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Help! Outlook Ate My Files

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016 by | Filed Under: E-Mail Help, Security Help

A reader made a big email mistake and now she can’t open her documents. “Day before yesterday, I sent an email with two attached files from one of my home computers to another. When I opened the email, I saw that Outlook had refused to download (or in any case let me open) the attachments because they thought they were suspicious. Since I sent them to myself, I know they are not! But I had deleted these files after I sent them, not imagining they wouldn’t reach me. Is there any way to open and therefore have access to them? I signed into my Microsoft account but found nothing that would help.”


The big lesson to take away from this is to never delete files you need unless you’re sure you have copies somewhere safe and sound. Instead of sending the files as attachments, you probably would have been better off to upload them to a cloud service like OneDrive that you can access from multiple devices.

I’m not sure if you’re talking about the Outlook email client installed on your PC or when you say it won’t let you download your files.

If you’re speaking about the Outlook email client, it will sometimes view certain types of files as suspicious. The problem is that with later versions of Outlook, it is impossible to get it to download those attachments without making changes to the registry of your PC.

Using OneDrive would be the best way to go for sharing files, but you could also have the sender change the name of the file  extension for say,  file.doc to file.test.  Then send it to you and you could rename the file back to file.doc.  Still, that seems like a lot of work.

If your file won’t download, it’s likely still on the mail server for your email provider. You should be able to access your email via a webmail interface and save those attachments. If you happen to be using, you’re already there at OneDrive and should be able to save to OneDrive with a single click.


From OneDrive you should be able to download them to your PC.

~ Cynthia

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One Response to “Help! Outlook Ate My Files”

  1. Melissa Leath says:

    Wondering: couldn’t she go back to the first computer that she sent the email from and pull up the “sent” emails? It’s possible the attachment will be there?

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