5 Fixes For ‘The Content Can’t Be Displayed Because The S/MIME Control Isn’t Available’ Error

So, you’re using Outlook Web Access. But, you have come across the error where content can’t be displayed. It shows something about S/MIME control error, and you don’t know what that is. Unfortunately, this error persists even in the latest windows. A lot of people use Outlook for various reasons. So, we are here to help you out.

The problem comes in the form of digital encryption. It prevents you from downloading or accessing an Email’s content. Let’s break things down to be a little more simple. 

Read ahead, and you will find solutions for fixing the error. You will also learn about the error in simple words to help you browse through it. So, if you’re getting ‘The Content Can’t Be Displayed Because The S/MIME Control isn’t Available’ error, this guide is for you.

What Causes “the content can’t be displayed because the s/mime control isn’t available” Error?

Before you get down to solving the problem, it’s pivotal for you to learn more about it. There are plenty of reasons for this error to occur. These reasons will help you get a better insight into the error:

1. Site Is Not Trusted

This is the leading cause of the issue. Your web browser might have some permission and trust issues with Outlook Web Access. It can happen for various reasons. Mostly, it is related to the ISP, or the PC settings that you have. Thus, you will have to list the website as a trusted source to access it.

2. S/MIME Isn’t Available On Your System

Maybe you never got around to installing S/MIME in your system. This can easily lead to all the errors and issues related to S/MIME. You need S/MIME to access various features and launch the Outlook Web Access App. Improper or corrupted installation and files can also lead to errors. So, that’s worth checking out. 

3. Lack Of Admin Permissions

Another leading cause for issues like S/MIME errors has been the lack of permissions. Admin permissions play a vital role in Windows 10 and 11. Most encrypted security and files that can make changes need admin permission. So, if you don’t use the Admin log-in and other details, you will run into a problem.

4. The Group Policy Configuration

There’s a file system known as Group Policy in the Windows operating system. It keeps track of all the accounts and records the settings, preferences, and such. If the Group Policy lacks the settings or configurations, you can run into the error. Thus, you won’t access these contents and face the error.

 5. Not Recognizing The Browser

There’s also a possibility that the Outlook app isn’t recognizing your web browser. This goes for the latest Internet Explorer version, as well. So, you might have to work around that to fix the issue or select a different browser.

Solutions For S/MIME Error On Internet Explorer

  1. Adding Outlook Web Access To Trusted Sites
  2. Installing S/MIME To Solve The Issue
  3. Use The Admin Permissions
  4. Unchecking Encrypted Pages Save In IE
  5. Outlook Web Extension Registry 

Solutions For The S/MIME Error In The Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, And Edge

1. Adding Outlook Web Access To Trusted Sites

Here’s your first and best solution for the error. Adding Outlook Web Access to the trusted sites list has worked magic almost every time. It helps the users take care of nearly every issue related to the S/MIME problem.

If you think it will be incompatible, the Compatibility View further eases it. So, this method has a combination of two solutions. You should use both solutions together for the best results:

  • First, launch Internet Explorer on your system. You can easily find it by searching for it in the Start Menu.
  • Make sure to click on the Settings option. It is in the top-right corner, the ‘wrench’ or ‘gear’ icon, as we call them.
Internet options in the Internet Explorers cog option settings - the content can't be displayed because the s/mime control isn't available
  • You will see the ‘Internet Options’ among the list of options in the menu. Click on it.
  • Switch to the Security tab in the Internet Options. Find the ‘Trusted Sites’ section and add a site. You will need the link to the Outlook Web Access Page. For that, you can copy it from the address bar from when you opened it earlier.
Adding trusted sites link in the Internet Explorer for Windows 10
  • Make sure also to disable another option. Check for ‘Require server verification option (HTTPS) for all sites in this zone.’ Make sure to uncheck/disable it. It will be in the Websites section.
  • After saving the settings, return to Internet Explorer. Once again, go to Settings and this time, select ‘Compatibility View Settings.’
compatibility view settings in the internet explorer for S/MIME error
  • Find the ‘Add this website’ option and paste the link for the Outlook Web Access here, as well. Make sure to use the add button.

Once you finish it, make sure to save the settings and exit Internet Explorer. Go ahead and try to reaccess the Outlook emails. See if you still run into the problem.

2. Installing S/MIME To Solve The Issue

Microsoft Outlook Official Homepage

Did the above-given solution not work? Then it’s a huge possibility that you don’t have S/MIME installed. It could also be a corrupted installation. While it’s rare, Updates tend to mess with the S/MIME settings or mess them up. So, you might have to fix this entire issue manually:

  • Launch the OWA (Outlook Web Access) app on your system. Make sure to log into your account.
  • Next, find the Options buttons. It is available at the top-right corner of the OWA client.
  • Click on the ‘Sell All Options’ in the drop-down menu. This will help you check all the options.
  • You can find the proper ‘Settings’ option in the left panel. Click on the S/MIME tab from the settings.
  • See if you can find the button to ‘Download The S/MIME Control.’ If it is available, click on it.
  • This will launch the link to download S/MIME on your default web browser. Allow it to download and prevent any connection problems or hindrances. Once done, make sure to run the download.
  • This will launch an on-screen Setup Wizard. Go through with the settings and wait for the installation to finish. Once done, refresh the browser.
  • You will get a new pop-up bar or message that reads, ‘This website wants to run the following add-on.’ Go ahead and right-click on it or access the options. Either way, you will see the ‘Run Add-on on All websites’ option. Click on it. This is for Internet Explorer users.
  • You might get a security warning pop-up in Internet Explorer. Go ahead and click on the Run option. Grant any permissions the browser might ask for OWA. See if this solves the issue.

3. Use The Admin Permissions

Run this program as administrator option for the internet explorer in Windows 10

So far, you’ve done everything right. There shouldn’t be too many issues if you have followed the two solutions. But there’s also the problem of the Admin Permissions.

Remember that the security warning you receive in the second solution needs permission. The same applies to installing something in your account. For these, you need either admin permissions or the admin account. So, if you’re running into issues, you can try granting admin permissions to OWA.

  • First, open the following directory: C > Program Files > Internet explorer.
  • Find the ‘iexplore.exe’ file on the list. You can use the search option in the top-right corner of the file explorer.
  • Once you find the file, right-click on it and select Properties from the list.
  • Switch to the Compatibility Tab. It is in the properties window. Now ‘check on’ the ‘Run This Program As An Administrator’ option. Make sure to click Apply to see if the changes take place. You might have to provide admin credentials (password).
  • Once done, click OK. You might get another popup for admin permission, just in case. Make sure to click yet and move ahead.

Now, Internet Explorer has admin permissions. See if it solves the issues. If not, then you can go ahead and repeat the same step with the OWA client.

4. Unchecking Encrypted Pages Save In Internet Explorer

Do not save encrypted pages to disk in internet explorer security advanced settings

There’s an option known as ‘Do not save encrypted pages to the disk’ in Internet Explorer. If you have it active by any chance, it will pose various problems, including the ones you’re facing right now. So, you might have to access it and turn it off (uncheck). For that, you will have to follow these steps:

  • Launch Internet Explorer once again and go to the settings in the top-right corner. Select Internet Options and go to the Advanced Tab.
  • See if you can find the Settings in the Advanced tabs. Then, you will find some Security-related sections. There will be plenty of options. Select ‘Do not save encrypted pages to disk.’ More specifically, you have to uncheck it to make sure it is not active.
  • Apply and save your changes. Exit the Internet Explorer.

Now go ahead and check if OWA is working correctly or not.

5. Outlook Web Extension Registry

windows 10 registry editor options

Registry Editor is an essential part of the Windows OS infrastructure. It keeps track of everything in the values. Thus, you will have to make sure to have tried every other solution before this one.

Make sure to create a backup and restore point for the PC before beginning. Only use this as a last resort and be careful with what you do. Don’t take any chances to anything other than what is mentioned in the instructions:

  • First, you will have to run the registry editor. For this, you can use the start menu and search for it. If that doesn’t work, you can press Windows Key and R key together to launch the Run app. Type: ‘regedit.’ Hit enter.
  • Navigate to the following: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies
  • Now, it will come down to your web browser. If you’re using Microsoft Edge, select the Microsoft Folder. If you’re using Google Chrome, select Google Folder. You can also do it for the two after following with one.
  • Once you’re in the folder, click on the browser folder name (Edge or Chrome). Select ‘ExtensionInstallForcelist.’
  • Right-click on a blank or empty area that you see in the registry editor. Click on New and select the String value.

Now, make sure to set these configurations in the list: 

Value name: 1

Value type: REG_SZ

Value O365: maafgiompdekodanheihhgilkjchcakm;https://outlook.office.com/owa/SmimeCrxUpdate.ashx

Value Exchange on Premises: maafgiompdekodanheihhgilkjchcakm;https://<your owa url>/owa/SmimeCrxUpdate.ashx

You can go ahead and copy-paste these. Once you finish up, save everything and restart the PC.


Now you know everything about the brilliant S/MIME encryption. Yes, it is highly secure, but the incompatibility issues aren’t new. Hopefully, you have learned to find the reason and causes behind the problem. Thus, you can go ahead and fix them.

Don’t worry if you have Windows 10, 11, or 7; S/MIME works in all. You can always use the compatibility option if nothing else works for you. 

Meet the Author

Abdul Rahim has been working in Information Technology for over two decades. Learn how Abdul got his start as a Tech Blogger , and why he decided to start this Software blog. If you want to send Abdul a quick message, then visit his contact page here.