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Open Outlook MSG Files

I have copied my Outlook emails from my office to a 2 GB thumb drive and then at home onto a formatted CD R/W. I couldn't copy to the formatted R/W CD at work with Vista (God I HATE that operating system). Now, these files show themselves with .MSG extension and my home PC (Windows XP Home Edition) and my Windows 7 laptop can't open them. To be sure I had these emails saved correctly on the thumb drive, I checked the thumb drive's contents at three other similarly set up (with Vista) computers at my workplace; they all read my thumb drive's Microsoft Outlook email files. What is going on and how do I get both my Windows 7 OS laptop and my tower with XP to read the CD or the thumb drive's files with the .MSG extensions? This is soooo frustrating!Celeste Stewart

Microsoft Outlook Files

Microsoft Outlook does use the MSG file extension to save email messages, so the display of messages that you are seeing with the MSG extension is correct. However, I'm not sure if you are accessing the files via the thumb drive or the CD. Since the thumb drive worked fine on other systems, I wonder if you can access the files from the thumb drive on your home systems?

Company Email Policies

Before we move forward, it's important to consider your company's email policy. It's quite possible that the company prohibits employees from copying computer files onto portable storage devices. If so, you may need to get permission from higher ups in order to copy your messages and access them from your personal computers. In addition, it's also possible that the IT department has encrypted the files. If so, company computers likely have the appropriate "keys" for decrypting the messages, which explains why the other work computers could open the files but not your home computers.

If the files are encrypted, then you'll be unable to open them without the appropriate permissions.

Opening MSG Files

Assuming that you have the company's permission to transfer the files to your personal computers and that the files are not encrypted, you will need Microsoft Outlook on your personal computers. Outlook Express and Microsoft Mail/Windows Live Mail will not work.

In addition, there could be compatibility issues between your version of Outlook and the version you use at work. For example, Outlook 97-2002 uses a different Personal Folders File format than Outlook 2003 and 2007. While these formats are related to Outlooks PST files, it's possible that the MSG files could be treated differently.

Also, your computers may need to be told to use Outlook to open the MSG file extension. If you do have Outlook installed, try right-clicking a MSG file and choosing Open With. From there, Click the Browse button and find Outlook. If that works, you'll want to check the box making it the new default for MSG files.

If your personal computers do not have Microsoft Outlook installed, MSG viewer programs are available. Do an Internet search for "MSG viewer" and you'll find a number of options. Choose a program from a trusted download provider such as CNET Downloads.

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3 Responses to “Open Outlook MSG Files”

  1. 001   fran

    I am sitting here with tears streaming down my eyes. I am
    totally frustrated with Microsoft and your customer service. I just
    retired and have a seriously ill husband. When I left my office I was
    told to take all my personal emails from Outlook and put them on flash
    drives, which I did, and bring them home and put them on my computer.
    IT DID NOT WORK!!!! I have over 3000 URGENT emails that have alot of
    medical advice on them regarding my husband. I have Outlook Express at
    home and that could be the reason and I have tried, over and over, phone
    calls, emails, letters, etc. to find out how to convert these .msg files
    that show up in my flash drive, but I cannot open them. No one can
    help me!!!!!!! Some say I can't open them. I cry!!! Some say I can,
    but I have to buy Outlook 2010. Fine, I call and want to order it and
    am told if have Outlook Express, I can't order it. I try a trial
    order on my computer and spend hours and I do not get Outlook 2010, just
    a lot of what Outlook 2010 has. I AM AT MY WIT'S END.

    Please, if there is someone WITH A HEART READING THIS, please, please,
    tell me how to make all these .msg files that have URGENT MEDICAL
    INFORMAITON ON THEM into whatever files are needed on my computer which
    is Outlook Express and Windows XP.

    I am begging anyone out there to please help as this information for my
    husband is desperately needed. I never thought copying and pasting
    these files onto flash drives would give me such aggravation. I can
    see them all on my computer, but cannot open them.

    PLEASE, PLEASE, HELP with step by step instructions if possible

  2. 002   Celeste Stewart

    I'm sorry to hear of your frustrations and I'm not quite sure why whoever is saying that you can't order MS Outlook 2010. Anyhow, I don't think it's necessary. There are .msg viewers available that should be able to open these files.

    I just went to
    and viewed their product demonstration video and it looks like this product should do the trick. They have a trial version available. I do not know if the trial version has limits, but it may. If so, the purchase price for personal use ($29.99) is much less than MS Outlook.

    I hope this helps. There are other .msg viewers out there as well.

  3. 003   David

    The simplest way to get the messages home, and generally without offending the company policy is to email (forward) them to your private email address and read them at home. Provided you are not taking company data you should have no infringement of policy.

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