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Exchanging Mac attachments

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Q. Our company just upgraded our Microsoft Exchange server and I can no longer send attachments. If I attach a jpeg it arrives as zero K in size unless I sending in a zip file. Is there a workaround?

A. The Internet deals best with ASCII text files. However many of the files we deal with regularly are also binary files. When a binary file is transferred on the Internet via an email program or via FTP transfer , the file may become corrupt. As a result the files should be “encoded” into a text format before they are transferred.

When you create a “zip” archive or use stuffit “.sit” or Apple’s disk image “.dmg” you are in fact storing the file into a format that will survive transfer on the Internet. When you attach a file in an email client it will normally encode the files based on a default set up.

I recommend that all users of Microsoft email clients set the default attachments to “Windows base64/MIME” format. Apple Mail users can choose “Windows Friendly Attachments”. This is an encoding that all Windows machines understand. Windows computers comprise about 80% of all computers so conforming doesn’t affect Mac users that much. In the case of the Exchange Server the base64 formatted files will remain intact.

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On October 16, 2007
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