Fix Microsoft Outlook Can’t Create File Errors

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 17, 2011
Updated • Nov 29, 2012
Microsoft Outlook, Software, Windows software

Microsoft Outlook users who receive many file attachments of the same name will run into a can't create file error message eventually. This can happen for instance if voicemail or faxes are routed to email. The core problem is this. Outlook creates a temporary copy of each attachment in a directory, and appends a number behind the file name if the names are otherwise identical. The error message is displayed once that count reaches 100. If that is the case, users will get the following error message in Outlook for the next files with that filename.

Can’t Create file: [filename]. Right-Click the folder you want to create the file in, and then click properties on the shortcut menu to check your permissions for the folder

cant create file

The only option? To clear the temporary storage space to make room for new attachments. Clearing the cache does not negatively affect the attachments in Outlook, it simply means that Outlook won't be able to access them from hard drive cache but instead from MIME format directly which might take longer to process.

Outlook Cleanup Tool is a free program for Outlook that can clear the cache automatically or semi-automatically so that the can't create file error does not pop up anymore in the email client.

outlook attachment cleaner

Run the program after download to resolve the error. It displays a list of cached files. The information are taken from the Registry. A click on Clean Up clears the temporary cache which in turn resolves the error message.

It needs to be noted that the cache will be filled again by Outlook, and that it may be necessary to run the tool regularly to avoid the can't create file error message.

The program can be run from the command line. It has a /silent switch which will clean up the cache automatically without user interaction. Handy to use the command in a batch file at log on for instance or log off.

Besides solving the can't create file errors, it resolves a privacy issue as well, if other users have access to the computer system. Caching attachments as temporary files might give other users access to them in the temp folder, even if the original attachment has been deleted or detached from the email message. Cleaning the temporary data folder removes that possibility.

You can naturally locate and delete the temp folder manually. For that, you need to open the Windows Registry and search for the key OutlookSecureTempFolder.

It should be under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\x.x\Outlook\Security where x.x is the internal version of Outlook.

You can download the portable Outlook Cleanup Tool from the developer website over at Intelliadmin. The program is compatible with all versions of Windows from Windows 2000 on, and all versions of Microsoft Outlook from Outlook XP to the very latest Outlook 2010.


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  1. Service Pack said on December 22, 2022 at 11:34 am

    Not again… Just stop… I know it’s for the clicks but if this doesn’t stop more and more people will stop visiting this site…

  2. Shania said on December 22, 2022 at 12:31 pm

    I woke up and wondered how to update outlook. Despite my considerable google-fu, I couldn’t find a way, nor could I find I way to do it from the software’s options.

    Then I had a vision, I felt a divine voice telling me to visit ghacks, find an article written by Shaun. “It’s a miracle” I said, as I followed Shaun’s post and now I have successfully updated my outlook.

    P.S. I don’t know how to update, Skype, Microsoft Edge, Word/Excel/Powerpoint and Defender. I seem to have forgotten how to update windows too. Please Shaun, make more and more tutorials for them too.

    1. ShintoPlasm said on December 23, 2022 at 10:11 am

      Hallelujah, it’s an early Christmas miracle! Ave Shaun, our saviour and messiah!

  3. Squeeze Pimmel said on December 22, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    Regarding the author’s statement: “Almost everyone uses Microsoft Outlook”. Without proof, your arguments lack credibility and teeth, so where is the supporting evidence, to suggest that statement is truthful. It’s certainly not mentioned in any of the five randomised hyperlinks. That type of link stuffing, is destroying the brand.

  4. Herman said on December 22, 2022 at 5:56 pm

    WoW! Thanks for the very informative and detailed information on how to update outlook! I’ve been losing sleep hoping that somewhere, someday, someone would publish critical instructions like this so the milling throng of my users could be kept safe and secure while trying to recover from the Rackspace hosted exchange meltdown which, for the most part has made your beloved outlook – updated or not, basically useless.

    Uh Shaun? You do know that this most basic type of assistance is available all over the web and for the most part, the type of people that read this site may, just may know a wee bit more about subject matters like this and would not be turning here for this copy/paste advice.

    How long did it take you to research this article? Did you actually test this out on your own machine before posting? No, most people do NOT use outlook, at least not by choice and I would guess from actual field experience that most prefer the web-based gmail application as their primary source for email. Outlook is second, Thunderbird third and then various other third-party email programs after that but hey! Shaun, whatever you say! You’re the expert that was brought on to keep me informed on these matters.

    Feel free to copy/paste below this statement for your next article here. You don’t even need to site me for the credit! My holiday gift to you!

    Computer not working? Making your tummy upset? Press the on/off switch! Thats the little switch that powers the machine on and then off. Wait 30 seconds which can be assessed by looking at a clock be it digital or analog or by employing the classic 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi method. This is accomplished by repeating that small phrase thirty times but do it slowly so you don’t under estimate your actual timing which risks turning it back on too soon! Now, power it back up again. Power it back up means pressing the on/off switch back to on! It can’t be off since it was first on but then turned back to off so turning it back on again means pressing it from the off position, back to on!

    Everyone uses the on/off switch! You should too!

  5. yanta said on December 23, 2022 at 12:36 am

    Almost everyone uses Outlook?

    A more untrue statement has never been made. I suspect the number of people using Outlook is less than 10%, but I have no data to back that up. Of the hundreds of customers, family and friends who systems I maintain the is but ONE sole outlook user. And she is still on 2010 and refuses to update.

    She has almost 16,000 unread emails in her inbox. A junk mail OCD..

    For her real work emails she uses gmail, another bad choice.

  6. mikhoul said on December 23, 2022 at 1:42 am

    I never used Outlook and I work in computing field and I don’t know anybody that use it.

    On what planet do you live and also it’s a shame to use such clickbait wording.

    3 weeks ago I was reading Ghack each morning to have some useful information but since 2 weeks with the poor quality of the articles I look 2 times a week at most and today was 1 of this time and I decided it will be once a week since it’s enough for me.

    You bought a site for the traffic but are destroying it in a fast way since 2-3 weeks. I was opretty sure it will happen like it happen 99.9% of the time a big company acquire a smaller one only sadly to destroy it.

  7. Herman Cost said on December 23, 2022 at 3:09 am

    I also have had a technology focused career and, like most people, I do not use Outlook. Its one thing to be printing propaganda for Microsoft. It is another thing entirely to be printing utter falsehoods like “almost everyone uses Outlook” or (from another Shaun posting) “Most people have now switched to Microsoft Edge”.

    Ghacks worked hard to gain its user’s trust. This kind of nonsense will quickly erode it.

  8. VioletMoon said on December 23, 2022 at 3:31 am

    Email client market share breakdown:

    According to the latest data, as of August 2022, the two most used email clients in the world are Apple and Gmail. At 57.72%, Apple has the majority of the email client market share. It’s used by more than half of the world’s email users to send and receive emails.

    Now gHacks can be best known for the spread of misinformation.

    Poor Martin! All the years and work he’s put in to make a reputable blog destroyed in a few short weeks.

  9. Mark said on December 23, 2022 at 6:50 am

    Almost everyone uses Microsoft Outlook…. And Bing too. Google is going to shut down Gmail and Google search because almost everybody has switched to Outlook and Bing haha.

  10. Speciality Show said on December 23, 2022 at 12:30 pm

    Fact: none of my close friends or family uses Microsoft Outlook, to the best of my knowledge. Perhaps: “Almost everyone uses Microsoft Outlook” was meant to say something like: “Almost everyone [at Softonic] uses Microsoft Outlook”?

    Or possibly the author’s above declaration was just copy-and-pasted from the ‘scrap of paper’ found within a Christmas cracker, i.e. a joke. It certainly reads like one…

    It’s not particularly helpful giving beginners such leading nonsense as “Almost everyone uses Microsoft Outlook” in a “tutorial advert”, for an email client, within a technology news blog. It reflects badly upon the website and damages its credibility. The author of the article perhaps should reconsider rewording their text; relating to Outlook’s popularity.

    Tell the truth, or someone will tell it for you.

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