How to Locate the OLK File in XP

Written by marcie thomas
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Microsoft Outlook uses the OLK folder, a temporary folder, to store copies of e-mail attachments that have been opened but not yet saved. If the attachments and e-mail messages are closed properly and in the right order (i.e., attachments should be closed before their "parent" messages), Outlook will delete these temporary files. If not, they will remain in the OLK folder until someone manually deletes them. This can be good (in the case of a computer crash, a copy of the attachment will remain in the OLK folder), or bad (copies of confidential files may be sitting in the OLK folder without your knowledge). In any case, it is a good idea to be aware of the OLK folder and how to access it.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Click "Start" and select "Run." In the "Open" field, type "regedit" (without quotations) and then click "OK."

  2. 2

    In the registry editor, browse to the following key:

    For Outlook 2007 users: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\Security

    For Outlook 2003 users: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\Security

  3. 3

    Select the key you browsed to. In the right window pane, double-click the "OutlookSecureTempFolder" entry to view its value; this is the path to the Outlook OLK folder. Make note of the specific folder name: it will start with OLK, followed by a series of random letters and numbers. In the event that you have multiple OLK folders, this will give you the name of the specific folder that Outlook is currently using.

  4. 4

    Click "Start" and select "Run." In the "Open" field, type "%temp%" (without quotations) and click "OK." In the Explorer toolbar, click "Folders" (if this toolbar is not enabled, click "View" and select "Explorer Bar"). Scan the list of folders for your OLK folder.

Tips and warnings

  • Use an abundance of caution whenever accessing the registry, even when just viewing registry keys. Changes made to the registry, however unintentional, can have disastrous consequences.

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