Can't preview Office documents in Outlook if Windows Firewall Service is disabled

Original KB number:   2912722


When you try to preview an Office file attachment in the Microsoft Outlook reading pane, you receive the following error message:

This file cannot be previewed because of an error with the following previewer

Screenshot of Excel previewer error message.


This problem occurs if both of the following conditions are true.

  • Windows Firewall service is not running.
  • You're using Outlook on a Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, or Windows Server 2012-based computer.


To resolve this issue, start the Windows Firewall service:

  1. Press the Windows key+R (to open the Run dialog box).
  2. Type services.msc, and then select OK.
  3. In the Services window, right-click Windows Firewall, and then select Properties.
  4. Make sure that the Startup type is set to Automatic, and then select OK.
  5. Right-click Windows Firewall, and then select Start.

More information

The Previewer feature in Outlook uses the Protected View feature (also known as a sandbox). This feature was introduced in Microsoft Office 2010. In Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2012, the Protected View feature has been improved in conjunction with the AppContainer feature. This provides stronger process isolation, and it also blocks network access from the sandbox.

For more information about the Protected View feature, see Overview of security in Office 2013.