Subscriber Mike G. wrote about a Microsoft Outlook problem he was having:
I am using Outlook and have it set to ask me before downloading pictures.
When I go to the highlighted notification line at the top of the email and select Download pictures, the notifier goes away, but nothing downloads and the space for them is still just a space.
If I quit Outlook and re-start it, there are no pictures and no option to download them.
I wrote to Mike to ask if the problem happening in all cases, or just in a few.
I had a problem with my newsletter last week when my webhost implemented some new "anti-leeching" code that blocked my header from showing up in multiple email programs. The intent was to block the "leeches" who, on their own web sites, directly load images from someone else’s web site — using the other party’s bandwidth as well as unfairly using the pictures from the other site.
Their new code did more than they intended, and even blocked loading images after the function was officially turned off in my web host account.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one with a problem — but it’s fixed now — and my email header from last week now loads in my Outlook copy. They wouldn’t show up last week when I clicked the button to load the content. Now, they showed up automatically, since I clicked the button last week.
In other words, it’s not necessarily YOUR configuration problem when there’s a configuration problem.
If it is your problem, I don’t know what it would be, unless your firewall has been configured to block images. Or, your firewall could be set to block the source of the images.
I also reminded Mike that he left out some pertinent details that would help with problem solving:
- what version of Outlook he’s using
- whether this was home or office problem (not normally pertinent, but office IT guys have a lot more options that they sometimes use in blocking stuff)
- what version of Windows you’re using.
It is intermittent in that it does not do it every time I boot up. However, once it starts, it never changes back. Lately it has been doing it for about the last 12 times I have booted / started up the computer.
It is the Office 2007 version of Outlook, running on Windows 7.
It is at home, so others do not force me to run added stuff.
I can’t find an “about” screen for outlook that tells me all the stuff on it like which version, patch, build and so on.
I wrote to Mike to say that I was looking for a pattern in the messages, if there is one.
I wanted to know if he was talking about problems occurring with the same message, or with all mesages from a specific sender or a couple senders, or if all messages with image links have this problem.
Mike wrote back again to report that it was that worst of all problems — the intermittent problem.
When the problem occurs, it is all message with picture links.
I have not been able to figure out any commonality, except for failure.
Right now, they appear to download pictures. Yesterday it did not.
A constant problem is relatively easy to find, you just keep trying other things. An intermitten problem, though, is a real pain because you don’t know if you solved it, or if the problem just stopped for a while.
Most intermittent problems are hardware, but I don’t see how Mike’s problem could be coming from his hardware. I’m back to thinking its something upstream in his Internet connection.