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|The Help Place|
These guidelines, troubleshooting steps, and usage tips collected
by Information Technology will help you with most common problems
and questions. This information is provided
"as is" in order to provide you with a starting place for addressing
common issues. If you are uncertain about any of the steps or methods
described below or need further help, please contact the Help
Telephone: 4357 (575-574-4357 off campus)
On-line Help Request: Fill out and submit this form.
In person/Walk-in Assistance: Castorena Hall
Please note that walk-in assistance is limited to staff availability, and that it is much easier to diagnose and resolve issues with your computer if you contact us while at the computer with which you need assistance.
On-line Help Documents
Receiving winmail.dat files: the problem and the solutions
This information was taken from the help page created by Dr. Julia E. Benson, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgia Perimeter College.
The situation causing this is that people are using several different e-mail client programs to receive, read, and send e-mail. The most commonly used e-mail client programs at GPC seem to be Microsoft Outlook and Netscape (specifically the Messenger component), with a small minority of techno-geeks using Eudora. Unfortunately, Outlook does not "play nice" with the other e-mail programs all the time. This causes problems, not for the sender of the e-mail, but the recipient, particularly when actual files are attached to messages.
Outlook is a rather powerful e-mail client program with a number of features that look very attractive. Most notably, Outlook allows users to send e-mail in a variety of formats:
When an Outlook user composes and sends a message using either Rich Text Format or HTML Format, Outlook automagically generates a file, winmail.dat, and attaches it to the end of the message. winmail.dat contains formatting information, in a human-unreadable form, that Outlook will use on the receiving end to display this e-mail message correctly. Unfortunately, Outlook is the ONLY e-mail client program that can use this information! Netscape Messenger, Eudora, and other e-mail client programs don't understand this information. (Eudora can, and does, display HTML formatted e-mail messages in HTML format, but it does not use the winmail.dat information to do so.)
The SolutionsIf you are receiving these winmail.dat files
I assume at this point that you are not using Microsoft Outlook as your e-mail client program, since this wouldn't be a problem if you were using it.
One solution to the problem is to visit http://www.biblet.com and download the WMDecode program found there (look about halfway down the page). This will at least allow you to decode the winmail.dat files and extract any useful attachments from them.
Other than this, there's not much you can do on your end to fix the problem, since it's not your e-mail program generating the problem. If you just don't want to deal with the problem, the other approach is to reply to the individual who sent you the offending e-mail and ask that they re-send the message, with the attached files, as a plain text message, not in Rich Text Format or HTML. If they don't know how to do this, you can, of course, refer them to this document!
If you are sending these winmail.dat files
If someone e-mails you to complain that they couldn't read your attachments, or to ask what this "winmail.dat" file is that you sent them, chances are you sent this e-mail using Microsoft Outlook 97/2000 (or, very remotely possibly, another product using Microsoft Exchange Server). Although you are not the one having the problem, you are the one who gets to fix the problem.
You have multiple possible ways to fix the problem, depending on how you have set up your address book capabilities and whether or not you are using a mailing list or group mailing to send out the offending e-mail. Please read the remainder of this section before you begin making changes to your settings, as there are two special situations, discussed first, that you must consider before choosing the appropriate solution.
If you are sending messages to a mailing list or as a group mailing:
In this situation, you MUST set ALL users up so that they receive plain text e-mail. If even one user is set up in your address book, or your default setting is to receive Rich Text Format or HTML format e-mail, everyone will receive that format. You must either edit every address book entry for every individual on your mailing list, or change your default sending mode to plain text. Both methods are described below.
If you use an online directory (LDAP server) to look up the recipient's address:
In this situation, you have no address book entry to edit, so you may either change your default sending mode to plain text or change the sending mode manually for each message.
If the recipient is in your address book:
If you enter the recipient's address manually in the To: line of your e-mail message:
EACH TIME you send a message to this person, you must:
If you want to change your default sending mode:
You may change your default sending mode in Outlook, thereby sending all e-mail messages as plain text, by doing the following:
E-mail Messages Not Text Wrapping
To set the line length in incoming messages in Netscape Communicator:
Back to top.
Blind Carbon Copy
How do I send e-mail without showing a recipient's addresses or name in the e-mail header? Some people don't like to have their e-mail address appear in an e-mail sent to a group of people (some of whom they may not know). Also, a long list of e-mail addresses in the header can make it harder to read the e-mail, and easier for someone to accidentally use "Reply to All" instead of "Reply." To avoid this, you can use BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) instead of TO or CC in the "address to" portion of the e-mail message you send.
Backing up your data.
What do I back up? How do I do this? How often should I back up data? You should regularly back up all of the documents you create: memos, Excel spreadsheets, databases, e-mail - anything you do not want to lose if your computer crashes. You do not have to back up applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. unless you have a specialized application.
To back up data, you copy the data from your hard drive to a storage medium. Floppy disks used to be the standard storage medium, and can still be useful if you just need to take a file or two from machine to machine. However, backing up your machine to floppy disks will almost certainly take many disk, is not always reliable (floppy disks are much more easily damaged, and the damage is usually not spotted until the disk stops working), may prevent you from backing up very large files, and is not an option for those using newer Macintosh computers without floppy disk drives. If you have a CD writer (they are not common on campus) you can follow its instructions to copy your documents to a CD. Backing up to network drives is a common practice on campus and can be arranged with the appropriate systems administrator (a call to the Help Desk at ext. 4357 (574-4357 off campus) is all it takes).
A general rule of thumb is that you should back up as often as you do not want to retype the data that you have entered since the last backup or if you have recently added information that you do not want to lose. This can be either a time-consuming or a simple task depending on your machine and how it is configured. The IT professionals on campus would be glad to assist you with setting up your machine and software so that regular backups are convenient to perform.
Some Rules to Prevent Data Loss:
Spell-Checking Your E-mail
Mustang Express and WNMU's Web Mail have built-in spelling checking. To set up spelling checking in other applications:
WNMU Information Technology
PO Box 680 Silver City, NM 88062
Phone: 575-538-6436 Fax: 575-538-6491