How to Open, Save, and Edit Email Attachments in Windows Mail

Save a copy of the attachment before you edit

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When you double-click an attachment in Windows Mail, it opens if the file is deemed safe or you have enabled all attachments and Windows know how to handle the file.

You can view the file, and—if it's a word processor document—you can edit it. You can even save it, but the changes you make are not reflected in the copy of the file stored in the email. When you open the attachment again from Windows Mail, the changes are gone.

However, they may not be gone forever. When you open an attachment directly from Windows Mail, a temporary copy of the file is generated, and then Windows calls for the associated program to open the copy. You just need to know where to look for the copy.

Save Attachments Before Opening Them

To avoid any problems with lost editing:

  1. Save attachment you want to edit to a Windows folder.
  2. Open the copy in the folder for editing in the appropriate program.

Where Attachments Opened From Windows Mail Are Stored

Should you forget to edit using a copy of the file, you can try recovering the file from the Temporary Internet Files folder:

  1. Select Control Panel from the Start menu.
  2. Open Internet Options. If you cannot see Internet Options, try clicking Classic View.
  3. Go to the General tab.
  4. Click Settings under Temporary Internet files.
  5. Now click View Files under the Temporary Internet files folder.
  6. Look for the edited copy of the attachment in the Temporary Internet Files folder or within a subfolder in the Temporary Internet Files folder. If you find the file, double-click it to open it, and then save it to a separate folder on your computer, such as My Documents.
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