Senior Computer Tutor
Red X Where a Picture
A reader wrote that he sometimes receives emails that show a white box with a red
X where a picture is supposed to be.
Is Supposed to Be
There can be many reasons for this; here are the main ones:
Viruses are often sent as email attachments — so many ISPs
(Internet Service Providers) block all attachments, and require you to click on something
that says it's OK to accept them. If the suspicious attachment is a picture the white box and red
X will appear instead.
Outlook Express and Windows Live Mail have default settings that block email attachments from being opened
or downloaded. In OE by they can be overridden by clicking on Tools>Options>Security,
and deselecting "Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened that could potentially be a virus."
To find these choices in WLM, click on the "File" down-arrow, followed by clicking
If the email is one of those cute greeting cards or inspirational messages that has an animated graphic with
each paragraph, it was professionally prepared as an HTML document that should look the same to anyone
who receives it.
However, not all email programs are completely compatible with all others, and each has a different way
of handling pictures — especially when it comes to forwarding. If you are an Outlook Express user,
and click your Forward button to send the letter on to other OE users, there's a good chance the pictures will arrive intact. When forwarding the same letter to users of other services, however, the pictures may or may not arrive intact.
Instead of clicking your Forward button,
use Edit>Select All to highlight the entire contents of the letter and then use
Edit>Copy to copy everything, followed by using Edit>Paste
to paste the contents into a new, blank outgoing email. This procedure makes images more likely to arrive problem-free.
Outlook Express users should also click on Format>Send Picture with Message.
If the pictures you are sending are not an integral part of a message (as in a greeting card) it's better
to send them as an attachment. Outlook Express offers both an Insert>Picture and an Attach option.
If you choose Insert, the picture will arrive positioned inside the message. If you choose Attach,
the picture will not only arrive as an attachment, it will also show up inside the text message
(at least, when received by another Outlook Express user).
The more modern way to share photos is to upload them to a free service such as
Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa or Facebook, and then invite friends and family to view the pictures and to
download the ones they like. Letting folks choose the ones they prefer is much more cyber-friendly than
filling up their inboxes with photos in which they may have no interest.
Regarding free services, Facebook now has an app that lets members automatically upload every shot they take —
even those taken unintentionally. I think this is going too far, and I won't be using that app.
Another thing that can cause enclosed or attached pictures to be dropped along the way is the file size
limitation of the recipient's ISP. However, this has become less of a problem since most web-based email
services now give you at least 2 megabytes of free storage space.
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