Ask Dr. Webbie
Is there an Internet question you'd like to see answered in a future edition of Website Compass? E-mail your question to DrWebbie@WebsiteCompass.com.
To assist him in answering your question as specifically as possible, be sure to include the following: the name of the browser you are using (i.e. Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0, Firefox 1.0, etc.), the name of the e-mail software you are using (i.e. Microsoft Outlook Express 5.5, OS 10.3 Mail, etc.), and the version of your system software (i.e. Windows 98, Windows XP, etc.)
Q. The e-mail messages I receive don’t show graphics any longer. I always have to click on a link below the message’s header for the graphic to load. How can I change the default on my incoming e-mail messages so that the graphics ALWAYS automatically appear? I use Outlook Express 6.0 and Windows XP Home Edition.
A. Microsoft began changing the default setting on incoming e-mail in 2004 to prevent images from automatically loading when users opened e-mail messages. Hackers were exploiting vulnerabilities in Outlook and Outlook Express by embedding graphics with malware that attacked computers. Now by default, incoming messages are received in text only. If you want to have graphics always automatically appear within received messages as a default setting, follow the steps below. However, remember 1) to make sure the sender is someone you trust, 2) that you stay current with the latest Microsoft security patches, and 3) that your anti-virus and anti-spyware software is up-to-date and running. After all, Microsoft changed its default settings for important safety reasons.
1. With Outlook Express open, click your cursor arrow on “Tools” located on the menu bar and select “Options” from the drop-down menu.
2. Select the “Security” tab.
3. Halfway down you will see “Download Images” and the box should be checked next to “Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail.” By un-checking this box, the blocking feature will be disabled and will allow all future images/graphics to be seen in e-mail messages.
4. Click on the “Apply” button and then “OK.”
5. To switch back to blocking images, check the “Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail” in the “Download Images” section of the “Security” tab. Click on the “Apply” button and then “OK.”
Q: I receive a monthly electronic Newsletter from my Internet Service Provider and it includes graphics in the masthead and sometimes within other sections of the newsletter. Often times I cannot see the graphics in the newsletter even after clicking on the link to allow pictures to appear. The problem is sporadic. What am I doing wrong? I have a dial-up connection and use Outlook Express 6.0 and Windows XP Home Edition.
A: First, make sure you are dialed-up and connected to the Internet. Simply having Outlook Express open doesn’t necessarily mean you are connected to the Internet. Once you determine that you are connected, the problem may be that you are “working offline” when viewing the eNewsletters. The graphics for the electronic Newsletter probably sit on a remote server and are only loaded into your eNewsletter when 1) you click to download the graphics and 2) are working online (connected to the Internet) instead of working offline (disconnected from the Internet). The pictures cannot load if you are viewing the eNewsletter while you’re not online. To make sure you are online, look for the “online status icon” located toward the bottom of your Outlook Express window. (The icon looks like a computer with a cable running beneath it.) It will indicate whether you are working online or offline. If the icon shows that you are working offline and you’d like to be able to see the graphics within the eNewsletter, click your cursor arrow on “File” located on the menu bar. In the resulting drop-down menu, there will be a check mark next to “Working Offline.” Select “Working Offline” and the check mark will disappear. You are now back online and should be able to see the graphic once you click on the link to allow pictures to appear. Repeat the same procedure to make the check mark reappear to take you back offline.