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Outlook 2010 corrupting incoming PDF attachments

Posted on 2014-01-14
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Last Modified: 2016-06-02
I have one user here that is having incoming pdf attachments get corrupted in Outlook 2010. When she tries to open the file, it gives the error "Adobe Reader could not open filename.pdf because it is either not a supported file type or because the file has been damaged (for example, it was sent as an email attachment and wasn't correctly decoded)." I can open the pdf files in her webmail, and I also installed another mail client which can open the same email attachment fine. It is obviously something about Outlook 2010 that is corrupting the pdf. I have attached a comparison of email headers from a good email and a corrupt email, as well as a comparison of the content of a good pdf file vs a corrupt one. Any input on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for looking!
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Question by:Help Desk
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23 Comments
 
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:Rob Hutchinson
ID: 39780914
What versions of Adobe Acrobat are you using, and is there a version of Adobe Acrobat Writer and another version of Adobe Acrobat Reader on the same computer?
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Author Comment

by:Help Desk
ID: 39780946
The .PDF opens through another mail client.  Are you sure that this could be an Adobe issue?
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LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:Rob Hutchinson
ID: 39780971
No, not sure at all, but wondering if you tried using a different Adobe version, and about the other questions  just asked.
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Author Comment

by:Help Desk
ID: 39782746
The user is on Adobe Reader 10.  No other Adobe products.

When looking at the .PDF, it is filled will blanks as if Outlook wiped it.  Not just the header, but the entire .PDF is blank.

We tested another mail client (Scribe), and it received the exact same email from the server and did not corrupt the .PDF.

Again, this is clearly an Outlook problem and we need a clear answer from someone that has resolved this previously.
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Vasil Michev (MVP)
ID: 39834998
If it is opening fine in OWA, the issue is most likely with the local machine/Outlook. Have you tried running Outlook in safe mode? Also temporary disable any AV you have there and try again.
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:captain
ID: 39835445
This is a well known issue that is discussed in the Adobe forums too.

It seems to happen as some email clients (the sender) use encoding and if the other side (the recipient) decodes it it gets corrupted. It will happen from likely the same sender maybe on all or most of the PDFs, but not all senders or many senders depending what your likely senders are, encode mail.

There is little the recipient can do without looking at the specific circumstances of each sender.

The common workaround is to ask the sender to zip the file.

hth
capt.
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Author Comment

by:Help Desk
ID: 39836101
The emails can open with webmail, and other email clients.  The problem has been narrowed down to an Outlook problem on local machines.  

From what we've read, the problem is with the Base64 encoding, and (as stated above by another expert) occurs when Outlook attempts to decode the file.  The decoding allegedly hits a carriage return character in the code, and proceeds to decode the entire .PDF with all carriage returns.  

We are using a Postfix server to relay incoming phone system faxes to .PDF.  So the sender and encoding is the same every time.  About 25% of these attachments get corrupted in Outlook.  We can send 4 faxes of the same document when testing, and 1 of the 4 will be corrupt.

There must be something that we can do to fix this.  HELP
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Author Comment

by:Help Desk
ID: 39836104
Chasing down every corrupt PDF and asking the sender to re-send as a zip is a serious pain, I know our users would not be happy with that solution. Another issue is that some of these incoming PDF's are digital faxes from our Trixbox VOIP server. Not sure if those can be sent as a zip file instead of just a PDF or not.
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LVL 78

Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 39836460
how about if she saves the attachment and then opens it?
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Author Comment

by:Help Desk
ID: 39836482
Saving the attachment and then attempting to open it from the PC still does not work.

Outlook corrupts the file while receiving it from the server.
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:captain
ID: 39836648
One option would be to specify that emails sent are never in RTF but only Plain Text which would stop the decoding.

There is also a related link here, which may help.
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LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:Mark Wills
ID: 39837293
There is a known issue with a couple of particular versions of Outlook 2010. Outlook v14.0.6112.5000 (and others) inability to properly decode the PDF's Base64 data in the email.

Check out this thread : http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2010-outlook/outlook-2010-decodes-pdf-attachment-as-all-zero/51012fe5-9d5e-431d-9d9c-a37b0171264a

It also shows the versions that do work (if you can manage rolling back) and the thread seems to be still active (started in 2011).

I have not found any hotfix. Ouch.
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Author Comment

by:Help Desk
ID: 39842069
No updates yet, will work with Microsoft on this soon.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Help Desk earned 0 total points
ID: 39930118
After arguing with level 1 Microsoft Support for a long time, I finally got a supervisor that had knowledge about this issue. Apparently it is a known issue with some versions of Outlook 2010 and 2013. They are supposed to send me version numbers that do not have this issue as well as instructions for how to revert back to that version. I will post the details when I get it.
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LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:Mark Wills
ID: 39930848
Thanks for letting us know, and hope it is resolved soon for you.

Also, get the download page from MS, or where to get the correct versions (unless you happen to have the correct installation disks)...

Cheers,
Mark
0
 

Author Comment

by:Help Desk
ID: 40005372
From what I am seeing at least 2 versions do not have this issue. How to revert back to these versions I don't know. I will continue to research and let you know what I find.

14.0.06023.1000
14.0.04760.1000
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Expert Comment

by:markj72000
ID: 40367477
I had a similar problem with Jpeg and now recently with pdf and performing this action has seem to solve the problem for me. Not sure if it will help your issue or not but thought I would share.

http://www.howto-outlook.com/faq/securetemp.htm
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Author Comment

by:Help Desk
ID: 40380647
Thanks, but this didn't fix the problem.
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Author Comment

by:Help Desk
ID: 40402744
Small update. Going into Options > Advanced > Send/Receive Groups, select your account and under Folder Options select the 'Download headers only' radio button. When doing this and I receive an email I have to specify how to download it from the server then after hitting Send/Receive again, the attachment will open. Not a real fix but hopefully someone can explain why this works.
0
 

Author Comment

by:Help Desk
ID: 40783808
Still no luck on this issue. Anyone know of any developments?
0

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