You may be unable to preview .msg files with Outlook in File Explorer. So if you have Microsoft Office or Microsoft 365 installed on your Windows 11 or Windows 10 PC, and you have encountered this issue, you can read the rest of this post for timely resolution!
What is .msg file?
The Outlook Item MSG (.msg) file format is a syntax for storing a single Message object, such as an email, an appointment, a contact, a task, and so on, in a file. Any properties that are present on the Message object, including Attachment objects, are also present in the MSG file. To create an .msg file from an Outlook item, such as an email message, you can drag-and-drop the item from an Outlook folder to a folder in File Explorer. Alternatively, select the Save As menu option from an Outlook item, then choose a location to save the item.
The following full error message may be displayed when you select an .msg file saved in a folder to view it in the File Explorer Preview Pane on your computer:
Microsoft Office Outlook
Either there is no default mail client or the current mail client cannot fulfill the messaging request. Please run Microsoft Outlook and set it as the default mail client.
After you click the OK button on the error prompt, the following error message is displayed in the Preview Pane of File Explorer:
This file can’t be previewed because of an error in the Windows e-mail previewer.
Generally, Office users that encounter this issue have the 64-bit version of Microsoft Outlook installed on their device. The Windows preview host requires a 32-bit application previewer. In essence, if you have 32-bit Outlook installed, it acts as the previewer – so without 32-bit Outlook installed, there is no previewer available for .msg files.
Unable to preview .msg files with Outlook in File Explorer
If you’re unable to preview .msg files with Outlook in File Explorer on your Windows 11/10 device, to resolve the issue, either of the following workaround is available for you:
- Turn off/Hide File Explorer Preview Pane
- Install and use 32-bit Outlook
Let’s see a quick description of both workarounds.
1] Turn off/Hide File Explorer Preview Pane
This quick workaround to the unable to preview .msg files with Outlook in File Explorer issue on your Windows 11/10 device simply requires you to turn off/hide File Explorer Preview Pane, and then to view the .msg file, double-click to open the item in Outlook.
Preview Pane is an existing feature in the Windows File Explorer which shows a lightweight, rich, read-only preview of the file’s contents in the view’s reading pane. Windows Explorer has an additional setting that needs to be checked in order for preview handlers to work – open Folder or File Explorer Options, go to View tab, under Advanced settings check the Show preview handlers in preview pane option.
2] Install and use 32-bit Outlook
This workaround to the issue in hand applies if you prefer to preview .msg files in File Explorer Preview Pane; in which case, you can simply install the 32-bit version of Outlook on your Windows 11/10 PC, instead of the 64-bit version. For Office 2019 and Microsoft 365 Apps (formerly Office 365), the default for new installations has now been set to 64-bit. Although the considerations for using 32-bit vs 64-bit are the same for Office 2010, 2013 and 2016, the default for new installations of these versions still remains 32-bit.
To check if you are using the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Office, you can do so by opening the About dialog box of Outlook or any other Office application.
- Outlook 2010:
File > Help > About > Additional Version and Copyright Information
- Other Outlook versions including Microsoft 365:
File > Office Account > About Outlook
At the top of the About dialog, you’ll see the current build number of the application and MSO appended with either 32-bit or 64-bit.
To install the 32-bit version of Outlook, simply run the setup.exe file located in x86 folder or the setup32.exe file located in the Office folder during setup; if using Office installation media. For Microsoft 365 installation, use the “Version” dropdown list to select 32-bit. You can use the same license key as the 64-bit version. No license key is needed for Microsoft 365 since activation is by logging in to Office with your Microsoft Account or Work Account. Make sure you uninstall all 64-bit Office versions (including older ones) and other 32-bit applications of Office before you start. Although you can install different versions of Office on the same Windows 11/10 PC.
Can not open MSG file in Outlook?
If you can’t open MSG files in Outlook 2016, 2019, 2013 or any other version, it’s likely Microsoft Outlook is configured incorrectly. It is difficult for users to understand when previewing MSG files created by a hexadecimal editor.
What does no Preview available mean in Outlook?
When a user receives an email containing an Untrusted image attachment and selects “Preview File”, a window appears stating “No Preview Available”. This is expected behavior, to ensure that execution of image files by Microsoft Outlook cannot compromise the device.