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What is an 8 bit octet stream

Posted on 1997-08-24
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Last Modified: 2009-12-16
I frequently encounter attachments or files which are listed as an 8 bit Octet Stream, what type of file are these and how do you access them?
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Question by:BenPoisened
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16 Comments
 
LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:sgeiger
ID: 1818974
An 8-bit octet stream is simply a manner of transmission.  The browser will transmit the file is sections of 8-bits at a time using base-8, thus you will have a piece that consists of 8 numbers each number ranging from 0-7.  Typically these files are .exe files, but they may also be MS Word, MS Excel, Corel WP, etc.  I think you get the picture.  How the stream is defined is set by the host server.  The browser must also be set up to handle these.  In earlier versions of Netscape you would often see this.  In 4.0x you will find a style more like the associations of file type settings of Win95.  You should be able to access these files by clicking on them.  The browser will then give you the option to open the file or save it.  As for the type, well... could be just about anything.  If the web site gives and extension on the file you can usually tell what it it by that.  For example, MS Word is usually found by .DOT and .DOC  MS Excel would be .XLS or .XL1, .XL2...

Scott Geiger
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Author Comment

by:BenPoisened
ID: 1818975
1    I don't use Win95, I use win 3.1, and just updated to netscape 3.

2   The file extension is 8bit Octet Stream nothing else, thats why I asked the question, it doesn't have an .exe, doc, or other file extension name, only that it is an 8bit Octet Stream, if it had a type of file extension listed I wouldn't wonder what it was, or how to open it.
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Expert Comment

by:sgeiger
ID: 1818976
My answer will also cover Win 3.1 as well as win95, but you are right it does not answer the question.  The place that you find this 8 bit octet reference, where is it? Is it a web page or are you finding this in a setting in Netscape?

Scott
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Author Comment

by:BenPoisened
ID: 1818977
I'm usually finding it as a file on a couple of Web Sites, or as an attachment to E-Mail I recieve, Netscape  has a Client association for it under applications but I don't know what to associte to open them.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:sgeiger
ID: 1818978
You wouldn't happen to have one of those emails, or know of one of those web sites that you encountered this at?  If you have an email you can send it to me at geigers@binghamton.edu.

Scott
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:tabit
ID: 1818979
please post the header (first few lines) and the end-sequence of one of your 8-bit-stream-attachment, I can tell you how to handle them

tabit
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Author Comment

by:BenPoisened
ID: 1818980
That could be a problem, I just updated to Netscape 3, and when I did it deleated my mail folders where I would have had such information, but I'll check to see if I can Find one
(Thats actually how I found this place I was trying to find out how to reclaim my mail folders, some one recomended here)
Gil
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:tabit
ID: 1818981
You did not backup you personal data before upgrading your Netscape? not recommended. I also experienced (using N3 on a 3.11-Windows-System) that this flavor of Netscape seems to sometimes kill the bookmark-file. Backup your Netscape personal-data incl. the bokkmarks from time to time with normal usage, always for updates!
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Author Comment

by:BenPoisened
ID: 1818982
I know, but then again I wasn't thinking at the time I got the Bookmarks back but not the mail folders.
As for my question, I think I found the answer but I was checking for responses to see if I was right?
Wanna know my thoughts on the subject???


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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:tabit
ID: 1818983
go ahead, Ben
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Expert Comment

by:rpabst
ID: 1818984
An 8-bit octet stream attachment is a binary attachment so it can cover about ANY filetype.You (or the sender) are probably using some old e-mail client otherwise the original filename would be known. Usually, unnamed 8-bit octet streams are pictures of nude women :), so you might try saving the attachment as GIF, JPG and/or BMP and see what happens. Tell the sender to send his attachments as MIMEfiles for a change.Good luck.
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Author Comment

by:BenPoisened
ID: 1818985
Actually the 8 bit files I've been encountering appear to be  word processors  text files, such as WP 5.1 for dos, but I didn't have a reader such as acrobat so I couldn't find out what they were, because I couldn't open an octet file at all except from DOS which is where I found out the files in question were text.
Thanks for the input though.
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:tabit
ID: 1818986
If you consider your problem solved by yourself you have to ask experts-exchange to delete the question.

Otherwise I can assue you, that if you view any email file with attachment or any multipart-file with a text-editor (or hex-editor) in Dos you WILL find a header giving the filename, filetype (i.e. the extension) and the type of encoding (base46 or whatever) The trouble with WP51 is, that a lot of users give their own surnames to files (the UN in Genf did so, before I gave them training). So its sometimes a problem for some import-filters to recognize a file called africa38.ang (for Angola), because the programm generally searches for the txt-extension plus the file-header (header inside the file, saying it is a wp51-file not the attachment-header outside the file)

tabit
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Author Comment

by:BenPoisened
ID: 1818987
I'm not viewing with any type of viewer whatsoerev, I found out through, Basic where I don't get any idea of a header or file type, extension, ect..., rather it is listed as an octet stream, In Netscape there is even  a helper application listing for them, and I was trying to figure out exactley what they were, so that I could reffrence an application to my browser.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:sgeiger
ID: 1818988
Ben can you post one of those files or can you direct us to the file.  It would really help if we could see the file in question.  Just looking at the file may give us some clue as how to proceed.

Scott
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Accepted Solution

by:
kenneth022597 earned 50 total points
ID: 1818989
Ben,

I had a similar problem to yours.  I kept getting files as attachments in Netscape that I was unable to view.  When someone sends you an attachment, it is decoded, usually in MIME or Hexidecimal.  Netscape, unfortunately, cannot decode attachments other than in the Mime format.  If you get an attachment sent in the hexidecimal format, it won't decode the file properly, and therefore you won't be able to view it (according to my experience).

There are two solutions I can offer you:

1.  Download email software such as Eudora (http://www.eudora.com) which will decode the sort of files that you're getting.

2.  This is a nifty solution.  go to http://www.keyview.com/download_page.html
... There, you will find a plugin for Netscape that decodes and views about 200 types of file formats.  I installed the 30-day free trial version on my computer and it works fine.  This will work with files that you'll find within your browser on web pages and it'll also work with attachments to emails.  Alternatively, check out http://www.inso.com for a program called QuickView Plus (rated Editor's Choice by PC Magazine). I haven't tried this Netscape plugin out, but it appears to work in the same way KeyView works.

Let me know how this works out.

Kenneth :)
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