Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cannot open this item. You cannot use SharePoint. Your system administrator has turned off the feature.

So you are using Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS) or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) and you get the following message:

Cannot open this item. You cannot use SharePoint. Your system administrator has turned off the feature.

Before I get to how to fix it, here are some of the ways you may encounter this message:

  • Any Task list | Actions toolbar item | Connect to Outlook
  • Receive an alert (from task, list, calendar, file, etc) in Outlook and try to open it.

What does this message mean, you ask? First, let me say that it doesn't necessary mean that your administrator has turned off the feature. For example, if you are trying to open an alert / notification sent from SharePoint notifying you that a list, task, file, etc has changed and you get this message it could be a bug with Exchange. Here is the link that describes the issue.


On the other hand, it could very well be exactly what the message says. To tell if this functionality truly been disabled by your administrator as the message indicates, the easiest thing is to check the registry.

To check the registry, do the following:

  1. Start menu | Run... | regedit.exe
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\Options\WSS\Disable
  3. If the value for Disabled is 1 then the feature is indeed disabled by your administrator. If the value is 0 then it is not disabled and I would consider it to be a bug. If you don't have 12.0 in the path above then you likely don't have Outlook 2007 and are using another version of Outlook. In that case check out the following blog


    Though from what I can tell the path for Outlook 2007 is incorrect. You can always try what I specified above and the one that is noted in that blog.

You can directly edit the registry and this will work for a while. Please note, you will likely need to restart Outlook 2007 for the change to take affect. The problem is that if you are in a larger organization or one that uses Group Policies to manage such things your changes will be overwritten the next time the Group Policies are applied to your computer. You may need to contact your adminstrator to determine why they disabled this functionality in the first place and ask if they can change the policy. Good luck ;)


Anonymous said...


I can get up to


But I don't see a folder/file called "Policies"

Brent V said...

Hi Anonymous,

My guess is that you don't have admin rights on your machine. It sounds like your sys admins have locked down you access pretty well.

Good luck,


Anonymous said...

Hello Just geeks,
I have the above issue, but we do not have the folder \WSS. I installed Office 2007 with Sharepoint Support so one would assume it would have added the key. So how do I add the key or is there an updated GPO Adm file I am missing.


Brent V said...

Hi Anonymous,

I don't know why you don't have a WSS key. You can use regedit to add the missing information. I don't know if it will work though. I sounds like something is not installed or configured properly.

If you are a system admin, you can apply the Group Policy admin template that should handle this policy.

In order to apply this GPO you need to install the MS OFFICE .adm file (see link below) so the MS Office administration templates are available to you in GPMC.mmc. Here is the link to download:


Once complete, copy the .adm files in ADM folder to your System/INF folder. Then once you have GPMC open, and editing the new policy you created, then right click on Adminitrative Templates (Users) > Click Add/Remove Templates…

Click Add.. > outlk12.adm

Once added here is the full path and settings in GPMC:

User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 -> Tools | Account Settings -> SharePoint Lists -> Do not allow SharePoint-0utlook integration.

Anonymous said...

Hello Brent V, Thanks for the tip it worked but let me explain what I did. First I am the sysadmin and did load all the ADM GPO's for Office 07 but I did not even see that option in the GPO(my bad).
After I set it, it worked just fine. You may want to edit your previous tip I beleive you have a typo in the key its "disable" not "disabled" I tried this first and it failed due to the typo. Thanks again for your help, you are the only one on the web that knew this answer. I apperciate your help I have been working on this issue for two days searching my GPO's and doing all kinds of troubleshooting as you can imagine.

Brent V said...

Hi anonymous,

Thank you for letting me know about the typo. I have made the correct. I really appreciate that.

Glad to help. I know I spent many hours scratching my head and researching this. Trying to figure something out. In the end, just looking in the registry was the first clue, then we found the group policy.

Thanks again for the feedback.