Sending Mail Attachments
The procedure for attaching a file or files to an email message varies a little depending on the email program you use. In general, you can click on an attachment icon, such as a paper clip, located on the toolbar of the mail program or select Insert on the menu then select File... You then browse the hard drive or removable disks to select the file you want to attach. When the file is found, click the file to select it and click "OK". The attached file will appear as part of the email header or as an icon within the body of your email message.
Many mail programs will allow you to drop and drag a file you want to attach into the message. To use this method, locate the file you want to send on your hard drive or removable disk. Once the file is located, open your email program and begin composing a new message. Drag the file on the hard drive or removable disk to the body of the message and release the mouse. Note: If the message cannot be dropped into the body, try dropping it into the subject field.
Note about sending attachments: The maximum message size any user can send through the Expedient mail servers is 10MB (or 10,000 Kb). However, it is recommended that you do not send a file larger than 1-2 MB to eliminate possible problems in sending or receiving mail attachments. If you would like to send a large attachment to someone, consider using a "Zip" application, such as Winzip to zip and compress your attachment files or break down your attachments into parts and mail them as separate, smaller email messages. Bear in mind that the size of the message will include, in addition to the attachment, some overhead - namely, the encoding to convert the file to text when sent then back to it's original form when received.
Very large mail attachments may be rejected by the recipient's mailserver and cause their email box to exceed the mail quota; the email with attachment may be bounced back to the sender as "undeliverable". Large attachments may also cause the recipient's email to "hang" when he or she attempts to download the message. Note that, on a dial-up, a 500k file takes about two minutes.
Troubleshooting Mail Attachments
Problems with attachments include viewing, opening, sending and receiving. Large attachments can cause a locked box and "hang" the download of messages. Attachments may also hang on sending, resulting in an undeliverable message or the message(s) to be stuck in Outbox. Large attachments can also result in an overquota email box. Some common problems with attachments are discussed below. Refer to the section on mail quotas for additional information.
A word of caution about email attachments. Is it a virus?
Do not open the attachment without first determining that it is safe to open it. Make sure it is an attachment that you expected to receive from a trusted source. Take a few precautionary steps to make sure that the attachment will not launch a "payload" virus or worm.
- Does the attachment icon look like an executable (program) file even though the file name indicates it's an image? If the attachment does appear to be an executable program, do NOT click on it. Doing so may launch a program that contains a virus.
- Look at the name of the attachment by right clicking on the attachment and selecting Properties. The three letters to the right of the period indicate what type of file it is: filename.xxx. Files that end with ".exe", ".ini", ".bat", ".pif". ".vbs" are a few extensions of executable files that can launch dangerous programs, although they are, of course, sometimes legitimate.
If the attachment is suspicious, delete the message immediately. See Viruses for more information.
Unable to send or receive an attachment
Large email attachments may cause the mail download to 'hang' or cause the message to get 'stuck' in the Outbox and result in an undeliverable message. A virus such as Happy99 may also prohibit you from sending email attachments. (See MSKB Q221486).
A 200K attachment can take a long time to download on a computer that does not meet the Minimum System Requirements. If you are trying to receive a large attachment and you are operating a low-end or older computer system, make sure you do not have other applications open or running at the same time you are downloading your email.
If you or the recipient is protected by a ‘firewall’ or using an Exchange server configured to block attachments, sending and receiving attachments may be problematic. To make the file pass through intact, you can generally change the file extension from .xxx to .xx_ (use an underscore as the final character) and provide instructions to the email recipient for renaming the file back to it's original extension after it is saved locally.
Cannot open or view an attachment
The most common cause for this problem is a security setting in Outlook Express. Check
under the Tools -> Options menu, and click on the Security tab. There is a check box that reads
Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened that could potentially be a virus. Uncheck
that box and try to re-open the message. You should be able to view the attachement.
File format issues
An email attachment you receive may not be in a format that you are able to view if you do not have a program installed on your computer that can be associated with the attachment's file extension. For example, a file with an .eml should open with Outlook Express on a default system. A file with a .doc extension can be opened with Microsoft Word. Any .htm ot .html attachment would open Internet Explorer or another browser such as Netscape. If you do not have a program installed on your computer that is associated with the file type, you will be prompted to Open with ?. Note that file formats supported by the Macintosh Operating System may not be supported by PC Operating Systems.
Determining what program is associated with a file type
To determine what program is associated with a file extension, refer to
TechFileFormat or Whatis.com for a list of file extensions and their associated programs.
Unable to open .eml files
If you are not able to open an .eml file, refer to Q312355: Unable to Open EML File Attachments in Outlook Express. Note that this may sometimes be caused by installing/uninstalling a program such as Incredimail.
If the file extension is ".zip" then you need a compression program like "Winzip" to open it (Note: Windows XP has a built-in compression utility). If the file extension is ".hqx" or ".bin" then you need a compression program like "StuffIt" to open it. This program comes in both Mac and Windows versions.
Common image file types and associated programs
An attachment that ends in .jpg is a jpeg compressed image. One ending in .gif is a graphic interchange format image. Most graphics programs will open these file types.
Images may also be sent in .tif format. The recommended TIF viewer is Imaging for Windows. This software is installed with all Windows operating systems. If you do not have it installed on your machine you can reinstall it from your system CD.
- Double-click My Computer.
- Windows 2000/ME: Select Tools | Folder Options.
- WinNT: Select View | Options.
- Windows 98: Select View | Folder Options.
- Select File Types.
- Under Registered File Types, select TIF extension.
- Under Details, click Change.
- Locate Imaging for Windows and click Open.
- Note: If you cannot find the program, reinstall Imaging for Windows from the
- Click OK.
- Then restart your browser and see if you are able to view the images.
If you receive a file
attachment for an Microsoft Office product, such a file with the extension of .doc (MS Word) or .pps (Power Point) but do not have Microsoft Office installed on your computer, download and install the appropriate Microsoft viewer to open and view the attachment.
See Tools on the Web
for a list of Microsoft viewers that can be downloaded/installed. Direct links to viewers for the more common Microsoft products are: MS Word | MS
Excel | MS Visio | MS
Email encoding properties
If you have problems viewing attachments, and it comes up as gibberish in the text of the message rather than as an attachment, it is possible that your mail application's encoding is different from the sender's email application. In order to be able to view an attachment, the encoding between the sending and receiving systems must be identical. Generally speaking, your email software will automatically encode the attachment and the recipient's software will automatically decode the file. However older email applications may not support some of encoding protocols which may include:
If you are having problems properly Decoding a file, contact the sender to determine what email program they are using. You should try and determine which encoding scheme is in use and make sure your software supports it.
- MIME Encodings (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) is an Internet
standard for multimedia mail which allows different mail applications to
exchange a variety of types of information.
Most current PC Email Applications are MIME Encoding Compliant.
- No encoding does not encode the attachment at all. This can be risky to use for Internet mail and should be used only if you know that the attachment is a plain text file with no high bit
- ASCII text Indicates that the file is plain text with no formatting
or high-bit characters.
- UUencoding This encoding is widely on the Internet. This encoding is a
- BinHex Used with Macintosh machines but not
widely used on other operating systems. Before sending an attachment, check in advance that the recipient is able to deal with BinHex-encoded files.
Outlook Express 6 virus protection feature strips attachments
If you are using Outlook Express 6 on Windows XP and cannot receive attachments, the virus protection feature may need to be adjusted. Open Outlook Express, click Tools on the menu then select Options. Click the Security tab and uncheck the "do not allow" box. You will not be able to open the current attachments you have, but this
will allow you to open any new attachments you receive. Refer to MSKB Q291387 for information.
Unable to view any html messages in Outlook Express
Open Outlook Express, click Tools on the menu then select Options. Click the Read tab and uncheck the box to "Read all messages in plain text".
Using an attachment to send an AOL customer an HTML message
Attachments from AOL are often multiple, forwarded messages. You can send an HTML message to an AOL user by making a saved attachment of it. They can then use Outlook Express to view it. AOL HTML cannot be read by Outlook Express.
Unable to Open EML File Attachments in Outlook Express
When you attempt to open an .eml attachment in Outlook Express, either the file may not open or you may receive an error message that states that there is no program associated with this file type. See MSKB Q312355 for a solution.
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