Attachments not showing in Outlook 2003 (but do in OWA)



Outlook 2003 - We have an issue whereby some received emails do not display
the fact that they have an attachment (no paperclip next to the message, and
no indication when you actually open the message). If you open the message
and do 'Save Attachments' it allows you to save the 'hidden' attachment. If
you forward the message, the attachment does not appear unless you add
another attachment, in which case it appears alongside the one you have just

If you use OWA, the attachment is displayed correctly. If you use Outlook
2000 or Outlook 2007, the attachment is not indicated with a paperclip next
to the message, but is shown if you open the message. If we change the
settings to force messages to be displayed as plain text, the attachment is
indicated correctly within the email. I have seen this problem frequently
with DOCX and PDF format attachments, but there may be others also.

Outlook 2003 has all of the available updates applied. We run Exchange 2003

Anyone got a solution to this?

Many thanks




As a further update:

This is happening on all computers that have the Outlook 2003 client. I
tried starting Outlook with the /safe switch, and also uninstalled all of
the add-ins on another computer. The problem still happens.

I have a feeling the problem is actually the emails which may have incorrect
header information relating to the attachment, and Outlook 2003 does not
know how to deal with the them. The fact that both Outlook 2000 and Outlook
2007 also have a problem (they don't indicate the presence of an attachment,
i.e.paper-clip, when viewed in the Inbox, but DO show when the message is
opened) again leads me to believe that it is not the client as such, but how
the client is dealing with a malformed email. I have seen similar problems
relating to Exchange 2007 and 'inline' attachments mentioned elsewhere, but
nothing for Outlook 2003 & Exchange 2003.


Mike Shen

Hi Simon,

Thank you for posting.

From your post, I understand the attachment is not displayed in Outlook
2003. Nevertheless, you are able to locate and open the attachment by using
OWA. If I'm off base, please feel free to let me know.

At this time, would you please let me know?

1. Whether the issue occurs on both internal and external messages?
2. Whether you have steps to reproduce the issue? If yes, please let me
3. Whether the issue only occurs on specific user or all users
4. Would you please move a problem message to PST file and send to me
([email protected]) for further check?

A KB article may related to your issue:

Inline attachments are not displayed in Outlook 2007 e-mail messages

Mike Shen
Microsoft Online Community Support
Get notification to my posts through email? Please refer to

With newsgroups, MSDN subscribers enjoy unlimited, free support as opposed
to the limited number of phone-based technical support incidents. Complex
issues or server-down situations are not recommended for the newsgroups.
Issues of this nature are best handled working with a Microsoft Support
Engineer using one of your phone-based incidents.
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.


Thanks for your response. Your understanding of the problem is correct. In
reply to your questions:

1) Messages received from external sources only (and only a few few messages
have this problem)

2) We are unable to create new messages with this problem, but once we have
identified an email with these 'hidden' attachments we can copy the email to
other user mailboxes and see the problem there also.

3) All users, all machines.

4) On its way to you. Interestingly, if I used 'Copy to Folder' to place a
copy of the email in the PST file, the attachment was shown in the PST once
moved. If I did a drag and drop to the PST, it had the hidden attachment
problem (this is what I have sent to you).

Many thanks




Mike Shen

Hi Simon,

Thanks for your response.

After download the PST file and attach to my Outlook 2003 (SP2) lab, I am
able to see the attachment correctly. In addition, I have checked the mail
format of the message "Re: Your will". The format looks well.

Regarding another message "FW: 281 High Street, Sutton", I notice the
message is sent from internal user to another internal user. Nevertheless,
from your response on the newsgroup, I notice the attachment issue only
occurs when receiving external message?

In addition, would you please let me know?

1. If the external sender resends the problem message, whether the issue
can be reproduced? For example, if external sender uses Outlook, in the
Sent Items folder, open the message, click Actions and Select Resend this
message. please let me know whether the issue still occurs when you receive
the same message again.

2. Whether the issue mostly occurs from specific sender or specific domain?

3. I would like to double confirm whether the issue occurs even you use
different computer with Outlook 2003 to the open the problem message.
4. I suggest you start Outlook with /safe command to disable third-party
add-ins to check whether the issue still persists.


Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question