As useful as Microsoft Outlook can be, it certainly has its faults. One of the most annoying errors that Outlook can display is the mystifying “General Failure. The URL was: “” The System cannot find the file specified” message. With no specifics, error numbers, or follow-up to this message, it can be difficult for users to guess what exactly went wrong with their PCs.
Today, we’re going to teach you how to solve Microsoft Outlook’s General Failure error that occurs after clicking a link inside an email message. Since this error affects thousands of users every day, learning this information can be an absolute lifesaver.

Solution 1

Step 1: Close Outlook
Step 2: Open up Internet Explorer
Step 3: Find the ‘Tools’ menu (which can be found by clicking on the gear picture in the top right corner of your screen). Once that menu opens, click on ‘Internet Options.’
Step 4: Find the ‘Security’ tab. On the bottom of this menu, there should be a button that says ‘Reset all zones to default level’. Press this button and then close Internet Explorer.
Step 5: Test to see if your Microsoft Outlook embedded links are working again. Open up an email and click on the link that you have been having trouble with. Keep in mind that this fix might work for users of both Internet Explorer and other browsers.
Unfortunately, the solution listed above will not work on every single PC. If you still experience the ‘General Failure’ message after following those steps, continue on to the next solution.

Solution 2

This next solution can help Outlook users who have Firefox set as their default browser.
Step 1: Open up your ‘Start’ menu and type ‘regedit’ (without the quotation marks) into the search box. This will open your registry menu.
Step 2: Find the entry HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\FirefoxURL\shell\open\ddeexec
Step 3: Once you’ve navigated to that entry, double-click on ‘default’ and remove the value (chain of numbers and commas) inside.
Step 4: Press ‘OK’ and exit from the Regedit menu.
Step 5: Restart Microsoft Outlook and Firefox, and then try to open the link again. Ideally, this should solve the ‘General Failure’ error that Firefox and Outlook users are experiencing. However, if it doesn’t, then you can try the next solution, which may work for Chrome users.

Solution 3

If Chrome is your default browser and you have been experiencing the ‘General Failure’ error with Microsoft Outlook lately, then this set of instructions should help solve your problem.
Step 1: Open up your Start menu and search for ‘Set your default programs’. Click on the first entry that pops up.
Step 2: A menu should pop up with several program names. Click on your default browser (Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer) and then choose ‘defaults for this program’
Step 3: Check the small boxes next to HTTP and HTTPS and then hit ‘Save’.
Step 4: Test to see if that fixed the problem by opening an embedded link in an Outlook message.
If none of the above solutions worked, then you may have to contact Microsoft Tech Support or take your computer to a local service center. The General Failure error can be frustrating, but repairing it, in most cases, is a fairly straightforward process.

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