How to Fix: Can't Click Links in Outlook: 'Operation cancelled due to restrictions' Error

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader 'Roger' writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I am using Windows 10 and my email client is Outlook 2010. Last week my computer updated itself using Windows Updates, and ever since then I can't click links in my emails in Outlook. Every time I try to click a link, I get an error message that says 'This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer.' I have searched Google on how to fix this error but I can't seem to figure it out. Can you help? "

My response:

I don't use Outlook so I asked Roger if he would like me to connect to his system using my remote desktop support service, and he agreed.

After a bit of research I discovered that the "This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer" error message is a very generic message and is used in conjunction with multiple programs, and not just MS Outlook.

That said, I managed to find a page via Microsoft's website that explained how to resolve this issue, where there were 3 options to choose from: the "Easy Fix" option and 2 other manual options which seemed very obfuscated. I tried the "Easy Fix" option on Roger's system - though the instructions were not for Windows 10. As such, I had to do a couple of extra steps to make it work. Below I'll explain what I did to resolve this issue.

How to Fix: Can't Click Links in Outlook: 'Operation cancelled due to restrictions' Error

  1. The first thing you should do is bookmark this page so you can come back to it, because the fix involves having to reboot the computer. To bookmark this page now, press CTRL + D on the keyboard. The page will either be immediately bookmarked in your browser or you will have to click "OK" to confirm.
  2. Next, click the Microsoft link to download the "Easy Fix". Note that the fix says it only works for Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003 - but I can confirm that it worked on Roger's system, which was Windows 10 - however, there was a step missing after applying this fix, which I will explain further down.
  3. Once the fix is downloaded, install it, then you will be asked to reboot the computer to complete the changes. Once the computer has rebooted, come back to this page to complete the instructions. Please bookmark this page if you haven't done so already by pressing CTRL + D on the keyboard.
  4. In Roger's case, we tried to click on a link in Outlook after applying the fix, but received an error message that there wasn't a program registered to handle http links. In other words, Outlook didn't know how to open the links inside a web browser. At this point I launched Google Chrome (Roger's default web browser), then clicked the 'menu' option (the 3 dots on the top far right of Chrome), and selected "Settings". From there I scrolled down all the way and clicked the button which said: "Make Google Chrome the default browser". In doing so, this reset file associations for http links.

    If you don't use Chrome you could launch any of your web browsers and try something similar. Another way to do this in Windows 10 is to click Start, then click PC Settings (the cogwheel). Once the "Settings" window is displayed, click "Apps"; next, click "Default Apps" on the left, scroll down all the way to the bottom to where it says "Web browser" and click it to choose another web browser other than what is currently selected, then set it back to your default web browser you normally use.

    For example: if you are using Firefox as your default web browser, select Edge, then set it back to Firefox again. This will reset the way that the computer monitors your URLs, which will then make Outlook recognize http and https links when you click a link in an email.
  5. Next, launch Outlook and try clicking on a link. The issue should be solved; if it is not, you are welcome to contact me for additional support, described next.

I hope that helps.

Additional 1-on-1 Support: From Dennis

If all of this is over your head, or if your Outlook links still aren't working, something else may be amiss. In that case, you are welcome to contact me for support using my remote desktop service. Simply contact me briefly describing the issue and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question - or even a computer problem that needs fixing - please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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ecash's picture

I changed from outlook Years ago, as there was a feature missing..
Which is a nice feature..It does not load the HTML graphics and so forth..
GOOD companies will send TXT and and HTML load up IF' you want to see it in HTML.

This lets you Verify IF' You know this person/company BEFORE things get loaded on your machine..

Some people dont know HOW HTML works..It has to LOAD everything onto your computer then Activate/Display..from links to adverts can All be stored on your machine without your knowledge..

I DO NOT read HTML unless I know WHO has sent it, and that it is CLEAN.. I dont even open links from friends UNLESS I check with them FIRST..That they sent it to me.

rkesselbach_9210's picture

Dennis, I just wanted to let everyone know that since you repaired my machine it is preforming better than ever and people should know that you are exceptional when it comes to fixing things via remote hookup. You also took care of a second machine that was a bit fluky and that one also is running much better than before. If anyone has a computer problem that is driving you crazy talk to Dennis as he is fantastic at bailing you out.
Thanks again Dennis,

Dennis Faas's picture

You're quite welcome - it's always a pleasure doing business with you.