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Opening attachments in Hotmail is easy - if Hotmail lets you. If Hotmail doesn't support the attachment type, Hotmail won't open the attachment. Period.
I am unable to open my Hotmail attachments. I am able to open attachments on other email services such as Yahoo, but not Hotmail. Why? (I hope your answer doesn't require me to open an attachment!)
This article has been updated. See:|
"Windows Live Hotmail has blocked some attachments ..." - how do I get around that?
Nope, no attachment's required.
The "why" is easy. Hotmail is attempting to protect you.
What to do about it, is less obvious, and a lot more cumbersome.
As we all know by now, viruses and other forms of malware are frequently transmitted by email in the form of attachments.
The problem is that no matter how many times people are told "don't open attachments from untrusted sources" they do so anyway. Or they trust sources that they shouldn't.
It's what some people call the Dancing Bunnies problem; send people an email that promises them dancing bunnies if they open the attachment, and darn it, a bunch of them are going to open that attachment no matter where it came from.
So, Hotmail "solves" this problem by disallowing many types of attachments. If you get an email with attachments that Hotmail does not support, you get this message:
Hotmail has permanently blocked the following potentially unsafe attachment(s)
Note the magical word permanently - you can't open that attachment in Hotmail. Period.
And if you follow through and click on the "More Info..." link next to that warning message, Hotmail's online help is quite explicit:
Hotmail doesn't support all file types. If you send an attachment that Hotmail doesn't support, the e-mail recipient wont be able to download or open the attachment.
I'm assuming that "send" should be "receive" because you most definitely can send attachments from a Hotmail account, no matter what type, as we'll see in a second.
There are two solutions, neither of them pretty:
Have the sender send the attachment again, with a different name, or as a compressed file. ".zip" files are fine. ".exe" files are not. So if your sender creates a .zip archive of the .exe file that he's trying to send you, that you can save, and then decompress back into it's original form and name.
Heck, just renaming the file is enough. Have the sender rename the .exe file into a .txt file and send that as an attachment. You'll be able to download it, and then rename it back to a .exe.
Forward the attachment to a non-Hotmail account. Hotmail doesn't mention this approach, but sure enough, even though you can't open the unsupported attachments, you can forward them to a different account on a different service. If that service allows you to open the attachment, you've got it.
Hotmail's goal here is, obviously, to make it difficult to open malware in attachments by accident. You have to take steps of some sort; you have to think about it.
If you go through those steps, and you still get infected? Well, it was your own doing.