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flopcat98, Consultant
Category: Email
Satisfied Customers: 9077
Experience:  Consultant 30 years in nyc computer industry working with PC and networks banks brokerage legal etc.
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We get emails in outlook that are not readable see below.

Customer Question

we get emails in outlook that are not readable see below. when we go to gmail we can read them. there are usually images in the email when this happens. we are using windows 7 and Outlook 2003.
here is an example of what the email looks like in outlook.
Received: by with SMTP id n1csp87530lfb;
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 18:13:30 -0700 (PDT)
X-Received: by with SMTP id l4mr3546622ioa.185.1466039610739;
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 18:13:30 -0700 (PDT)
Received: from ( [2607:f8b0:4001:c06::235])
by with ESMTPS id d75si2314764ioj.98.2016.
(version=TLS1_2 cipher=ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256 bits=128/128);
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 18:13:30 -0700 (PDT)
Received-SPF: pass ( domain of***@******.*** designates 2607:f8b0:4001:c06::235 as permitted sender) client-ip=2607:f8b0:4001:c06::235;
dkim=pass [email protected];
spf=pass ( domain of***@******.*** designates 2607:f8b0:4001:c06::235 as permitted sender) smtp.mailfrom=*****@******.***;
dmarc=pass (p=NONE dis=NONE)
Received: by with SMTP id t74so29208760ioi.0
for ; Wed, 15 Jun 2016 18:13:30 -0700 (PDT)
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed;; s=20120113;
X-Google-DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed;; s=20130820;
X-Gm-Message-State: ALyK8tJUcLWx1UwYXdQ6uspMVwbMJeACDp/XDnq7vnLEGxL5xr0Iw8HyIbWqM/bWU14JsiN1jhK/IZIt9LvT3w==
X-Received: by with SMTP id k189mr3665433iok.176.1466039609817;
Wed, 15 Jun 2016 18:13:29 -0700 (PDT)
MIME-Version: 1.0
Received: by with HTTP; Wed, 15 Jun 2016 18:12:50 -0700 (PDT)
From: Milton Balsam
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2016 21:12:50 -0400
Subject: Fwd: Mazal tov
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary=001a1140ebaa2c4a3905355af2d8
X-Antivirus: avast! (VPS 160615-1, 06/15/2016), Inbound message
X-Antivirus-Status: Clean
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=001a1140ebaa2c4a3505355af2d6
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brenda
Date: Wed, Jun 15, 2016 at 8:28 PM
Subject: Mazal tov
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

---------- Forwarded messag=
e ----------
From: Brenda <[email protected]=

Date: Wed, Jun 15, 2016 at 8:28 PM
Subject: =
Mazal tov
To: *****@******.***=

Content-Type: image/jpeg; name="FullSizeRender.jpg";
Content-Disposition: attachment; filename="FullSizeRender.jpg"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64
X-Attachment-Id: e073ab1f307b6c6b_0.1
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Email
Expert:  Eric Ewing replied 1 year ago.

Hi Isaac! Let's check first just to make sure Outlook is not configured to download all email in plain text.

  • Click the File tab.
  • Click Options.
  • Click Trust Center, and then click Trust Center Settings.
  • Click Email Security.
  • Under Read as Plain Text, make sure the "Read all standard mail in plain text" check box is not checked.

Once you've checked that out, kindly let me know what you've found!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
it is not checked. btw we are using outlook 2003 and the instructions you gave are probably for a later version. but i found this setting anyway. :-)
Expert:  Eric Ewing replied 1 year ago.

My apologies! I misread your initial problem description and thought this was Outlook 2013. I am on the same page with you now.

By chance, do you use AVG antivirus?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
no use asvast
Expert:  Eric Ewing replied 1 year ago.

Got it. Let's see what might be interfering with receipt of your message.

Please navigate to “Tools->Options->Other->Advanced Options->Add-ins Manager…” and kindly let me know which, if any, add-ins are currently enabled.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
34;exchange extensions property pages" am going out for about half an hour
Expert:  Eric Ewing replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the information, and no problem. At your convenience, please come back to, and we'll continue troubleshooting with you!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
didn't leave. available now.
Expert:  Eric Ewing replied 1 year ago.

Let's start Outlook in Safe Mode and see if it fixes the problem for new incoming messages (note that already-downloaded messages will not change). To do this, click START and then type outlook.exe /safe into the search box. This should open Outlook where you can check for new messages. Please let me know if it makes any difference; if so, we'll work to track down exactly what's causing the problem.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
will do but fyi in the meantime I went into gmail (where we can read the message normally) and forwarded it to myself. we are now able in outlook regular mode to see the picture which is actually coming in as an attachment. I think the problem we are having is with some emails which have attachments and the attachments are not coming in and instead we get all the gibberish. this happens with some email addresses whenever we get email from them. But again in gmail everything is normal.
Expert:  Eric Ewing replied 1 year ago.

Yes, I believe you're correct -- and due to some of the encoded information (specfically "X-Antivirus: avast! (VPS 160615-1, 06/15/2016), Inbound message X-Antivirus-Status: Clean") -- I'm thinking Avast is intercepting the messages as they arrive in Outlook and transcoding them all to plain text. That's why I was curious if Safe Mode would get around the issue, because it would load Outlook w/o the Avast plug-ins and we could confirm or rule out Avast as the problem.

AVG experienced a similar issue not too long ago, which is why I asked if that was the antivirus you were using. I'm not aware of such problems with Avast, but it definitely seems to be a local PC problem which indicates there is something tied into Outlook that has become problematic.

Do try out Outlook in Safe Mode when you can, and let me know what you find!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
cannot start in safe mode using your instructions. I have to first type run in search box to do this but it seems to want a path where program can be found.
Expert:  Eric Ewing replied 1 year ago.

Okay, let's try another method. Please press and hold down the CTRL key while you double-click to open Outlook.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok got it opened in safe mode .t received another email from the same person as before this time again not readable properly in Outlook safe, but when I read it in gmail it's fine. It is not an attachment but has pictures in the body of the email. Can I forward these to you via email so you can see what I mean?
Expert:  Eric Ewing replied 1 year ago.

Sure! My email address is***@******.***.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
sent you two emails. tx
Expert:  Bhavik Joshi replied 1 year ago.

Hi , I can help you out in it. Can you check and see if you can view all the letters in MS word ? To confirm if entire MS office is having a problem or just outlook.

Expert:  Bhavik Joshi replied 1 year ago.

I think you need to do this as shown in image below. Let me know if that works :)

Expert:  Bhavik Joshi replied 1 year ago.

Did this help ?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
we are using outlook 2003. the diagram you sent refers to a later version of outlook. need instructions for 2003.
Expert:  Bhavik Joshi replied 1 year ago.

In outlook 2003 please follow this instruction :- Open the message (double click)-> Actions-> Other Actions-> Encoding

Expert:  Bhavik Joshi replied 1 year ago.

If above workaround doesn't work then try this and restart you outlook :-

-Open outlook
-open tools
-open options
-open mail format
-under "comose in message formate choose" HTML

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
cannot access encoding in actions. It is avaalable in format but it does not let me go into encoding. it is grayed out. I checked the mail format and it is already composing in HTML. Anyway I don't know what composing has to do with this problem which is happending to incoming mail not out going mail. I
Expert:  Bhavik Joshi replied 1 year ago.

Can you try updating your outlook ?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
no cannot update outlook. think i will just start using gmail directly. that will solve this issue. thank you for your help.
Expert:  Bhavik Joshi replied 1 year ago.

Alright. Thank you ! Have a great day ahead.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
you too.
Expert:  flopcat98 replied 1 year ago.

are these messages perhaps coming from aol addresses ?

there was an old known problem with aol sending attachments to older versions of outlook where it would use its own compression which outlook could not uncompress. the only solution was to ask the sender to send to you in plain text format

or at this point to upgrade the outlook.