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Hidden Attachments ??

Posted on 2001-07-19
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Last Modified: 2006-11-17
I have some problems with receiving mail from only 1 person. If he sends me a mail with an attachment, the attachment is not available in the document (no icon, nothing). But I know the information is there because if i look at the size of the mail it is to big for only one text-line, e.g. He have send me today a 1.2Mb JPG attachment and the mail has a size of 1.4Mb, but no icon to open the attachment. How is this possible or better how can I/we solve this. I think it is a failure on the senders site, because all other mail that I receive is Ok.
I'm using outlook express and on the senders site outlook is installed.

:)
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Question by:theo kouwenhoven
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16 Comments
 
LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:slink9
ID: 6297875
How is it being attached?  Tell the sender to attach the file using Insert-File within Outlook and see if that fixes the problem.  Also ask what format is being used for the email.  I am looking at how to change that.
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Expert Comment

by:slink9
ID: 6297894
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Neo_mvps
ID: 6298241
no.... RTF is evil between Outlook and any POP/SMTP client.  If you take a look at the full source of the message in Outlook Express, you will find an attachment called winmail.dat.  This is the RTF body part that includes the attachment that OE was designed to suppress.

Outlook user must send to OE user as plain text or HTML.  If Outlook user has Outlook 98/2000 configured in Corp/Workgroup mode, they (person using Outlook) must verify that the contact record isn't configured to send in Outlook Rich Text Only. (Open contact record and double click on email address.  This also applies to Outlook 97.)

Cheers,
/Neo
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:starl
ID: 6298271
neo - why???? <just trying to learn>
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Expert Comment

by:slink9
ID: 6298273
I was thinking it had something to do with RTF, but I was backwards in my conclusion.  Oh well, one person can't know everything, although there are some who think they do!!
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Expert Comment

by:slink9
ID: 6298332
Before someone asks if I am referring to any specific person here with the "know it all" comment.  Not any of the regular experts.  I have seen many people inside and outside of the computer field who think they know everything about everything.  I had rather learn what I can and have a resource where I can find an answer to just about all of my questions.  Hey, that would be here.
I have had a few questions that weren't even addressed.  One of those was regarding custom checks in QuickBooks.  I guess that shows the lack of flexibility with that package.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Neo_mvps
ID: 6298369
RTF is a propriatery message format that only Outlook 97/98/2000/2002 understand.  More or less what happens when you send an RTF message is this...

RTF hits the transport (in this case SMTP) and creates two message parts. 1 is plain text that is just the words.  The second is the RTF stream that contains formatting, fonts, attachments, outlook form definition, .etc.  In order to get this stream to go, it is wrapped into a file named winmail.dat.  Other mail clients like Netscape, Outlook Express, Pine, Lotus, .etc. treat it as an attachment.  It just so happens that Microsoft decided that OE will suppress the winmail.dat file because it is useless to this mail client since it only supports plain text and html.

And by the way slink9, I only know this stuff because my users find new and creative questions to ask.  After 5 years of supporting Exchange/Outlook they have asked a ton and I have been fortunate to be able to find the answer.  In this case, it is one that has been known since the Windows Messaging client that came with Windows 95.
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Expert Comment

by:Neo_mvps
ID: 6298375
PS - No offense taken. =)
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Author Comment

by:theo kouwenhoven
ID: 6298472
Some extra information:
=======================

Sender:
-------
The sender is using Outlook-2000.
the most other receivers of his mail has no problem with the received attatchments, even when the sender sends his messages to more than one receiver, they all receive the attachment except me.

Me:
---
I can receive attatchments from everybody except one.
We can not blame the provider because we both use the same.

Changes:
--------
In the past it was no problem to receive from him.
Could it be possible that the problem started on the moment that the sender has included a standard header and footer in his mail???
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:starl
ID: 6298870
neo - so if someone sends an rtf w/an attachment to an OE user, _both_ the *dat and the attachment will be supressed???

murphey2 - could you ask the user to send you a file & attachment w/o the heater & footer... btw, what version of OE are you using??? and do you have the standard outlook installed at all???
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:starl
ID: 6298877
oh - and make sure the user isn't sending you rtf files - the mail format may have switched w/the use of the header/footer...
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Author Comment

by:theo kouwenhoven
ID: 6299394
starl,

OE Release 5.50 version 4133.2400
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Accepted Solution

by:
Neo_mvps earned 50 total points
ID: 6300645
starl: yep ~ attachment is inside the winmail.dat file.  Best way to describe this is to do the following.

* Start Wordpad
* Type some text
* drag and drop a jpg onto new paragraph in wordpad
* save document as whatever.rtf
* open whatever.rtf in notepad

Notice how the JPG graphic is called objdata it is part of the Rich Text stream.  This is how Outlook sees it ~ as one great big line of text and data.  When it is passed to the SMTP engine, it just knows that it has to create two representations of the body.  One plain text and rich text stream.  Since the objdata is binary data that is part of the rtf stream and can't be rendered as plain text, it gets encapsulated into winmail.dat.


Murphy2:
If you open the message in OE and press ALT + F3, scroll past the plain text part of the message to see if you have an attachment named winmail.dat.  If you do, then ask the Outlook 2000 user to send you messages in plain text or html and lay off using Word as their email editor.
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Expert Comment

by:PandoraMod
ID: 6366522
murphey2, you have had some time to try the solution posted. Did it solve your problem? If so, please accept that experts comment as the answer. If not, post more information and the experts will be notified and provide more assistance.

PandoraMod
Moderator @ Experts Exchange
e-mail: pandoramod@experts-exchange.com
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Triskelion
ID: 6392441
Have the sender ZIP the attachment before sending.
This usually clears all problems with mail formats.
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Expert Comment

by:won
ID: 8304380
Hi murphey2,

I've got a solution of sorts to your problem (and mine), without the inconvenience of zipping (and having your recipients un-zip) files.

I've been noticing the same issue randomly cropping up among the people I email regularly.  It seems like it started happening for the first time sometime last year.  Folks using Outlook and / or Outlook Express would receive large emails from me with no visible attachments in the inbox list and would naturally (not noticing the size) call to complain.

I figured that it was something to do with the way Eudora on my Mac was sending the files, but I had no explanation for why it started happening so suddenly, except the theory that it is a problem with recent versions of the Outlook family which folks started installing en masse last year.

Quick workaround:  Tell your recipients (you may want to add this info to either the headers or footers of each message for convenience) to highlight the message in the inbox list and click on the "Forward" button (or find"Forward" in whichever menu it's listed in).

This opens up a new window and lo and behold, the attachments are now visible in this new message and can be copied, pasted etc. from this window as SHOULD have occurred in the original message.

I've seen this happen on Outlook Express 5-point-something in Mac OS 9 as well as various versions of OE 6 on Windows.  I haven't done much in-depth investigation so I can't provide more accurate version details.

won
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