlook 365 in no time. If the above solutions don’t work appropriately, opt for the MSG Converter. It will help users to preview data files with a hierarchical folder. In fact, there is no data file limitation while using this software.

Also Read: Convert MSG To MBOX Format

Concluding Words 

Encountering the “Cannot open MSG file” message indicates some problems, but don’t worry! Therefore, this blog post explains the potential causes and provides solutions. By following these steps, you can likely fix the issue and open your MSG files. Remember to stay patient and systematic. If the problem continues, it might be a good idea to ask for help from tech experts to make sure everything gets sorted out properly. Keep trying, and you’ll likely get it working.

About The Author:

Pradeep is a dedicated technical content writer who thrives on the intersection of technology and storytelling. With a background in engineering and a passion for writing, he brings a unique blend of technical expertise and creativity to his work. Pradeep’s articles not only educate but also entertain, making complex technical subjects approachable and intriguing for a broad audience. His work has been featured in numerous tech blogs, making him a trusted source for tech enthusiasts and novices alike.

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