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If a 'friend' has double-clicked an Excel attachment from an Outlook 2007 email and worked on it, saved it and then closed Excel and the email, where would that file be lurking (assuming I haven't exited Outlook?

I seem to remember Outlook 2003 putting stuff in
%username%\Local Setings\Temporary Internet Files in OLK prefixed folders, but no sign of anything relevant looking in there.

I'm he's on Windows XP.

Temporary folder eventually found in:
C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook
but need to navigate directly to this folder via pasting into 'Run...' dialog or Explorer to see it.

Unfortunately, Outlook deletes the attchment when you close the email.

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11 Answers 11

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I had the exact same problem.

Like BBlake said, do this: *if all else fails, you can check in the registry to see where the temporary files are stored: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\Security\OutlookSecureTempFolder*

It will point to a folder in c:...\Temporary Internet Files...

If you look in explorer and try to navigate to that folder, you won't see it. Instead, copy the entire path in to explorer. It will get there (at least it did for me). Not sure why it is hidden. I have my folder options to show all hidden files, and it still doesn't show up.

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That did it. For some reason, even if you have 'show hidden and system files' enabled, you cand see any folders in 'Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files'. – pelms Jul 27 '10 at 9:59
Ok, this is a dumb question, but how do I "check the registry?" – Zach Sep 17 '12 at 20:45
@Zach. Run 'regedit' and follow the folder structure in the path above (i.e. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office... etc.) – pelms Oct 24 '12 at 16:49
Thanks. I can't believe Outlook just lets you edit attachments and then hides them completely. Thousands of people must lose hours of work every day as they search desperately for their edited files and never find them... – MGOwen May 20 '14 at 4:30
@pelms and others: annoyingly, turning on "hidden files and folders" isn't enough to see this location. You must go down a few more options in the same window and toggle "hide protected operating system files", then click through all the nanny-screaming dialogs before you can see where Outlook dumps stuff. – Ti Strga Jul 18 '14 at 18:17

if all else fails, you can check in the registry to see where the temporary files are stored: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\Security\OutlookSecureTempFolder

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Tried that as well but it pointed to the non-existent 'Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook' folder... – pelms Jul 1 '10 at 23:00

This article explains how to find the location (it differs for each user and version of outlook).

If that doesn't work then I would suggest looking in %temp% and if it's not there, then %appdata%.

Good luck.

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Another way to find the file is to use the advanced features of search and limit to .xl* files saved on the day in question.

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For some reason, search doesn't see these files even if you point it at the right folder and have 'view hidden & system files' enabled. – pelms Jul 27 '10 at 10:04

I found it under C:\Documents and Settings\smuthukrishnan\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\T4KZ5M1A.

To know the path specific to your environment, see in registry:

  • For Outlook 2010



    Value Name: OutlookSecureTempFolder
    Data Type: REG_SZ
  • Outlook 2007



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JeffGl, you put me on the right track. I was looking for a Word doc and the tips about finding the secure outlook folder led nowhere. I then used your trick in Excel and it pointed to a subtly different location: c:\users\username\local\windows\temporary internet files\content.outlook\WDJU83756.

Although I told Explorer to show all files and folders, this folder did not appear. I had the Explorer window looking at the contents of \Temporary Internet Files\ and I clicked in the location bar and typed \content.outlook\ after the path and then it showed a list of folders I could not see, one of which was the one I was looking for.

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In my setup, the path you've noted is correct, but the folders you need to access are hidden, so navigating to them in windows explorer isn't easy.

What I do for someone if this happens is open the original email, open the attachment and then start a "save as" causing windows to show the full path to where it is going to save the document. I don't save (which would overwrite the edited version of the document) but note the full path names, which can then be manually typed into the address bar in windows explorer. I then find the saved version of the attachment and move it to a my documents folder.

I'm sure they may be an easier approach, but this has helped me rescue co-workers' documents more than once.

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I have used this method in the past with some success but this time the 'Save As...' pointed to the My Documents folder... – pelms Jul 1 '10 at 22:56

The easiest way to find the location where Outlooks stores Excel attachments is by using the =CELL("filename") function to show the exact location.

In my case it's like these:

C:\Documents and Settings\jgi39692\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\K7VGFJBF
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Another way to know which folder is used is to open another attachment, and ask the editor where this file is.

For instance, in MS Word, open Prepare > Properties

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I realize this is an old post, but this may be helpful for some who Google and come across this post looking for a solution. If you try all the proposed solutions offered above, and find that none of them work for one reason or another, you may try right clicking on the Temporary Internet Files folder, select Advanced, then check the box for indexing all files. It was only after I did that was I able to view and navigate the Content.Outlook folder in Windows 7.

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If you open Excel, couldn't you just open the file as a Recent Item and then look at the path to that item?

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Tried that but was not listed in Excel's recent docs unfortunately. – pelms Jul 1 '10 at 22:57
No, MS Office is not smart enough to keep in "recent items" the files opened from Outlook – rds Jan 18 '13 at 9:55

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