Article ID: 843018 - View products that this article applies to.
Important This article contains information that shows you how to help lower security settings or how to turn off security features on a computer. You can make these changes to work around a specific problem. Before you make these changes, we recommend that you evaluate the risks that are associated with implementing this workaround in your particular environment. If you implement this workaround, take any appropriate additional steps to help protect your system.
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Symptoms

When you open an e-mail message in Microsoft Outlook Express on a computer that is running Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), the areas in the e-mail message that are supposed to contain images are blocked. These areas display a red X placeholder. Additionally, you are prompted with the following message just above the content window of the e-mail message:
Some pictures have been blocked to help prevent the sender from identifying your computer. Click here to download pictures.

Cause

This behavior occurs because of the new Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail security option. By default, this option is turned on in Outlook Express after you install Windows XP SP2.

This option helps you avoid viewing potentially offensive material, enables you to decide which images that you want to download, and helps reduce the junk e-mail messages that you receive. We recommend that you leave this option turn on and that you download images for trusted messages only. To do this, click the Infobar to download the images for each message. The Infobar is the banner that is near the top of a trusted e-mail message.

Workaround

To work around this behavior, turn off the Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail option.

How to enable Internet images in Outlook Express

To manually work around this behavior, turn off the Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail option. To do this, follow these steps.

Warning The Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail option is a security feature that has been included in Windows XP SP2 to protect your computer against junk e-mail (spam). We recommend that you do not turn off this option.
  1. Click Start, point to Programs, and then click Outlook Express.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Security tab.
  3. Click to clear the Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail check box.
  4. Click OK.

More information

By default, Outlook Express blocks all HTML content that is referenced by an external location. Many spam senders include an image URL in their e-mail messages. The image URL notifies the spam sender's Web server when you open or preview the message. This kind of image URL is also known as a Web beacon. The following is a sample Web beacon:
<img src=http://myserver/cgi-bin/program?e=your-e-mail-address-here>
If you preview or open an e-mail message that contains this kind of an image reference, you may make your computer a target for more spam.

To prevent this kind of Web beacon, where an HTML e-mail message contains references such as links and banners to an external URL, the Outlook Express HTML viewer does not automatically render the external content. Instead, when you open the e-mail message, the areas in the message that typically contain embedded images instead display a red X placeholder.

To download external content for an individual e-mail message so that you can view the blocked images, click the embedded hyperlink in the following text, just above the content window in the e-mail message:
Some pictures have been blocked to help prevent the sender from identifying your computer. Click here to download pictures.

References

For more information about how Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 blocks external HTML content, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
831608 How to use the Automatic Picture Download Setting feature to determine how Outlook 2003 blocks external HTML content

Properties

Article ID: 843018 - Last Review: December 27, 2013 - Revision: 5.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Outlook Express 6.0
Keywords: 
kbhowto kbdialup kbnetwork kbsecurity kbconfig kbemail kbprb KB843018

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