MS Outlook and Express
- The Off Topic list has had several posts commenting on Outlook and
Outlook Express so I'm sending the following for anyone interested.
This is a lightly edited Q&A column carried by many U.S. papers under the
pseudonym of Dr. Bombay.
Q: I recently switched from Outlook Express to the full version of Outlook.
Since changing, I haven't been able to send or receive some kinds of
A: That was a nasty little surprise Microsoft engineered, wasn't it?
Outlook blocks several types of file attachments even useful, non
threatening ones - by default, and there's no "normal" way to turn that
blocking off. Does that tick you off at all? Well then, you simply don't
realize that Big Bill and his henchmen know what's best for you.
The concept of built-in attachment blocking isn't really all that heinous.
After all, almost all viruses are spread by scripts and programs riding
piggyback on your mail. But not giving you the option to selectively
unblock file types borders on the megalomaniacal.
If you've downloaded and installed the latest service pack for Internet
Explorer, you probably have discovered that Outlook Express now blocks
attachments by default as well. Fortunately, that's a simple fix. Go to
OE's Tools menu and pick Options. Click on the Security tab, where you'll
find a box you can uncheck to get things back to normal.
Download DetachXP from McDaniel Development (www.mcdev.com/outlook.shtml),
and it'll do the fiddling. You choose what sort of attachments you want to
send and receive, then let it hack the Registry for you.
That brings up another sore point. If you can add that hack, that means the
Outlook program has the built-in capability of allowing you to customize
the approved file-type list. You just haven't been trusted with a menu
choice to use it.
Of course, if you do unblock things, you'd better have a virus checker
running with up-to-date definitions installed in case something nasty slips
Look out for Outlook
Q: When I e-mail TIFF files to people at Netscape.com, Microsoft Network or
America Online, the attachment is converted to something called Winmail.dat.
A: Maybe that program should be called "Look Out!" instead of Outlook.
Yeah, I can tell that's what you're using. Well, it's either that or
Microsoft Exchange, which exhibits similarly annoying behavior.
Outlook allows you to compose messages in "Rich Text Format," meaning you
can change fonts and make boldface and italics and whatever. Unfortunately,
about the only email program that can natively decipher the Outlook version
of RTF is, well, Outlook.
The RTF information = what font you're using and stuff like that - is
tacked on to the end of your message as an attachment called Winmail.dat,
which is ignored by some mail programs like Outlook Express. Others,
unfortunately, don't know what to do with it, so they show it as a regular
attachment. Furthermore, your attached graphics are being rolled into the
Change your mail-sending format. Go to Outlook's Tools menu and pick
Options. On the Mail Format tab, choose HTML - which will still let you
play around with fonts and colors - or plain text. It's either that or
you'll have to get your recipients to use some sort of Winmail.dat decoder
- search Google (www.google.com) for one - but they're pretty well fed up
with you as it is.
Regards, Len Hargrove