Feb 26

Handling Winmail.dat

It’s usual a vital email. You are usually in a hurry. You need to deal with the contents of this important email right now.
But it’s blank.
The only content is an attachment entitled Winmail.dat.
So what is it and why is it happening?
And more importantly, what can you do about it?
Firstly, and this is an important point, it is not happening because you are using a mac. This issue affects Windows users as well.
The Winmail.dat file occurs when the sender is using (usually) an older copy of Outlook on Windows and they are trying to send an email in HTML format. Apple mail, and other mail readers, only read and send in plain text (boring looking emails) or rich text (better looking emails. ) to ensure that the mail message is compatible with as many readers and operating systems as possible. In fact most mail programs (Windows and Mac alike) take this view. But the winmail.dat issue occurs when the senders application doesn’t get it quite right.
So anyway, enough about that, what can you do about it?
The most immediate answer is to ask the person at the other send to stop sending HTML formatted emails but if you can’t or don’t want to do that then you need to invest in software that will open the .dat file quickly and easily.

By far the best solution is Letter Opener from Creative.
This is a cheap plug in for Apple Mail that installs in seconds and it will change the .dat file to an .eml file. You just double click on it and voila you see the email as it should have arrived.
The installer has a 15 day trial and what is even better is that the same company offer an iPhone/iPad version as well.

Once installed that Windmail.dat file that refuses to open looks like a regular attachment and when you double click on it opens like a regular email.

Permanent link to this article: http://macservicesact.com.au/handling-winmail-dat/

1 comment

    • Alan on March 3, 2014 at 11:53 AM
    • Reply

    Dear Renny,
    Another great post…this Winmail.dat issue has bugged me for years…now I know why…

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