TNEF's Enough Common Questions

Q: I dont' see any files in the window. What gives?

A TNEF file is a whole email message regardless of it containing attached files. This is quite normal.

Q: Why are some of the fields blank?

Understanding TNEF files has traditionally come through reverse-engineering what Microsoft has done. It's not easy and not alway accurate. Sometimes specific versions of Microsoft Exchange do things that aren't captured when reverse engineering. The highest priority is on getting embedded files out. Some of the other information (i.e. message body) may not show up.

Q: All I see is this window? What does it mean?

I've seen a few instances where this happens. I'm not sure what happened on the senders side but this is a legitimate TNEF file even though it contains no data.

Q: TNEF's Enough won't open or crashes. What gives?

No one's perfect. If you have a problem with a specific file and are able to send me a copy that would greatly help crashing problems. Letting me know what version of Mac OS X you have is also very helpful.

Because all the work with TNEF's Enough happens in my spare time, my ability to address problems fluctuates and I may not be able to answer you right away.

Q: I run Windows, is there a TNEF application for me?

I haven't tried any of them, but there are several applications listed on the Wikipedia page.

Q: What is the deal with winmail.dat files anyway?

The files are usually received by SMTP based e-mail programs from Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook users. The SMTP based e-mail program will usually either receive a MIME attachment named "winmail.dat" or a MIME attachment with the type "application/ms-tnef."

The file is a rich text (or MAPI) message that is sent from Outlook to Exchange. When Exchange sends the message to an outside server it writes the MAPI message as a MIME attachment. The unfortunate side effect of this plan is that if the Outlook user has someone in their address book as a person who can receive "Rich Text" then the user will receive the TNEF file whether the user uses Outlook or not.

Q: Why would there be a problem or error opening a file?

If you open a file with TNEF's Enough and receive an error the reason could be one of many. The most obvious is that the file is not a TNEF file.

Another possibility is that the file is a TNEF file but is currently encoded in another format. For example, if someone received an e-mail with a TNEF file and forwarded it to you and your e-mail program did not decode the encoding used by the sender's e-mail program then the TNEF file could still be encoded. There is no easy way to figure out if your file is encoded in another encoding format.

The last possibility is that the TNEF file is damaged. If the file is sent through an e-mail system or received by an e-mail program that doesn't now how to deal with these files than the file can become corrupt and TNEF's Enough will not be able to open it. If this is the case then there is nothing that TNEF's Enough can do to recover the embedded files.

Q: What's with the source code?

TNEF's Enough 3.0 and later are made possible by an open source library called libytnef. The library is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). This license states that those making use of the GPL code must release the source of their software. So, TNEF's Enough 3.0 and later are released under the GPL license and the source code is available for each version.