FIXED: Hyperlinks Won't Open in Outlook 2003 Installed on Windows 10
Error Message: "This operation has been canceled due to restrictions
in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator."
by Al Swilling



In Windows 10, You open an email in Outlook 2003. You click on a hyperlink in the email. The link does not open. Instead, you get the following error message:

"This operation has been canceled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator."

You do a search for a solution, but none of the solutions work for you.


This is NOT a compatibility issue. Microsoft Office 2003--including its Outlook 2003 email client--is compatible with Windows 10, 64-bit operating system. In fact, all of the programs in the Office suite run as they should in every version of Windows, from Windows XP up to and including Windows 10.

When a browser other than Edge or Internet Explorer, especially Firefox, is set as the default browser for html files on Windows 10, it may change the registry "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \.html" (Default) string value from "htmlfile" to "FIREFOXhtml", or something similar.


The solution to this problem is a simple, two-step process, and involves modification of one, possibly two, registry key Default values. 

There is no need to uninstall and reinstall a browser, and there is no need to change your default browser to Internet Explorer or Edge. When this fix is employed, hyperlinks in your emails will open in your default browser of choice. Some people try to make the solution to this problem way more complicated than it actually is.

NOTES: This solution requires editing the registry. Please use caution. Carefully follow the instructions below, step by step, and no damage will occur to the registry. Do not delete any registry keys during this procedure, and all will be right with the world--and with your computer.

If you are concerned that this registry edit may not work for you, take written notes so that you can change the string and key values back to their original state if this solution fails to fix your problem.

Step 1:

Right click the white Windows 10 Start menu icon at the far left-hand side of the task bar. Click "Run" in the pop-up menu. (Figs. 1 & 2)

Figure 1
Figure 2
Type "regedit" in the "Open:" field, and click the "OK" button. (Fig. 3)
Figure 3
Expand the registry key "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. (Fig. 4)
Figure 4
Go to registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\htmlfile\shell\open\command. (Figs. 5 & 6)

Click the "command" key. (Fig. 6)

In the right-hand pane, The (Default) string's "Data" value should read: "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE" %1 (WITH quotation marks). (Fig. 6)

Figure 5

Figure 6
If the (Default) string's "Data" value is blank, or if it has any value other than the above value, double-click the (Default) string, and in the "Value data" field of the dialog box, change it to:
"C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE" %1, and click OK. (Fig. 7)

Figure 7
Step 2:

Verify that the String (Default) value of the "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \.html" key is "htmlfile". Here's how:

Expand HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT. (Fig. 9).

Figure 9
Locate, and then click and expand the following registry subkey: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \.html
(Fig. 10).

In the right-hand pane, make sure that the value of the String (Default) is "htmlfile".

Figure 10
If it's not "htmlfile", or if there is anything preceding "htmlfile", double-click the (Default) string (or right-click the (Default) string and select "Modify"), and type into the "Value data" box, "htmlfile" (without the quotation marks), and then click "OK". (Fig. 11)
Figure 11

Close the registry editor and launch Outlook 2003.

Test the Registry Change:

To test the registry change, open two or more emails that contain hyperlinks, or select an email, click the Preview Pane icon on Outlook's tool bar, and click a link.

The links in your emails should now open in your default browser, regardless of whether it is Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Edge.


Written by Al Swilling, 14 OCTOBER 2017