Outlook Error: Operation has been cancelled due to restrictions

[German]A blog reader has informed me about a pretty crude behavior in Microsoft Outlook. A disabled Internet Explorer results in an Outlook error "This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator."


Outlook aborts an operation due to restrictions

In Microsoft Outlook, it may happen that the user receives the error message "This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator." is displayed.

I had already blogged about this in September 2010 in the German article Outlook 2010: Vorgang wegen Beschränkungen abgebrochen. Corrupted registry entries on Windows can cause Outlook to stop performing certain operations (like clicking a link) that require access to HTML files and the the mail client displays the above message.

Within my German article I wrote that the reason for this error is usually the installation of another browser, which then registers as the default browser and redirects the shell entry for the file type html to itself. Outlook expects Internet Explorer to be the default browser. Microsoft has published something about this problem in this support article.

Internet Explorer disabled, Outlook goes on strike

Now German blog reader Daniel M. has encountered the above error message, but was able to find out the cause of the error. Daniel thankfully sent me the information by mail, so that I can post it here in the blog. Daniel writes about the problem:

Hello Mr. Born,
A few weeks ago I experienced the behavior that I received a rather unconcrete/mistakable error message from MS Outlook.

It is the following error message: "This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator.".

(Click to zoom)


The error occurs when the user tries to click a link in an Outlook mail. What is exciting now is the information, why this error occurs. Blog reader Daniel wrote:

The actual basic idea of mine was to deactivate Internet Explorer on the employees' new workstations. Since I don't think it is relevant anymore – which turned out to be the opposite. The IExplorer is integrated too deep into Windows that this error occurs when IE is deactivated. The activation of IE serves as a temporary help here.

But why doesn't Microsoft finally manage to remove IE completely? The duo IE and Edge is in my opinion completely superfluous – here MS should take its time and not equip the computer with an outdated browser, which is already not supported by many sites such as YouTube in older versions. I can no longer play videos in IE from YouTube…

I gave the technical explanation in the text above: Outlook is based on the rendering engine of Internet Explorer and strikes with the above error if this browser is not registered. In a supplement blog reader Daniel added the following:

If IE is deactivated under Windows 10 and MS Outlook is used at the same time, the following functions, among others, are not possible
– Call UNC paths
– general links to websites
So I have the proof that IE is used as an interface here.

It is already a mess with Internet Explorer. Once in a while there are critical errors in the browser. Microsoft recommends to leave this browser because it is technically outdated (see here). We just had the case that a patch caused trouble with the customs software in Australia (see link list). Maybe the above case description will help you to avoid the error. Thanks to Daniel for the hint.

Addenum: Just another issue reported by Michael Niehaus.

Similar articles:
Internet Explorer: Cumulative Update KB4524135 (10/03/2019)
Windows 10 Update 'borks' Australian Border Force's Integrated Cargo System
Windows 10: Fix for slow Internet Explorer 11 start
Microsoft deactivates VBScript in IE as of August 2019
Windows 10: Internet Explorer 11 crashes during start

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2 Responses to Outlook Error: Operation has been cancelled due to restrictions

  1. Alex says:

    Thousands of applications rely on Trident/MSHTML, which is the rendering engine for IE and used by and Outlook, and File Explorer (to some extent). If MS decides to eliminate iexplore.exe some day, they'd need to keep it or else bring a ton of businesses to halt – or cause massive expensive rewrites to move to Chromium. And before anyone hops up and down with "How lazy not to move to Chromium" – it's a huge endeavor with no benefit as Trident does the job fine. Rendering works even with CSS3 except for edge uses that wouldn't apply to most business apps.

  2. Twopenny says:

    My tuppenceworth,

    My hyperlinks from Outlook 2007 mails to urls started failing after I uninstalled some or other Microsoft instant messaging port-opening app which I hadn't asked for and didn't want. At the same time the very latest superduper Microsoft Edge version installed itself along with the latest Windows 10 update. One or either of these seems to have finally uninstalled all instances of Internet Explorer, iexplore.exe, on my system (Windows 10, Outlook 2007 but local, not "cloud").

    But perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. A security feature, Microsoft would no doubt call it. It is no longer possible to just click on a link in an e-mail to go to a website. And as spearphishing targetting to ransomware increases, perhaps no bad thing. If I have to have a good look at an url before opening it, so be it.

    This was on my "roaming" laptop with Outlook 2007. My home computer with Outlook (2016? – the last you could still install locally without having to entrust your personal and private data to Microsoft's Irish datacentres) also by default showed urls in e-mails as text strings not clickable links. So perhaps we are going in the right direction after all.

    Think you would never accidentally click on a link in a carefully crafted spearphishing e-mail? Think again! It cost Hillary Clinton the election.

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