It seems they've put some Clippy-like behavior into Outlook 07. Assume you open an email message and open its attachment, given that you make no changes to the message or the attachment.

  • If you close the attachment, then close the email - works as expected
  • Close email - prompted to save changes to attachment

I have some clerical users, and they tend to believe what the computer tells them. In this case, I'm having a hard time determining the reason someone determined that Outlook should lie in this case, and prompt someone to save a file that hasn't changed.

Regardless, I've only been able to find examples of people failing to find a fix for this. Anyone have ideas?

edit: I should have clarified, I suppose I'm looking for a workarounnd, as it's consistently reproduceable for any machine, and I suspect is therefore "working as intended"


As far as I know this is the long standing way Outlook has worked. I assume it is because Outlook knows another program has the attachment open, and therefore can't open the file itself to check for changes.

You could try installing viewer programs and setting them as the default openers from Outlook. Most MS Office programs have a "viewer" version (Publisher is the notable exception).

There are 2 workarounds if that doesn't fix it:

  1. Train your users to not "save changes" back in the email. They shouldn't anyway, it corrupts history :-).

  2. Train your users to save the file in some temporary location, and open from there. In my mind, that is worse than 1, but I include it for completeness!


Depending upon the attachment type it may have changed when opened in its temporary location in windows. For instance an excel sheet with formulas. Is it a zipped file or in it's final format when it arrives?


Disable your Outlook add-ins (like Everyone, Acrobat Reader, etc) and see if the problem goes away.

  • Behavior is independent of add-ons so far. – Kara Marfia Jul 30 '10 at 13:23

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