[Fixed] Can't preview MSG files in Windows Explorer

Outlook for Microsoft 365, Outlook 2021, Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, Outlook for Office 365

Windows File Explorer does not preview .msg file in Preview Pane when Outlook is not installed or when you have the 64-bit version of Microsoft Outlook installed. In this situation, you receive the following error message:

Either there is no default mail client or the current mail client cannot fulfill the messaging request. Please run Microsoft Outlook and set it as the default mail client.

After you select OK, the following error message is displayed in the Preview Pane:

This file can't be previewed because of an error in the Windows e-mail previewer.
Cannot preview MSG files in Windows Explorer


The Windows preview host requires a 32-bit application previewer. When 32-bit Outlook is installed, it acts as the previewer. Without 32-bit Outlook installed, there is no previewer available for .msg files.

Workaround Method 1 - Use 32-bit Outlook

If you prefer to preview .msg files in Windows File Explorer, install the 32-bit version of Outlook instead of the 64-bit version.

Workaround Method 2 - Use MSG Viewer

  1. In Windows File Explorer, on the View tab, select the Preview pane to disable it.
  2. Install MSG Viewer and preview the .msg files.

Standalone & Installer versions

MSG Viewer can be used as a portable application or installed as a Windows application. The software doesn't require Microsoft Outlook to be installed on the PC.

Advanced Search Option

Based on your preference, use Instant Search or Advanced Search with various search keywords to narrow your search criteria for better searches in .msg files.

Open Email Files with One Click

The MSG Viewer can be set as the default application for .msg and .eml files to open, read and search for e-mail files on your hard drive, network share or USB drive.

Updated on April 25, 2023

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See Also

MSG EML Viewer

Browse and view .msg and .eml files. Support for email files from Microsoft Outlook, Thunderbird, Gmail, Apple Mail, Windows Mail and more.