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Published on March 21st, 2017 | by Technable


Can’t Open MSG – File May Not Exist in Outlook – Don’t Have Permission to Open

Can not open file. The file may not exist, or it may be open in another program

“In Outlook 2007/ Windows 7, I am continuously facing an issue in opening MSG file from a network share. Apart from this, I have full access to it because I am the owner of the file, still facing an issue. It displays an error like, Can’t open the file. The file may not exist, or it may be open in another program, or you may not have the permission to open it. However, it is not in use by any other application, still facing this error. Is there any solution available for this?”

It is the more often asked query by Outlook users. This query occurs when Outlook is in progress mode and its main cause is Outlook fails to release the message. Therefore, users are constantly searching for a solution to fix the error that says can not open .msg file in Outlook problem.

Technique to Resolve can not open .msg file error

To fix “can not open file. The file may not exist, or it may be open by another application” error manually, a user must have MS Outlook installed on their machine. However, to resolve such kind of MSG file opening error manually without any expert help, a user can try different solutions discussed below:

Method 1: Start MS Outlook in Safe Mode

To start Outlook in safe mode, one simply follow the instruction below:

  • First of all, Click on Start >> Run
  • After that, type the following command: outlook.exe /safe

If this does not work, a user can try method 2.

Method 2: Disable all Add-ins

In this steps, a user needs to disable all the add-ins. It may solve this issue because an add-in is more often blame for locking.

Method 3: Rename extend.dat

It is the most common data file that can be used for troubleshooting. The installed Exchange Client Extensions (ECE) add-ins registry cache is maintained by this extend.dat file. Therefore, resetting or renaming extend.dat will force Outlook to recover the settings from the registry again and reset their status.

To reset the extend.dat, one needs to browse its location and rename it.

Location on PC: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook\

It the issue still persist then the issue can be resolved with below-mentioned method.

Method 4: Clear Outlook Temp File Cache

When a user exit Outlook application, attachments remain in Outlook secure temporary file folder. It is because Outlook cannot remove files or temporary folder whenever attachments are open. However, this may lead to serious issue sometimes. Therefore, it is better to clear Outlook and temp cache files, which can also solve ‘cannot open .msg file’ issue. If a user still encounters the same issue, then user can try next method to fix the error.

Method 5: Disable AV on the Server and PC

Another method that a user can try to solve this MSG file issue is turning off anti-virus on the server and PC for a temporary purpose. This is also one of the reasons behind ‘The file may not exist, or it may be open in another program’ .msg file error.

Method 6: Confirm Permissions, You have full access to the drive

The another possible reason that a user is not able to open .msg file is the ‘you may not have the permission to open it.’ Thus, to make or to confirm, right-click on the folder in which all files are stored and then, click on Properties to check the permission that you have related to the folder.

Method 7: Recreated my Outlook profile

If all of the above methods fails to resolve .msg file error, then the main reason of occurrence of this error is due to when current mail profile is damaged. Hence, it becomes necessary to recreate Outlook profile. To recreate Outlook profile, follow the steps given below:

    1. To manage Outlook Mail Profile, open Control Panel on your system
    2. After that, click on Mail option in the Control Panel


    1. In the Mail Setup, click on Show Profiles option to manage Outlook mail account


    1. Now, select the profile that a user wants to delete and click on Remove >> OK button
    2. To add a new Outlook Profile, click on Add button


    1. A new window will appear. In that type new profile name and click on OK button
    2. Add Account window will open, enter all the required details and click on Next button


    1. A configuration will start. As the new account configured successfully, click on Finish button


  1. Now, restart Outlook with new profile and click on OK button
  2. After trying this solution, a user can easily open MSG file without any hassle. However, a user can also go for a direct solution to open an MSG file without Outlook. One can try a free third party available i.e. SysTools MSG File Viewer to open & read data from msg file even without installing MS Outlook.


Can not open file. The file may not exist, or you may not have the permission to open it, or it may be open in another program.” is the most popular search query nowadays asked by the users. Therefore, to resolve this MSG file issue, we have discussed various different methods. A user can try them to fix it, manually without any expert help. Moreover, in order to have a direct solution to open & view MSG file, a user can go for a free third party solution i.e. MSG File Viewer suggested above.

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