I Am Not Receiving Some Attachments in Microsoft Outlook

By Jane Williams

Missing attachments could be due to Outlook's restrictions.
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If an incoming email indicates an attachment, yet there is none to be found in your Outlook inbox, one of a few things could be happening. The sender may have forgotten to attach it, as happens occasionally, or the problem originates on your end -- Outlook itself, your Internet provider or your network settings could all be stopping incoming attachments before they reach your inbox.

You Shall Not Pass

Outlook has two important limitations in place when it comes to attachments: the file type and its size. To keep viruses and other malware from getting to your computer, Outlook prevents attachments with certain file extensions from reaching your inbox -- most notably, those with EXE, ASP or VBS extensions. Unlike files such as JPGs and DOCs, these types of files can alter the way your computer operates, sometimes in harmful ways. Stopping these files helps lower the possibility that you'll install, accidentally or intentionally, a potentially harmful bit of malware on your system.

Maximum Megabytes

When it comes to incoming emails, size matters. Depending on how large an incoming message is, Outlook -- or even your ISP or computer network -- could stop it before it gets to you. As of publication, Outlook only accepts emails of up to 25MB in size, and this is for the entire message, not just the attachment. So it doesn't matter if an incoming email has one 30MB file or 10 3MB ones, for example. If you have a size limit on your Outlook inbox, you may not receive an attachment if you're getting close to this limit.

Slight Wrong Turn

If you're missing entire emails with attachments that you know were sent, it's possible they were erroneously marked as spam and blocked or filtered to a different folder. Many ISPs automatically divert suspicious emails or those from domains marked as blacklisted to spam folders, or block them completely before they even reach your inbox.

Open the Gates

You can adjust some settings for incoming mail under the Tools menu in Outlook -- click "Options," and then choose "Security and Mail Delivery" -- to change how the program deals with incoming attachments. Contact your ISP or network supervisor to discuss any limitations that may be restricting your incoming mail, and check your spam, junk and bulk folders regularly to make sure nothing takes a wrong turn on its electronic journey. Verify that the sender is not on any blocked lists, and ask him to send a message with no attachment to make sure his emails are coming through properly. If the attachment is too large or is a file type that Outlook doesn't allow, upload the file to a file-sharing site or convert it to a ZIP file.