Outlook 2007/2010/2013/2016 Attachment temporary folder

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Where does Microsoft create the Outlook Temporary folder (better known as the OLK folder)? In Outlook, if you open an attachment and edit it and hit the Save button, your edits will be saved to an Outlook temp folder.

To find where it’s been created, open the Windows registry using regedit.exe and look for the Registry key OutlookSecureTempFolder using the map below:

Outlook 97: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Outlook\Security
Outlook 98: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.5\Outlook\Security
Outlook 2000: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\9.0\Outlook\Security
Outlook 2002/XP: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Outlook\Security
Outlook 2003: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\Security
Outlook 2007: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\Security
Outlook 2010: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\Security
Outlook 2013: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook\Security
Outlook 2016: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\Security

Outlook 2007/2010/2013 Attachment temporary folder

Usually, in Windows Vista/7/8/10 this folder is located at:

C:\Users\{username_account}\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\


For Windows XP users, the temporary folder will be located at:

C:\Documents and Settings\{username_account}\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\OLKfoldername

Here you will see some subfolders that contain attachments that are opened from Outlook messages.

What is the OLK folder anyway and why is it so hard to find?

When you open file attachments that are considered safe, Outlook places these attachments in a sub-directory in your Temporary Internet Files folder. As Outlook does this, it first examines the registry to determine if the OLK folder has been created yet.

If yes, it drops the files into the folder. If no, it creates that folder. When Outlook first copies attachments to use a temporary file, it examines the registry to find the path for the TEMP OLK folder. If it doesn’t exist, it creates the registry with a random name then it creates the folder.

Bad news

This information can be very useful. For example, let’s say you open an attachment, make a bunch of changes then close it before you have a chance to save it or your PC crashes. The good news is you can probably find the file in the Outlook Temporary OLK folder and recover your work.

Now the bad news: let’s say you open an attachment that contains sensitive or confidential information. While reading the document, Outlook unexpectedly closes. In this scenario, the attachment will remain in the Outlook Temporary folder indefinitely since Outlook normally deletes these files when you close the document properly.

Now let’s say your PC is lost or stolen. Yup, all your documents are just sitting there for anyone to open.

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