Attatchments on my email opening up as encoding

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I just got a laptop with Windows 7 and Office 2010. The first time I had to open an attachment it asked that default question and I clicked on MS Word. Now every attachment that comes, .doc or .pdf opens up as some kind of encoding. A little box appears to ask if I want it in Windows, MS Dos or Other encoding.

I tried to save the document and open it that way, but it still does not read right.

Please help.

Harry Yuan


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:

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 characters.

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 good choice.

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.

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.


Harry Yuan


Outlook version
Email Account
I am very occasionally having this problem, with Outlook 2003. I'm also using ESET Smart Security, and since there has been some suggestion that AV software can cause this problem I have disabled POP3 protocol checking, but it still happens.

The header contains the following which may be helpful:

MIME-Version: 1.0

Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Then further down:

Content-Type: application/msword; name="Workshop Allocation Form.doc"

Content-Description: Workshop Allocation Form.doc

Content-Disposition: attachment; filename="Workshop Allocation Form.doc";

Content-Transfer-Encoding: base 64

The undecoded attachment gibberish then starts.

Can anyone help please?

Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
If you use Safe mode, does it happen? you'll need to test it with a new message or a new profile, if you leave mail oin the server and can redownload the affected messages. If its fine in Safe mode, its something on your computer, if not, its either the server or the sender.

Are all messages with attachments affected or just some? If all, its likely on your side, if only some it could be anywhere.

Check outlook addins - what do you have listed - this is tools, options, other, advanced - addins (i think, its been awhile since i used 2003).

The header looks ok - the attachment was encoded in base64, normal if the message contacts a certain % of special characters. I don't recall what percent, but characters would be any thing other than standard alphanumeric. It's not the cause of the problem though, it just explains the gibberish. The problem is the header is corrupted and outlook can't figure out what to do. If it hid the message, not displayed gibberish, clicking forward sometimes fixes it.


Outlook version
Email Account
Very many thanks Diane for your detailed reply. It has only happened a very few times, and in recent times from one source only. I'll try adjusting the settings to leave the message on the server so I can experiment rather the keep asking for a resend!

I've no experience of using Outlook Safe Mode but I'll read up your posting on the subject and give it a try.

If I forward the message to my Macbook it appears as gibberish just the same, so I assume the email has been corrupted on downloading.
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