Open XNK-files (Outlook links)

I just upgraded from Office 2003 to 2007. I attempt to open an Outlook link with file extension XNK, but I receive the following error message:

“Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. The command line argument is not valid.
Verify the switch you are using.”

XNK Exchange Internet ShortcutSupport for opening xnk-files directly has been dropped in Outlook 2007.

The officially supported method for opening xnks-files is by creating such a file and then create an Outlook shortcut to it with the /x command line switch to execute it.

This is of course anything but practical as you would now have 2 files instead of 1 shortcut file.

Reinstate the XNK shortcut feature

We can still make the XNK feature function as it used to work by some registry modifications. You can download these modifications here.

The zip-file contains 2 registry files:

  • xnk-x86.reg       For 32-bit versions of Windows
  • xnk-x64.reg       For 64-bit versions of Windows

Execute the reg-file for your version of Windows by double clicking on it. You’ll get a confirmation when it has been successfully added to the registry.

Note 1: For importing this registry file you’ll need to have Administrator rights on the computer.

Note 2: You may need to restart your computer for changes to take effect.

Note 3: By default xnk-files are blocked attachments. If you received an xnk-file and you want to unblock it, see: Unblock Attachments.

Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013

Support for opening xnk-files and the /x command line switch has been dropped completely in Outlook 2010.

To create a shortcut to a specific folder in Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013, you can use the /select command line switch instead.

For an example, see: Create a Desktop shortcut to an Outlook folder

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