Help! I Can’t Open the Pictures You Sent Me!

Posted: July 31, 2010 in Office 2010, Windows 7

I have html set as my default format for email, and I often insert images (pictures) in the body of the email text rather than including them as an attachment.  When the recipients use Outlook as client, they can readily see the email as I composed it.

However, some email clients other than Outlook have a problem, though it is far less common now than it was only a few years ago.  But I sometimes get a message from someone telling me that they could not open the email attachments I sent them, even though there were embedded images and no attachments.

The fix is painless and quick.  Now when is the last time you heard that about a computer problem?

In order to get to the simple and quick fix, let me explain a feature of Outlook that you probably use all the time but don’t pay much attention to.  When you are creating a new email or forwarding one and start to type in the recipient’s name(s), Outlook displays a list of one or more previous recipients that match what you are beginning to type.  These suggestions come from a special file that Outlook maintains.  Prior to Outlook 2010, these were kept in a .nk2 file.  Outlook 2010 keeps them in files named Stream_Autocomplete*.dat.  The * is replaced by a string of numbers.  The location for these files is C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\RoamCache\.

When a recipient let you know that they can’t open the attachments and you didn’t send them anything but embedded images, the culprit is the auto-complete email address.  To fix the problem, you don’t have to know or deal with the .nk2 or the stream_autcomplete*.dat files directly.  Instead do the following:

  1. Start typing the recipient’s email address in the email.
  2. When the suggested name(s) appear, highlight the one you are going to use.
  3. Either press the DEL key or click on the X on the right side of the name to delete the entry.
  4. Make sure that the suggested name did not get put into the TO, CC or BCC field.
  5. Enter the recipient email address by typing it, using the address book, or pasting it into the appropriate field.
  6. Send the email normally.

This will correct the attachment problem and it will create a new, correct entry for future use.

Now wasn’t that easy?

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