IUG Internet Top Tip #7 .... Dealing with Attachments When Using AOL

When following these instructions PLEASE REMEMBER that ALL attachments must be viewed with extreme caution. Do NOT open an attachment until you are reassured that it is "safe" - ie. is not a virus.

To view a file attached to e-mail, AOL users must download it. Click the Download Now button at the bottom of your Mail screen. When the Download Manager window appears, click the down arrow on the right of the Save In box to direct it to the Desktop or to a folder of your choice. In Windows, if you do not tell AOL differently, it will save attachments in C:\*Your AOL version#*\Download .

When you open email with attachments in AOL, you'll find three buttons at the bottom of the window: Download Now, Download Later, or Delete. If you download the files and then can't find them on your hard drive, go to My Files, Download Manager, Show Files Downloaded.

If the files you've downloaded have the extension .mme, .uue, or .hqx, AOL will not open them automatically. If you want to open any files of these types, you can download a freeware program from the the Aladdin Systems website called Aladdin Expander for Windows. It'll do the job.

About MIME

MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) is a specification, or a set of guidelines, that software must use in order to work with other software. When you send an attachment with an e-mail message from AOL to someone over the Internet, MIME helps ensure that the recipient gets your attachment in a readable format — whether it's graphics, sounds, or whatever you choose to send.

On AOL, all you do is click Attach on your e-mail form, and the AOL software automatically does the rest. Likewise, when you receive a MIME-encoded attached file from an Internet address, the AOL software will decode the file for you — invisibly and automatically. The AOL software is what is known as MIME-compliant. As long as your correspondents also have e-mail software that is MIME-compliant (and most e-mail software is), you can swap files.

Occasionally, you might need to decode a MIME file yourself. You'll need a MIME decoder if you receive an e-mail attachment and the file name ends in .mme or .mim. You can download a mime decoder at Keyword: Filesearch.