Make Sure Windows Mail Does Not Split Emails

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The Mysterious Transformation of One Pretty Message into Many Ugly

When you send an innocent email (with a few photos attached maybe) and, instead of "you look good next to that cactus", get back a furious note that complains about 67 strange messages containing just odd numbers and strange letters arranged in seemingly random order, you are rightly puzzled.

Often, the answer and the solution are simple. Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail and Outlook Express can split large files into smaller pieces, to be re-assembled at the receiving end. The function is a bit of a remnant from earlier Internet days (though still useful for Usenet newsgroups), and of course, the re-assembling never happens. The result is many small messages showing the attached files in an encoded form. The messages will also have "{file name} [2/45]" or something similar in the subject.

It is usually best to turn off this breaking apart of large messages. Don't worry about normal attachments, and if you need to send larger files — say, 60 MB or maybe a few hundred — you can turn to a service designed for that purpose.

Make Sure Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail or Outlook Express Does Not Break Emails into Tiny Pieces

To prevent Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail or Outlook Express from splitting emails into tiny pieces:

  • ›› Step by Step Screenshot Walkthrough (using Outlook Express)
  • Select Tools | Accounts from the menu.
  • Highlight the desired account.
    • It is best, of course, to repeat the process for each account.
  • Click Properties.
  • Go to the Advanced tab.
  • Make sure Break apart messages larger than __ KB is not checked.
  • Click OK.
  • Now click Close.