Attachments are saving as unknown files using Groupwise 6.5

Posted on 2006-04-04
Last Modified: 2013-11-12

This is a continuance of an issue I have been having that I thought was solved yesterday. LEt me explain

My problem is as follows. We are using GroupWise 6.5. I get an email from someone with an attachment that I want to save. I right click the attachment and choose the save as feature. The save as dialogue box appears. By default I am given a filename.extension (example: finalexam.pdf). If I rename the file to filename (example Chemistryfinal) and omit the extension the file saves but when I try to open it windows does not recognize what application to open it with.

However there are others in our organization that when they right click the attachment and choose Save as, they are given by default in the Windows Save As dialogue box; filename (example finalexam) without an extension. They can then rename it whatever tehy want and do not need to add the extension.

A sloution I was given was Open "My Computer", go to "Tools", then down to "Folder Options", click on the "View" tab. The difference is the "Hide extensions of known file types" box. If it is checked then they won't have to add the extension, if it is unchecked then users have to include an extension.

That worked (kind of) as the default text in the save as dialogue box just filename not filename.extension. BUT the computers that were having the issue still cannt open the saved attachment unless they manually add an extension. I am so perplexed. I hope I am explaining this well enough so those of you that can help understand me but it is a tough explanation.

If anyone has some thoughts I would appreciate some help. Thanks
Question by:IDC_Group
    LVL 35

    Expert Comment

    This is for newly-saved attachments, after you hide the extensions in Explorer?

    I ask, because it will not change anything that has already been saved.  All that's happening is that the extension on new files should be "hidden" while the extension on the old files wasn't there to begin with.

    The thing with Windows (and this is a Windows issue, not a GroupWise issue, by the way) is that if you want to open a file in its application by double-clicking the file, you have to have a registered extension as part of the file name, that is associated with the application.

    If you want to make sure folx don't open files named "iamavirus.doc.exe" or "iamatrojan.jpg.vbs" you want to let them SEE the extension, so they can tell it's an executable and not a word document or a picture.  As part of that user education, you also want to make sure they understand that if they save their "Iamapicture.jpg" attachment as "Iamapicturetoo" without the ".jpg" it WON'T be opened by their default JPG viewer/editor by double-clicking on the file name.

    The only OS that cares about the extension is one put out by Microsoft.  File types and program associations are assigned to the file regardless of name in Mac OS (they use the "resource fork") and depends on the file attributes in Linux/*nix, more or less.

    If you want to hide that basic functionality of Windoze from the users, you have to deal with little things like this.  I like to teach my users what a file extension is for, and how to avoid getting infected by a virus/worm/trojan by paying attention to the extension on your email attachments, and make sure registered extensions aren't hidden from view.  

    Author Comment

    I understand what you are saying ShineON. I also feel keeping the extensions viewable is important. However ar server level we block all double extensions and only allow certain incoming file types. We do this as many of our users do NOT LISTEN :) or have the inability to understand technology.

    Let me provide another example. User A gets an email from Billing that is a pdf Invoice. User A right clicks the file (that has the Adobe look) in the attachment pane and chooses save as (by default  "filename" is the name of file when he chooses save as). Then simply types Invoice1 and saves to desktop. User A can then double click the file on the desktop and open it in Adobe.

    User B (user having the issue) gets the same email. The attachment in the attachment pane still has the Adobe look or icon associated. He right clicks the attachment chooses save as (by default this user is given filename.extension). If he types simply Invoice one, then on the desktop where he has saved the file its icon is that of an unknown filetype. The only way to correct this is to manually rename the file giving it its extension.

    Also in addition if we use the solution provided to me yesterday to go to Win Explorer, go to "Tools", then down to "Folder Options", click on the "View" tab. The difference is the "Hide extensions of known file types" box. If User B does this, when he chooses SaveAs by default the filename is just "filename". However when User B saves it as Invoice1 then he still gets the unknown filetype icon and can only open it by renaming the file.

    I hope this is a better explanation and will help me resolve the issue. I have to think that if some users like UserA can make it work, everyone shuld be able to.

    Thanks for the post.
    LVL 1

    Accepted Solution

    Hi IDC_Group.

    This is going to need some more information.

    Here is what I'd like you to check, using the example you gave above.

    User B saves the file to his desktop, so it should read "Invoice1.pdf". Can you verify that the extension is indeed being saved? If needed you can drop down to a command prompt and look in the "Documents and Settings\UserB\Desktop" folder, it's possible that an extra extension is being added as well.

    If the extension is not showing up, try this.

    Go back to "My Computer", "Tools", "Folder Options", "View" tab, ensure you have checked the "hide extensions of known file types" and then click the "Apply to All Folders" which should be listed near the top. This will take a few minutes since it's going through all the folders and files on the computers. I kind of doubt this is causing the problem, but it can't really hurt anything.

    Try save the file again. If it's still not working go back in there except this time click on the "File Types"  tab. (This is the part that ShineOn was talking about when mentioning "Registered Files Types".)

    On User B's computer scroll down the list of extensions until you reach PDF and verify that it shows "Opens With: Adobe Acrobat...." Depending on which version of Adobe Acrobat is installed on the computer.

    If you're still not working you might try updating your GroupWise client on that machine.

    Looks like the latest is 6.5.6.

    Good luck and let us know how things work out.


    Author Comment


    One more hick up to throw into this.

    After user B does the following
    go to Win Explorer, go to "Tools", then down to "Folder Options", click on the "View" tab. The difference is the "Hide extensions of known file types" box. I

    If User B does this, when he chooses SaveAs by default the filename is just "filename".  If he saves it as the default filename then things save and work fine but if he changes the default filename to invoice1 (or any other name) then the only way to make this work is to add the extension manually.

    This is not just one user. Unfortuneltly, about half of our users are having the same issue. But all installs were basically done by me and I installed  the same application the same way every time. Do I have you stumped yet :) I know I am
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    I refused to be stumped! :p

    Now as for having an answer, that might be another story, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

    Were you able to verify that when they renamed the file that the extension took? I'm liking Microsoft for this one, that operating system is as unstable as Charles Manson. Especially since you did the installs yourself, the same way each time. It has almost got to be a Windows setting.

    LVL 35

    Expert Comment

    Just so you know, the same thing happens to me, using Outlook 2003.  It's not GroupWise, it's something deep in the file/save as process in the registry - I changed it in Explorer so I couldn't see extensions, but the "all files" filetype is the only thing that shows in the list in my "save as" box, so not putting the extension on the file saves it to "my documents" as a no-extension file.

    Do you have a "file type" pulldown list in your "save as" dialog, or do you have the "simple" save-as dialog that has no "file type" pulldown?

    It may be something with MRU or something like it.

    I saw something similar when researching this where the person "fixed" it by doing things like deleting all offline and temporary IE files.

    Author Comment


    to Verify the file is not taking any extension when it gets renamed. This is not just pdf files but any attachments that are receicved (.doc, .xls, etc......)

    So lets recap:

    If user B receives an email with an attachment. Lets say the attachment is called InvoiceX and it is a pdf. You know it is pdf because in the attachemtn window you can see the icon looks like an adobe file
    User B wants to save this file to his desktop and rename it so it makes sense to him for referencing in the future. He wants to rename it Invoice_for_rent.
    -if he right clicks and save file as >> then saves the file as the default file name which would be InvoiceX then the file saves to desktop and takes the adobe form (has the look of an adobe file) and can be opened no problem.
    -if he right clicks and save file as >> then saves the file as Invoice_for_Rent then the file does not keep an extension and shows up on the desktop as unknown file type. You have to manually choose the program to open it with or rename the file with a pdf extension or when nameing the file after save as make sure you add the .pdf extension.

    None of the above issues are huge but if User A can right click save as whatever he wants, All users should be able to do this.

    Any more ideas? I agree withyou on this one as well. It has to be a windows based error.

    User B renames file to Invoice1 and no extension is added yet if he leaves the default filenem (ie by default it was called InvoiceFromSupplier) it will place the correct extension on the file.


    Author Comment

    Shine on,

    In my Save as dialogue box I dont get to choose which file type. THats why it baffles me that for some users windows just knows and others it doesnt.

    I deleted all cached files but to no avail :( still not working.
    LVL 35

    Expert Comment

    Yeah, I kinda think it's a registry thing, at this point.

    Do you do any Group Policy stuff, either through ZENworks or through AD GPO?

    Author Comment

    Sorry it took me a few days to get back to this but was out of town.

    As to your question abou Group Policy stuff, either through ZENworks or through AD GPO? We do not do anything.

    However while away I was playing with things and realized that I was wrong. Initially I thoght that some user could save attachments without adding the extension. I was kind of wrong.

    Users that have the Hide extensions of known file types checked in Windows Explorer can save without adding the extension if and only if they keep the default name of the file. If they want to rename it then they have to add the extension or else it will show up as an unknown file type.

    As mentioned we use GroupWise 6.5. Can anyone tell me if this is a GroupWise issue? or is this something in a group policy (which I doubt)?

    LVL 19

    Assisted Solution

    >Users that have the Hide extensions of known file types checked in Windows Explorer can save
    >without adding the extension if and only if they keep the default name of the file.
    Yes, this is how it works.

    >If they want to rename it then they have to add the extension or else it will show up as an
    >unknown file type.

    >Can anyone tell me if this is a GroupWise issue?
    As others have already pointed out, this is a Windows problem. The problem is caused by the fact that Windows is hiding the file extensions.

    If you do a Save As, but do not make any change to the file name, it will actually use the full original file name provided in the attachment, just hiding the extension from view.

    But if you type something else in there, at that point you've destroyed the original information, *including the extension* even though you can't see it.

    Visually, there's no difference between a filename with no extension, and a filename with an extension that is hidden. But behind the scenes, that extension IS there, and you're erasing it when you type in a different filename.

    Two solutions:
    1. Stop renaming files while saving as. Save the file with its original name. Then rename it after it has been saved. Clumsy, but it works.

    2. The better solution is to turn off the incredibly silly and dangerous "Hide Extensions for Known File Types" option. Having this on will cause confusion and errors. It also poses a security risk. You should turn this off on every workstation.

    With respect to blocking attachments with double extensions, that's of limited value. Attachments with executable extensions should be blocked regardless of whether they have double extensions or not. Double attachments in and of themselves are not dangerous, only those where the last extension is executable, and those should be blocked anyway.

    Turn off the dangerous hidden extensions option. If you're properly blocking all executable attachments, they won't get through anyway, and if you aren't, then the lack of a double extension may give you a false sense of security.

    Author Comment

    You made some really good points billmercer.

    However my origional problem was that certain upper executives are complaining that they have to remember the extension when they rename a file they are saving from an attachment.

    We both know this isnt a big deal, but they are com,plaining about it nonetheless. If I could solve the problem then I wouldnt have to listen to them complain (especially about GroupWise).
    LVL 35

    Assisted Solution

    You could probably write a replacement for Windows Explorer.

    Seriously, you'd need to intercept the "save as" process and write your own routine that will save the extension and add it back on.  Alternatively, the full "save as" dialog has to be forced to run instead of the simple "save-as" dialog, with the file types pulldown populated with the original extension/filetype as well as "all files *.*" so they can at least see what they're doing.  To figure out how to do that, you may want to post a different question in a M$ programming TA.

    The biggest problem with Windoze and the "hide known" crap is that executives and other ignorant people don't understand that the extension is part of the file name, not something that's attached to the file "in the background."  Hiding known extensions was probably the stupidest thing Microsoft did, second only to Bob.

    If they wanted to have file type separate from file name they should've licensed the resource-fork concept from Apple, instead of pretending part of the file name doesn't exist.


    Author Comment

    I was the origional poster. I guess there was no actual solution so I never assigned points to anyone. But for the help I guess splitting th points to all that replied would make most sence.

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