Outlook corrupts HTML to text for some readers

Dennis o'reilly By Dennis O’Reilly

If you’re unable to view the newsletter in HTML format, a fix is in the works.

We’ve received reports from a handful of readers that Microsoft Outlook has spontaneously converted our HTML content into an unreadable form of plain text, and we’re on the trail of a solution.

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That was the case last week as we heard from several people who suddenly were unable to view the Windows Secrets newsletter in HTML format. For some reason, Microsoft Outlook displayed the file as plain text.

While you can view the newsletter properly formatted at WindowsSecrets.com, that’s a far cry from being able to read it in your e-mail program as intended. Jim Ollerhead’s e-mail was representative of the half-dozen or so comments we received from readers experiencing this problem.
  • “The last few editions of the newsletter have been plain text and very difficult to read. I have looked on the Web site but cannot find an option to rectify this. My Outlook setup resolves HTML from other senders with no problem, so I don’t think it’s the config of my Outlook settings.

    “Do you have any suggestions?”
While the problem has affected only a small number of subscribers, it is a matter we take very seriously. Our crack IT team — comprising Tony Johnston and Damian Wadley — is working on a solution.

There are two things you can do to help ensure that the HTML version of our newsletter isn’t garbled by Outlook. First, add our From address to your e-mail program’s Address Book. Second, enter our From address into any “safe senders” list your e-mail program uses. Our address is shown in the image below:

Email address

To add our address to your list of approved senders in Outlook, click Tools, Options, Junk E-mail Options, Safe Senders, Add. In the Add dialog box, enter our address and click OK three times.

Please let us know if you’re experiencing problems with viewing the newsletter correctly or with the tools on our site for subscribing or renewing an existing subscription to the paid version of the newsletter.

Our antivirus choice doesn’t please everyone

In last week’s Best Software column, Scott Spanbauer recommended Avira’s free AntiVir Personal antivirus software over Grisoft’s AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition and Alwil’s Avast! Antivirus Home Edition, which is also available gratis.

Unfortunately, Scott’s choice didn’t please reader Phil Daniels.
  • “I recently switched to Avira free. I find it quite obtrusive: a splash window when it starts, progress windows when it’s downloading or scanning that can’t be minimized, a large invitation to upgrade when it finishes a download or scan.

    “I assume the payware version is quieter.”
Our software reviews consider the pushiness of freeware in determining the program’s overall rating. The organizations that offer free software walk a thin line between encouraging people to upgrade to the paid versions of their programs and being so intrusive that people choose a less-annoying alternative.

A request to tone down the wacky videos

Also meeting with some displeasure was our June 26 choice for Wacky Web Week, a video parody that Marv Plementosh found too graphic.
  • “In the most recent newsletter you sent out, I found a link to a video that in my opinion was completely tasteless and not appropriate. You guys can do way better if you want to include some joke or funny video.

    “At the very least, you could have prefaced it with a warning. I just can’t really explain to you how much I am disappointed in Windows Secrets. We all make mistakes. I am not unsubscribing, at least not yet. Please think about your whole readership.”
The video — “Max Beer,” a spoof of beer commercials — admittedly dealt with a popular subject in a racy way, but showed nothing that’s even R-rated. We’ll try to indicate more clearly in the future when a particular wacky item might offend some readers, however.

If there’s anything else about Windows Secrets that you believe needs to be improved, please let us know about it. We’re striving to provide Windows users with the best information for keeping their PCs running smoothly. If there’s an area you’d like us to cover or a product you think we should review, please drop us a line via our contact page.

Readers Jim, Phil, and Marv will each receive a gift certificate for a book, CD, or DVD of their choice for sending tips we printed. Send us your tips via the Windows Secrets contact page.

The Known Issues column brings you readers’ comments on our recent articles. Dennis O’Reilly is technical editor of WindowsSecrets.com.
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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2008-07-03: