Microsoft KB Archive/931218

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Error message when you try to open a link that has an .xnk file name extension in Outlook 2007: “Cannot open file”

Article ID: 931218

Article Last Modified on 2/28/2007


  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2007

Important This article contains information that shows you how to help lower security settings or how to turn off security features on a computer. You can make these changes to work around a specific problem. Before you make these changes, we recommend that you evaluate the risks that are associated with implementing this workaround in your particular environment. If you implement this workaround, take any appropriate additional steps to help protect the computer.


In Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, you try to open a link to a Microsoft Exchange Server public folder shortcut that has an .xnk file name extension. When you do this, you may receive an error message that resembles the following error message:

Cannot open file


This behavior occurs because of increased security in Outlook 2007. By default, Outlook 2007 denies access to these files.


Warning This workaround may make a computer or a network more vulnerable to attack by malicious users or by malicious software such as viruses. We do not recommend this workaround but are providing this information so that you can implement this workaround at your own discretion. Use this workaround at your own risk.

To work around this behavior, create a link association between the .xnk file name extension and Outlook 2007. To do this, follow these steps.

Important You should open or download only those .xnk files that are sent by a known source.

  1. Click Start, click Run, type Explorer in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
  3. In the Folder Options dialog box, click the File Types tab, and then click New.
  4. In the Create New Extensions dialog box, type xnk in the File Extension box, and then click OK.
  5. Click to select XNK under Registered file types, and then click Advanced.
  6. In the Edit File Type dialog box, type XNK next to the icon, and then click New.
  7. In the New Action dialog box, type OPEN for Action, and then type the following text under Application used to perform action:

    "DriveLetter:\path\Outlook.exe" /x "%1"

    Click OK two times.

    Note By default, the path of the Outlook.exe file is as follows:

    "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE12\Outlook.exe" /x "%1"

  8. Click Close.


This behavior is by design.

Keywords: kbhowto kbprb kbtshoot kbexpertiseinter KB931218