If you are getting an error every time you launch Outlook with a message “Outlook could not create the work file”, the chances are that your internet cache folder is corrupt or the location of the folder is missing. It can happen due to some viruses or a recent update to Windows operating system. But most commonly, it happens when you use cleaning apps to clean up your computer of old files and temp files. Usually, it is not supposed to happen if the cleaning app worked as expected, but sometimes, it can make changes to the cache folder or corrupt it.
Note that this is not the main Windows “temp” folder that is inside Local Disk/Windows/Temp.
There are many cache files and folders in Windows environment and it simply means the temporary files that the system can use without having to download or create it again and again. It can improve system’s performance, but also, decrease in some cases. Internet cache is also the same kind of a folder containing temporary internet files and is used by Internet Explorer and MSN Explorer and in some ways also by Outlook Windows.
“Outlook Could Not Create the Work File” the fix
To fix the “Outlook could not create the work file” error, you simply have to fix this Internet cache folder used by Microsoft Windows.
The best way is to do it through registry editor in case the location is missing or is corrupt, but you are also free to set the folder using internet explorer. The guide below takes you through each step using the registry editor.
Modify or Correct the Internet Cache/Temp Files Folder
Before following the steps outlined below, backup your registries first. It’s always a good idea to back them up when you have to make some changes to the Windows default settings or registries. And make sure you follow steps below carefully, as editing the registries can be harmful or dangerous if you changed some value by mistake that was not supposed to be changed. If you have a backup, you can restore all the registries to the previous state.
- Open registry editor. You can press Ctrl + R and type “regedit” in the box and press enter. Click Yes when the user control account prompt asks for the permission. Or you can also simply press the Windows ‘start’ button and type in “Registry Editor” and then open it.
- Inside the registry editor, browse to the following location from the left navigation pane.
“Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders”
This is where the location of all the default user folders like My Documents, Videos, Pictures, Start Menu Programs, templates, and many more are defined and stored in Windows. You can tweak the entries to change the location of any one of them to whatever new location you desire or create a new entry as well.
- You will see an entry named “Cache” on the right side of the registry editor.
If you cannot see any cache folder inside the “User Shell Folders,” then right-click on the empty area in the right side of the registry editor -> New -> Expendable String Value. Name this new entry as “Cache” and then follow the same steps below.
- Right-click on “Cache” and select ‘Modify.’ In the ‘Value Data’ field is where the location of the type of cache folder must be specified. Find out what is the default location for each Windows version in the next step and then enter it in the ‘Value data’ field.
- The correct location to be specified depends on the Windows version.
Windows 10 and 8.1: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache
Windows 8, 7, and Vista Users: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files
For Windows XP Users: %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files
- Now you can close the registry editor and restart your computer.
This will fix your Microsoft Outlook error that says “Outlook Could Not Create the Work File”.