Outlook – Fixing Outlook Red “X” Problem

April 23, 2007

Every few months, Outlook 2003 will get into a situation where it will no longer render images in the preview pane or the message window. If you reply to the message, then you will see the image.

Perplexed by the problem, I would take the brute force “Detect and Repair” solution but that isn’t always desirable as it resets all the Outlook settings and takes a while. Months ago, some one posted to an internal DL that the problem can be fixed by deleting the Outlook Temporary Cache folder. Since then I had forgotten this solution, and noticed the problem re-appeared.

It might irritate you and you feel that a new profile might not be a relevant solution for you:

Anyway, here is how you fix the problem.
1. Locate the Outlook Temporary Items folder by opening the Registry and locating
2. Navigate to the value of this Key. It should be something like: %USERPROFILE%\LocalSettings\Temporary Internet Files\OLK3D\ where OLK3D is some randomly generated string that always starts with OLK
3. Quit Outlook
4. Delete the contents of the folder
5. Launch Outlook

Signing Off Now



  1. I was having the same problem with one of my users. I googled red x outlook and found this article. Worked like a charm!

  2. Thanks for this solution, it worked! I design HTML email with graphics all the time, and was frustrated that I could only view my work when I was forwarding it. I could not even send a graphic to myself and view it in my inbox.

  3. I was suddenly getting the red X instead of the image. This solved my problem.
    Thanks for the help

  4. Worked like a charm. Thank you!

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