Fix MSG File Not Opening Problem in Outlook | 7 Solution

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MSG file format is the extension used for mail exchange on Microsoft. If you have encountered MSG file not opening problem, this write-up is for you. Here you will learn 7 effective solutions on how to repair MSG file not opening problem in Outlook. Read more and fix the issue with ease.

What is the MSG file not opening error about?

As you must be aware of the Outlook data files like OST and PST, MSG file is also another kind of Outlook file. The .msg is a file extension used for all the mail messages by Microsoft Outlook and the Exchange server.

An MSG file can contain ASCII signatures, text for the headers, or the main message body. This file is also capable of storing mail hyperlinks and attachments. MSG files may be exported for the purposes of archiving and storage or scanning for malware.

However, users may encounter strange issues while accessing the MSG files in Outlook which comes with the error stating “cannot open MSG file”. In this article, we have discussed some common causes that often make it difficult for users to open MSG files.

Read the next section to know the method that will help you quickly fix the inaccessible MSG file. If you are wondering how to change the location of Outlook Data file, click here.

Fix MSG File Not Opening Problem in Outlook

Why I cant open MSG file in Outlook?

If anyone of the below reasons is true, then an Outlook user will not be able to access MSG file:

  • When Outlook has not configured properly
  • When the preview of MSG files generated by Hex editors is too complicated to understand
  • If the user does not have rights to access the file, can’t open MSG file error is prompted
  • Trying to open MSG file using Outlook 2002/XP or earlier, that has been created in Unicode format

Quick Read before Fixing MSG file not opening issue in Outlook

The “MSG file is not opening” error can be fixed with the help of the troubleshooting methods that will be given below.

Note: If this fix has not been properly done or if the file has been changed to an invalid format, you may lose or corrupt the file. It is always recommended to take a backup of your Outlook data before trying to troubleshoot the can’t open the MSG error.

For older versions of Outlook, in order to open an MSG file generated by a new Unicode format, you can request the sender to resend the MSG file after saving it in ANSI. This will resolve any compatibility issues concerning older versions of Outlook.

Disable Outlook Add-ins

To disable Add-ins

  1. Go to File > Option
  2. Select Add-ins on the left side select COM Add-Ins in the drop-down menu and click on Go.
  3. After this click on de-select all add-ins and click on Ok
  4. Open Outlook and check if you can open the MSG file

Clean Temp Files on Outlook

  1. Open File Explorer and enter the following pathway.
  2. C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook
  3. Once you access the pathway Press Ctrl + A and delete them all. Restart your computer and see if you can access the MSG file

Update Windows and Outlook

In some cases, a lack of compatibility with your Windows or having an older version of Outlook can cause the MSG file not to open error. However, by updating the following you might be able to access Outlook

Fix MSG File Not Opening Problem by changing Outlook configuration

Change the default “.msg” format from Unicode to ANSI format to fix the inaccessible MSG error. Just drag and drop the Outlook email to the Windows File Explorer folder and follow the steps mentioned below.

  1. Steps to fix the error for Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007 

Go to Tools -> Options -> Tab Other -> Advanced Options button -> Disable Option: Use Unicode Message Format when saving messages

  • Steps to fix the error for Outlook 2010 and later versions

Go to File -> Options -> Mail -> Section -> save Messages -> Disable Option: Use Unicode Format


Note: When you save the file, change the type from Unicode (*.msg) to (*.msg) by going to File -> Save as -> “Save as type” drop-down list from “Outlook Message Format-Unicode (*.msg) to Outlook Message Format (*.msg)”.


Fix MSG File not opening error using desktop settings

  1. Exit any currently running versions of Outlook.
  2. Right-click any file that has an .msg file name extension, point to Open With, and then click Choose another app.
  3. How do you want to open this file? a dialog box, select Outlook (desktop) under the Other Options section.
  4. Click to enable the Always to use this app to open .msg files option, and then click OK.

Rebuild DAT file 

Extend .dat file is file created by Outlook. It is possible that the file created led to MSG file errors. 

  • Press Windows+ E to access File Explorer 
  • Search for extend dat file using the search bar 
  • Rename every file that has extend.old, once you have done renaming 
  • Try to open the MSG file 

If this method doesn't work well for you, progress with the below-listed solutions 

Repair Office Suite 

Even after trying all the listed methods, if you are still unable to get rid of the error. We recommend you repair your Office suite

  1. Click on the Start button 
  2. Go to Apps and Feature option 
  3. Select Microsoft Product and click on Modify 
  4. Click on the  Office Programs, and select Online Repair > Repair to make sure everything gets fixed. (The faster Quick Repair option is also available, but it only detects and then replaces corrupted files. 

Usually one of the listed solutions will fix the MSG file not opening in Outlook issue. However, if the issue still presides. You will need a reliable PST repair utility to fix the issue. 

“Just like issues in Outlook MSG file, you might come across facing problems with Outlook PST file as well. Under such instances, you can learn how to fix PST file issues with the help of Remo Repair PST Software just in a few minutes.”


If you frequently work offline on Outlook, synchronize the changes to the exchange servers regularly. This will help you to quickly restore the deleted offline file from the server.


The above article emphasizes many effective ways on how to fix MSG file not opening problems in Outlook. If you have incurred corruption on your Outlook, you can always make use of the reliable Outlook recovery utility to fix the issue. If you have any further queries regarding the article, please make use of the comment section below 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to open MSG file in Outlook 

a. As it simple as it sounds, by double-clicking on the file you will be able to open the MSG file. However, if the MSG extension has not been set default you will need to right-click on the file format and select MSG extension to access it 

2. Can you convert .MSG files to PDF format?

Use Outlook’s ‘Print to PDF’ option 
a. In the menu bar, go to ‘File
b. Then ‘Print’ and choose ‘Microsoft Print to PDF’ or ‘ Convert to PDF option’

3. How to convert MSG file to Word Docx format?

a. Open the MSG file in Outlook.
b. Select the File option > Save As and specify the destination location. The "Save As" window opens.
c. Select the MHT or HTML file type.
d. Open the resulting file in Microsoft Word.
e. From File > Save As select the destination folder.
f. In the "Save As" window specify the desired Word document format: DOCX, DOC, RTF, etc.

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John Harris

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

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