Windows 7 - Can't open PDF attachements from Outlook Express in Windows XP

Asked By Annice Grinberg on 24-Dec-07 02:18 PM
I just set up a new computer running XP Pro. Adobe Reader 8.1 is installed.
If I get an e-mail with a PDF attachment and ask to open it, it says
file type." However, if I save the file and double-click on it, it opens in
Adobe Reader.

I went to Folder Options, and the PDF extension was not listed, so I added
it and asked it to open with Adobe Reader 8.1. However, it just calls it a
PDF file, rather than an Adobe Acrobat file, so something must be messed up

Any help you can offer will be appreciated.


Bruce Hagen replied on 24-Dec-07 02:21 PM
Save the attachment to your HDD. Right click on it and Open With | Choose
Program. Find and choose a program that works, (Adobe Reader), and then
check the box: Always use this program to open this kind of file. This
should enable you to open these attachments in the future.
Bruce Hagen
MS-MVP Outlook Express
Imperial Beach, CA
Annice Grinberg replied on 25-Dec-07 01:59 AM
Thanks for the advice, but it didn't work!

I did as you suggested, and still get "unknown file type: when I try to open
the attachement.  When the same file is saved to my disk, I have no trouble
opening it by double-clicking.  Yet the same file won't open when it is an
attachment.  Very strange.

As a test, I sent a PDF file attachment from a different Outlook Express
userid on my other computer (running the same system) and encountered the
same problem.

Bruce Hagen replied on 25-Dec-07 10:11 AM
Control Panel | Tools | Folder Options | File Types. Scroll down to PDF
files and see if the association is set for Adobe Reader. If not, make it
Bruce Hagen
MS-MVP Outlook Express
Imperial Beach, CA
Jone Doe replied on 25-Dec-07 10:15 AM
I run into the same thing, but with me it is PPS (Ower Point) files.  I
tried everything to no avail, as long as it's in the email it says "unknown
file type".  So I just drag the attachment to the desktop, where it works

After looking I either save it, or in most cases drag it into the recycle
Bruce Hagen replied on 25-Dec-07 10:28 AM
Did you try this?

There is a conflict with PPS and XP/SP2. See this link for a fix:
Bruce Hagen
MS-MVP Outlook Express
Imperial Beach, CA
PA Bear replied on 25-Dec-07 10:59 AM
[Originally posted in IE General w/out this level of detail.  ~PA Bear]
Jone Doe replied on 25-Dec-07 11:16 AM
Hadn't seen that one, thanks Bruce.
PA Bear replied on 25-Dec-07 11:23 AM
[Make that WinXP General]
Michael Santovec replied on 25-Dec-07 01:44 PM
See the Identifying Attachment File Types and Setting File Associations
section of
Decoding Internet Attachments - A Tutorial

You need to create an OPEN action in the Windows File Associations that
has the same command as whatever the default action is.  OE uses the
OPEN action, which is not necessarily the same as the default action
which double clicking uses.


Mike -
Annice Grinberg replied on 25-Dec-07 03:06 PM
Thanks to everyone who tried to help.  My husband, who's no computer expert,
suggested reinstalling Adobe Reader.  I uninstalled it, then reinstalled it,
and the problem is now solved.   Why didn't I think of that!

Unknown replied on 25-Dec-07 03:17 PM
Noone can think of everything---outstanding job you did.