Outlook 2003 Attachment Dialog Doesn’t Show Zip Files

I have like 4 or 5 people in my company who are experiencing this issue. I have yet to replicate this problem on any of the machines in the office, but it seems that it’s hitting mostly the users of Office 2003 on WinXP. It manifests itself the following way:

  1. The user creates a new email and hits the paper clip icon to add an attachment
  2. The file chooser dialog, does not display any Zip files
  3. The chooser filter is always set to all files
  4. The zip files can be dragged and dropped onto the email from explorer as normal

So it seems that there is some arbitrary filter that gets activated in some versions of Office 2003 but not all of them. I found a few similar issues like this online, but most are forum posts with a long chain of “me too” shutouts and no solution. I have yet to find an official Knowledge Base article touching on this issue.

Some people advocate a workaround to this issue which is not a perfect solution. I think one of the better written tips can be found here. The solution? Unregister the zipfldr.dll which allows XP to treat zip files as folders.

regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll

This does cause issues though – for one, you cannot peek into zip archives anymore. Secondly, while the files do show up in the attachment dialog, they use a generic “file” icon instead of the more representative Zip-folder one. Even if you associate the files with WinZip or WinRar and the icon changes for Explorer, the dialog will still show them using the generic icons. This really irks some users – and honestly, it annoys me too.

This is not a solution – this is a temporary workaround. If there was a problem with Outlook 2003 and zipfldr.dll every single workstation here would get hit. But so far, it’s been only few users who experienced this. There is a link here, and we need to find it. But then again, this is a low priority issue and at best a mild annoyance to the users. No one wants to spend more than 5-10 minutes troubleshooting this on the phone, and no one is willing to send in the machine for service. So until we can replicate this issue locally, your guess is as good as mine as to what is causing this.

Anyone here ever had that issue? Did you ever figure out the source? Let me know.

[tags]outlook, outlook 2003, windows xp, zip files, attachments[/tags]

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