TECH TIP: Security Settings in Outlook and Outlook Express
“I can’t open that attachment!” Ever heard that before? Microsoft Outlook (2002 or later) and Outlook Express (Version 6) have stringent security settings that prevent many types of attachments from opening. You actually receive the attachment but you get a message that says, “OE removed access to the following attachments in your mail: […]”
Microsoft has decided to go overboard and protect you from viruses and other malware by restricting by default all attachments they feel could be harmful to your computer. So, it looks at the 3 letter extension of the attachment filename, and if it is one they don’t like, it is blocked. (For a complete list of extensions that Outlook and Outlook Express blocks, see http://www.novatone.net/mag/mailsec.htm ).
“Well, thanks a lot, Microsoft, but I would like to have control myself over which attachments I want to open or not open.” Well, you can!
In Outlook Express, it is actually quite simple to loosen security settings and be able to receive your attachments. Do these steps (Remember, we are talking about Outlook Express 6 – which you should be using).
Click on Tools, then click on Options, the click on Security.
Uncheck the box next to: Do not allow attachments to be opened or saved that could potentially be a virus.
That’s it – you will start receiving your attachments now.
NOTE: Under the Block Images section, you can also uncheck to box next to Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail. You will then be able to see images in your email.
OK – that was easy. However, doing the same thing in Outlook is not so easy. The reason is because Microsoft does not allow you to set Outlook to receive potentially harmful emails. You’re stuck! So you go to their website and they offer some kindly suggestions. They say for you to write the person who is sending you the attachment that you cannot open and have them change the 3 letter extension of the file to an extension that Outlook will not filter out – like .doc. Example: Someone sends you a file called grabber2k.exe and you can’t open it. You write your friend and tell them to rename the file to grabber2k.doc and resend it to you. When you get it, you change the name back to grabber 2k.exe. Now you can receive it.
What a pain that is! Well, Microsoft does offer other solutions – which you can read about here - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/829982 - the worst of which is to go into your Registry and change some registry settings. Wow! Their warning on doing this is ominous!. They clearly state that “If you use the Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system.” OK – I wouldn’t suggest you do that!!!
So, here is the solution that is easy and painless - and which works just great! (I have done it!) There is a neat little program that you can download from the internet called Attachment Options (http://www.slovaktech.com/attachmentoptions.htm). This is a free program (donations are accepted). This program allows a user to determine which files can be opened and saved. After you download and install the program, open Outlook. Click on the Tools menu and select Options. You will see a new tab called Attachment Security and Options. In this dialogue area, you can select which attachments (extensions) you want to allow Outlook to receive. No more, “Outlook removed access to the following attachments …” messages! There are directions at the website to help you understand how the program works.
Try the solutions above to get those attachments you’ve been missing. As always, never open an attachment from someone you don’t recognize. Never click on advertisement links. Update your virus definitions regularly. Always be cautious and wary of what you receive in your email.
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