When you use File | Save As to save an item or attachment as a file or use Insert | File to attach a file to an item, Outlook starts in whatever folder has been designated the default documents folder on your computer. The default is the My Documents folder. You can change the location with one of the utilities listed below or by editing the Windows Registry entries manually. Note that this change affects all Windows programs that use the default documents folder, not just Outlook.
However, according to OL2002 Attachments Always Go to My Documents Folder Despite Change in Default Save Location, Outlook 2002 ignores the registry change.
Note that when you select a folder and save or attach a file, Outlook keeps a lock on the folder. This is only a problem if you need to rename, move or delete the folder.
TweakUI — Microsoft "PowerToy" to change many user settings. Each operating system has its own version.
Once you install TweakUI, run it from the Control Panel. On the General tab, in the Folder list, switch to My Documents, then click Change Location and point to the folder that you want to use. You’ll need to restart the computer after that.
If you prefer the do-it-yourself approach, make a backup of the Registry (always take precautions when working with the Registry. Look for these values in the Windows Registry and change the data entry for each one to the folder you want to use:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders\Personal HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders\Personal
In Outlook 97, Outlook 98 and the original release of Outlook 2000, when you open an attached file by double-clicking it, the attachment is copied to your Temp folder, and then that file is opened. There is no way to use a different folder except by changing the location of the temporary folder for all of Windows (which is another thing you can change with TweakUI).
Starting with Office Service Release 1/1a, Outlook uses a different behavior, storing the temporary file in a different folder, either a subfolder of the Temp folder generated with a random name or one set via a registry entry. See:
- OL2000 Attachment Temporary Files Always Stored in Same Location
- OL2002 Opened Attachments Are Saved in a Subdirectory in Your Temporary Internet Files Directory
- Housekeeping and Message Management Tools — numerous add-ins for extracting attachments
- Office 2000 Places Bar Customization
- OL97: How to Set the Default Attachment Directory (MSKB)
- Cannot Insert File Attachment From Locally Mapped Drive to Outlook Messages (MSKB)
- Tip 727: Last folder you saved an Outlook item to is in use