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Tricks & Tips

Why The Red X In My Emails?

March 17th, 2009
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One customer asked:
“Why is it when I open certain emails, the picture shows up as a blank box with a little red square in the upper left corner?”

photo

Answer
For security, most email applications disable pictures by default.  Instead of seeing the photo, you see a blank white box with the red X (above).  If you trust the sender and want to show the pictures, right click on it and choose Download Pictures.  Or, there may be a link at the top that says “Show Images”.

Other reasons for this could be the sender didn’t attach the picture correctly or the linked photo isn’t valid or online.

Want to permanently allow images?
Try adding the sender to your address book.  Often this tells your email program you trust the sender.  Or to allow ALL images, follow the instructions for your email program:

  • Outlook 2003:  Tools -> Options -> Security -> Change Automatic Download Settings -> Uncheck “Don’t download pictures or other content automatically in HTML email.”
  • Outlook 2007:  Tools -> Trust Center -> Automatic Download -> Uncheck “Don’t download pictures…”
  • Outlook Express:  Tools -> Options -> Security tab -> Uncheck “Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail”

Why? ( technical )
Images in emails can expose many extra details about you.  By requesting the image, one can determine that you did open their email.  They could also record details such as your IP address (almost your physical location).  Typically this is harmless for statistical reasons only.  However, think about opening images in a spam message – you just told the spammer that you check and read your email!


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