NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, March 2007
The Big Red X
Written by Vinny La Bash,
a member of the Sarasota PCUG, Florida

labash@spcug.org (click to email author)

Email, along with the spreadsheet, is one of the greatest computer applications ever developed. Along with its usefulness are a few minor, but irritating inconveniences. The one we’ll address in this article is the frustration with observing a red X where an image should appear.

There are several possible causes for pictures failing to materialize. They are not particularly difficult to correct, but the method is far from obvious. Start by right-clicking the red X and from the popup menu select “Show Picture”. If this works, consider yourself blessed. More likely is that either your email setup is not allowing the picture to be viewed or the sender’s options are not allowing the picture to be sent. Let’s make sure that your setup isn’t causing the problem, and then we’ll figure out what to do with the sender.

If the problem is at your end, it could be caused by having Internet Explorer’s email settings too restrictive. To reset the default settings for Internet Explorer 6.0 open Internet Explorer, click Tools from the top menu bar, and select Internet Options.

    1. Click on the General tab to make sure it’s active.
    2. Click Delete Files.
    3. Check Delete All Offline Content, and click OK.
    4. Click the Delete Cookies button, and click OK.
    5. Click the Settings button.
    6. Set cache to 25 MB or less, and select Every Visit to Page, then click OK.

Next, make the Security tab active by clicking on it. There are four zones listed on the security tab: Internet, Local Intranet, Trusted Sites, and Restricted Sites.

    1. Click Internet.
    2. Click the Default Level button.
    3. Repeat the steps for each of the remaining zones.

Third, click on the Privacy tab, and click the Default button. If the Default button is grayed out, ignore this step. Now click the Connections tab.

    1. Click the LAN Settings button.
    2. Make sure nothing is checked, and click OK.

Last, click on the Advanced tab.

    1. Click Restore Defaults.
    2. Click Apply and OK.

Internet Explorer 7 is similar, but there are enough differences to warrant its own set of instructions. Open Internet Explorer, click Tools, and select Internet Options.

First, look at the General tab.

    1. Click the Delete button.
    2. The Delete Browsing History dialog box appears. Click the Delete Files button.
    3. Select Yes in the confirmation box.
    4. Repeat step 2 for the Delete cookies, and Delete history buttons.
    5. Click Close.
    6. Click the Settings button in the Browsing history section.
    7. Select "Every time I visit the webpage," then set the "Disk space to use" value to 50 Megabytes or less.
    8. Click OK.

Next, click the Security tab. There are four zones listed on the security tab: Internet, Local Intranet, Trusted Sites, and Restricted Sites.

    1. If the Set all zones to default level button is not grayed, out click it and you’re done with this section. Otherwise continue with step 2.
    2. Click Internet.
    3. Click the Default level button (if it is not grayed out).
    4. Repeat the steps for the remaining zones.

Click on the Privacy tab, and click the Default button unless it’s grayed out. Then click the Connections tab.

    1. Click the LAN settings button to activate another dialog box.
    2. Make sure nothing is checked, and click OK.

Finally, click on the Advanced tab.

    1. Click the Restore advanced settings button. Don’t, repeat don’t click the Reset button as that will delete any forms and passwords saved through auto-complete.
    2. Click Apply and OK.

That takes care of your browser. If you’re using Outlook or Outlook Express, you need to check several more options that control how images are received or sent. There are two ways to send pictures in Emails. You can imbed the picture in the email or you can send the picture as an attachment. Whichever way you choose, you need to set your email client so it can handle pictures, and you do that by setting your email to work in HTML format. We’ll start with Outlook Express and finish up with Outlook.

We’ll make a big assumption that all of your recipients are set up to receive their Email in HTML format. You need to make sure that you have Outlook Express set up to send Email in HTML. Service Pack 2 should be installed on your system. Because of its extra security features, you need to avoid blocking attachments when you send or receive email.

    1. Open Outlook Express, go to the Tools/menu, and click "Options",
    2. Click the "Send" tab, and then select "HTML" as the format to send mail.
    3. Click the Button to the right that's named "HTML Settings", and put a check in the box that says "Send Pictures with Messages". Be sure that "Quoted Printable" is the selected in the "Encode text using" box.
    4. Click OK.
    5. Click the Read tab.
    6. Confirm that the “Read all messages in plain text” is not checked.

Your machine is now setup to correctly send and receive images. If people who are receiving your email complain about red Xs, send them these instructions. If you want to check out your system, try sending some emails to yourself.

If you’re using Outlook, perform the following check.

    1. Open Outlook and select Options from the Tools menu.
    2. Select the Mail Format tab.
    3. In the “Message format” section select HTML from the drop down menu.
    4. Click the Internet Format button
    5. In the HTML options section, confirm there is no checkmark in any of the boxes in the dialog box.
    6. In the Outlook Rich Text options section, select “Convert to HTML format” from the drop down menu.
    7. Click OK to save the settings.
    8. Click OK to exit.

Other possibilities that could prevent pictures being displayed in your email are your anti-virus and firewall settings. You may need to relax the security settings on these programs. We can’t provide instructions for this because we don’t know whose software you’re using. You may need to contact the producer of the software for information.

If you create and send an email with a photo image or forward an email with a photo in it and the recipient gets a red X instead of the picture, you can be fairly confident that their email, firewall or anti-virus setup is preventing the picture from being seen. Send these instructions to them.

This article may be published only by APCUG member user groups. All other uses are prohibited. When used, APCUG must be acknowledged as the source and the author credited. The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an international organization of which this group is a member, brings this article to you.

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