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Bug Handhelds Microsoft IT

Outlook 2010 Bug Creates Monster Email Files 126

Posted by timothy
from the rodents-of-unusual-size dept.
Julie188 writes with this snippet from Network World "Office 2010 is still in beta and a patch is already out. Microsoft is trying to fix a bug in the email program Outlook 2010 Beta that creates unusually large e-mail files that take up too much space. The Outlook product team has offered a bug fix for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems that fixes the problem going forward, although previous emails will remain super-sized. This could be a problem for email programs that limit message sizes, such as Gmail or BlackBerry."
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Outlook 2010 Bug Creates Monster Email Files

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  • A bug in a beta? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Evro (18923) * <evandhoffman@gmaPARISil.com minus city> on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:23PM (#31177162) Homepage Journal

    Oh my heavens! A bug in a beta? What is the world coming to?

    • by nametaken (610866) * on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:27PM (#31177194)

      Exactly! So what? Isn't the point of a beta to identify bugs before the software goes into regular use?

      I mean, unless you're Google, who seems to use it like a marketing term for "exclusive!".

    • Beta? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by msauve (701917) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @07:09PM (#31177892)
      You mean the fact that Outlook "creates unusually large e-mail files that take up too much space" is new?

      Silly me, thinking 3K of HTML/header overhead to send a one sentence email fell into that description, because Outlook has done that forever.
      • by fractoid (1076465)

        You mean the fact that Outlook "creates unusually large e-mail files that take up too much space" is new?

        Exactly what I was thinking. "That's no bug... it's the Outlook 2010 installer!"

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cgenman (325138)

          "That's no bug... it's the Outlook 2010 installer!"

          This is what makes it amusing to me. I've made thousands of dollars on Outlook's inability to handle its own PST and OST files as they get above a certain size. Sending out gigantic messages just completes that circle.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        In this case, we're talking several hundred kilobytes for a 10-line message. That's pretty damn annoying, especially when you get a long conversation in a high-volume discussion list - since now every reply will quote the original message, and carry that overhead (even if the responder is using Outlook 2007, or a different email client altogether - so long as it is capable of and is set up to produce HTML email).

        What happens there, actually, is that it puts a huge (and 99% unused) CSS stylesheet inline insi

        • Anyway, it's called a beta for a reason. I'm surprised anyone would even use it in production at this point.
          What do you consider to be "in production"? from your description it sounds like only a handfull of users in a given group (whether internal or external) using this software can cause a heck of a lot of overbloated mails.

          Microsofts proposed soloution seems to boil down to "just delete the affected mails" which is just NOT going to be acceptable in many cases.

    • by grcumb (781340) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @08:38PM (#31178742) Homepage Journal

      Oh my heavens! A bug in a beta? What is the world coming to?

      Indeed, though a story about recursive dependencies in any product does introduce a little welcome schadenfreude into my day, it's a pretty trivial issue.

      What I found infinitely more newsworthy about the article was this:

      With Outlook 2010, Microsoft is trying to take yet another stab at one of the most perplexing issues for computer users -- e-mail sprawl. Microsoft has introduced "conversation arrangement" features in previous versions of Outlook -- as have other e-mail program makers -- in which messages are saved based on the participants in the "thread" and in the order in which messages were received.

      Microsoft, the company that single-handedly destroyed email communications in the 90s by placing replies at the top of the message and refusing to support inline quoting, then relying on Word (WORD!) as the default editor... has finally discovered threading!

      It's touching, really. Kind of like watching an autistic adolescent say his first word....

      • by ender- (42944)

        Darn it! And me without mod points!

      • by Wayne247 (183933) <slashdot@laurent.ca> on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @11:24PM (#31179908) Homepage

        That's not all. To this day, we still occasionally receive an email consisting of nothing more than an attachment "winmail.dat"

        i eventually gave up on trying to tell mail administrators to set outlook clients properly or to set Exchange rules for outbound formating. I've installed "Lookout" plugin on all users' Thunderbirds.

        It's really as if Microsoft deliberately tried to break email interoperability so they can attempt to monopolize it. Hmm.....

        • "It's really as if Microsoft deliberately tried to break email interoperability so they can attempt to monopolize it." Isn't that their market strategy anyway? They did the same with IE, and heck! they're trying the same with Outlook. How surprising!
      • by Splab (574204)

        I *HATE* inline comments, stuff like resolution in your viewer can seriously fuck up the way the mail is displayed causing confusion about what belongs where. Also when you do inline comments people getting into the conversation later on will have a hard time figuring out what belongs where and who said what, having replies going on top means it's easy to see who wrote what earlier.

        • by jgrahn (181062)

          I *HATE* inline comments, stuff like resolution in your viewer can seriously fuck up the way the mail is displayed causing confusion about what belongs where.

          Do you hate inline comments done badly by Outlook, or also inline comments done right, like they used to be before HTML-formatted mail? The ones Outlook goes out of its way to break? I'm not particularly fond of "see my comments below in red", "see my comments below in blue", ... either.

          Also when you do inline comments people getting into the conversat

      • by Mr_Silver (213637)

        Microsoft, the company that single-handedly destroyed email communications in the 90s by placing replies at the top of the message and refusing to support inline quoting, then relying on Word (WORD!) as the default editor... has finally discovered threading!

        Whilst I don't disagree with you on the first two points, I should point out that I've been using "Arrange by conversation" in Outlook for the past 10 years as my default view.

        Granted it doesn't include in the thread the emails that I've sent back to peo

      • by CisJokey (1625407)
        I like this (replying on top); "by placing replies at the top of the message" But I think you moron know that I am a 'b00n'. And you are so super fantastic geeky because you already did mailing lists in the 90's. (Where the other way can make sense). If I call you a moron, I don't expect a reply like "you told me moron, I tell you childish". Its ok if you just tell me beeing childish.
    • I think you missed that those bugs create MONSTERS.

      Arm yourselves people! This is the warning that Tokyo never got!

    • by Nathrael (1251426) <nathraelthe42nd@ ... m minus language> on Thursday February 18, 2010 @02:19AM (#31180860)
      It's like the Magic 8 Ball told me - "Outlook not so good"!
    • by Threni (635302)

      What does "going forward" mean in the sentence:

      "The Outlook product team has offered a bug fix for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems that fixes the problem going forward"

      Perhaps it's me, but I don't understand what you'd lose by simply omitting the words. This seems to be the case generally. Is there some subtle, extra piece of information the use of those two words provides? (It reminds me of watching the police on TV trying to explain how they've not managed to catch some crook yet with the words "not at

    • by vegiVamp (518171)

      First post, *and* common sense ? I wish I had a +1 WhatAreYouDoingHere mod.

  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:24PM (#31177172)

    A bug in beta? From an MS product? Thanks slashdot!

    • by Zouden (232738) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:30PM (#31177242)

      Yeah, they should really put their products through some sort of testing phase, perhaps open to members of the public so that bugs like this can be reported and fixed.

      • The story isn't that there is a bug in a beta product. The story is that Microsoft are fixing a bug! (I'm here all week, please try the fish...)
    • It's a beta... but one that's open to the public to use against real e-mail servers, so for anybody who runs an e-mail system this is breaking news about where all their file space went...

      • by CannonballHead (842625) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:41PM (#31177408)
        Uhhh. I could give you an e-mail client that you could use against real servers, too. I still don't see how this is news. It's a beta. If someone is running an important e-mail system and using a beta, they're crazy...
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by StayFrosty (1521445)
          What happens if I am running an important e-mail system for my company. None of the users of my email system are running any sort of beta client. Now, someone who is not employed at my company (a client or whatever...) starts using the Outlook beta and starts sending oversized messages to users on my email server. I would care about where all of that space went. If my accounts have a limited size, my users may care as well and it's nice that now I would have an answer for them.
          • Yep, Slashdot is sometimes a traffic report that's critical for system admins to know why their systems are failing and what the corrective action to take when a big guy like Microsoft makes a blooper this bad.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            But my question is: how is this any different from any random person sending giant e-mail addresses to your servers? Isn't that fairly easy to do, without a bug in a client?

            Yes, it's a bug. Yes, it's a major bug. Yes, it's a major bug in an open beta. Of course, not having read the article, I have no idea HOW MANY people or how many e-mails it affected, how it affects them, etc. I don't know if it's sent e-mails or received e-mails - it sounds like it's sent e-mails, otherwise the ywouldn't bother sayi

            • But my question is: how is this any different from any random person sending giant e-mail addresses to your servers? Isn't that fairly easy to do, without a bug in a client?

              I was not saying it's big news. I was mainly replying to this part of your original comment:

              If someone is running an important e-mail system and using a beta, they're crazy...

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Kral_Blbec (1201285)
              It wasnt really that big of a bug. It required sending multiple emails with bullets/ordered lists in one session of Outlook. If you dont use bullets/lists then youre safe. If you shut down Outlook occasionally, youre safe. If you rebooted your computer when you went home from work, youre safe. I'd imagine that there were very few people actually effected by this. I've been using the Beta for a while myself and have never heard about it.
        • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @07:03PM (#31177798)

          *closes GMail and whistles innocently.*

          • Heh heh. I thought about Gmail. First, it's not in beta anymore, right? ;)

            Second, don't they have an "enterprise" sort of e-mail hosting?

            Third, there HAVE been gmail outages that affected businesses. My response was: serves you right for choosing a beta, even from Google, to do your important stuff. If it's really that important, maybe one should consider a competent system administrator to do your infrastructure for you...

    • Thats bs. Bugs can get into every peice of tech beta just identifys it and hides it. But the problem then just gets worse after time. Get a blackberry if the work means that much to you.
  • by richdun (672214) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:27PM (#31177196)
    So what if they're just covered in shiny material and cost 10x more than regular email files? The guy in the blue shirt told me they were worth it.
  • EOUS? (Score:5, Funny)

    by natehoy (1608657) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:33PM (#31177292) Journal

    Buttercup: Westley, what about the E.O.U.S.'s?
    Westley: Emails Of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist.
    [Immediately, an E.O.U.S. attacks him]

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Knackered (311164)

      [Immediately, an E.O.U.S. attacks him]

      Surely the last line should be:

      "You've got MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILL!"

  • And I'm not talking about UCE.

    Simple abuse of email as a broadcast medium means that I receive a mean of around 100 emails per day (in a corporate environment) from dozens of different people and organisations. Sure, I have filters, dozens of them and constantly adding more, but, you know, it's really just not worth it for the numbers of useful and relevant emails which I do receive. Particularly when outlook is so dire at handling large numbers of mails.

     

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by LostCluster (625375) *

      E-mail's going away because broadcast messages are better served over RSS, quick person-to-person notes cam travel over IM, SMS, or Twitter, and business documents can be transferred over secured web sites. Whole lot of new ways of doing things...

      • by rahvin112 (446269)

        Maybe in Grandma's basement Email is going away but not in the real business environment. In the basement twitter and RSS and IM are all valuable communication tools in the business world they are toys and email is the only really valid tool with a little bit of IM possibly as outlook now has that ability if companies enable it. People like you that make such comments simply make me laugh as it's obvious you have no real world experience where business is concerned. Email isn't going anywhere, it's a barely

        • by vlm (69642)

          most of the protocols have no way to validate either the content or the author

          you can validate content and author in emails? you must be new to spam, or have been away from the net since 1992.

        • Closed internal e-mail systems may be perfectly secure... as it's easy to fire anybody who makes trouble with it. However, once you expose e-mail to the internet, you've got to deal with spam and other troublemakers.

        • While I agree with you in most points, but

          most of the protocols have no way to validate either the content or the author and as a result will just be toys in the business world.

          Read RFC 821 (SMTP)! E-Mail has no validation of the source either...
          Your E-Mail Program just has to pretend to be an SMTP server itself

        • Maybe in Grandma's basement Email is going away but not in the real business environment. In the basement twitter and RSS and IM are all valuable communication tools in the business world they are toys and email is the only really valid tool with a little bit of IM possibly as outlook now has that ability if companies enable it.

          Your dad just called. He said that SNDMSG isn't going away and that e-mail is considered a 'toy' in the business environment. And your grandfather is on line two...err...he's on the telegraph...I think he's saying something about that new-fangled phone and a business or something. I was never good at morse code...

      • >>>E-mail's going away because broadcast messages are better served over RSS, quick person-to-person notes cam travel over IM, SMS, or Twitter, and business documents can be transferred over secured web sites. Whole lot of new ways of doing things...
        >>>

        I'm an electrical engineer and have to idea what you're talking about.
        And if I don't know what you're talking about,
        neither does your average secretary or business manager.

  • Problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by iamavirus (590736)

    This could be a problem for email programs that limit message sizes, such as Gmail or BlackBerry.

    I'd say this this is a problem for programs that don't limit sizes. TFA doesn't state any numbers, but I wouldn't want my BlackBerry to try and open files with thousands of lines of redundant CSS code.

  • What's this story doing in "Mobile"?

    Besides, a beta bug? Front page news? Come on... :-S

    No one I know even use Office 2010 in a production system yet.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LostCluster (625375) *
      Because mobile data services easily overload when hit with large amounts of data, and this bug is creating e-mails that are much bigger than they're supposed to be. Too many beta users interacting with "production" servers and services could cause an unintentional DDOS on weaker e-mail systems.
  • Sounds like half a solution to me. When will they fix the problem going backward?
  • Really? (Score:1, Troll)

    by zmollusc (763634)

    Can they be any bigger than the emails dumbass users send around anyway? Single Lolcat pictures as ppt? A dozen numbers as a honking big Excel file?

  • by sanjacguy (908392)
    More than just free email limits size. Size limits are one of the variables you can set in Exchange 2003, and I believe the default maximum email size is 5MB. Given that most private organizations do not have unlimited email space, setting a limit on size is just as important as monitoring the size of the Information Store. (Fair warning, I may be wrong about the specific default max email size for exchange 2k3.)
    • by Eudial (590661)

      Back in the day (and this i a really long time ago), I wrote a mail server that could be used as a file server. You could set up accounts so that when you attempted to receive the mails from the mail server, files from some given directory would download as email attachments. Some mail clients dealt with this admirably well, downloading large files with out trouble. However, others didn't ... cope so well, and crashed or consumed insane amounts of memory when attempting to download emails of that size. It w

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Tokyo is so screwed!

    • I used to think that too... until I grew up and learned that it's not real. No kidding! Japan figured out that if a giant monster is invading them, all they have to do is put out miniatures on a movie set and the monster will go after those until it gets tired or has to fight another monster, and then retreats to the ocean. I'm guessing the Japanese came up with this idea to save costs on getting their city destroyed, after the first few times.
  • I mean really? A bug in beta software? This is outrageous, haul Microsoft up before congress immediately.
  • Really?? (Score:2, Funny)

    by ArcadeNut (85398)

    Is /. turning into Fox News now?

  • by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @07:11PM (#31177908) Homepage Journal

    And Outlook 2007 is a *shipping product*.

    Searching a subfolder inside your inbox still doesn't work (it will find items but you can't open them), It has the must unusual ideas about drag and drop attachments (sometimes it just attaches a GIF icon, but not the document itself), And my favorite, it will randomly exit with an error (an error has occured, would you like to send a report?), when right clicking selected text to change the typeface...

    Outlook 2003 was a miracle of speed and stability compared to 2007, so I imagine that, given their reputation to build worse and worse products over time, Outlook 2010 will be a disaster of titanic proportions. With a slew of "features" no one ever wanted or needed.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Hurricane78 (562437)

      MS employs the “upside-down pyramid” model of software lifecycle design.

      It works like this:
      app = code(design(BASIC_ARCHITECTURE)) # original design and intentions are instantly forgotten
      bf = marketing.getBlingFactory();
      while (sales.sell(app)) {
      f = bf.getNewFeature()
      management.fuckUp(f)
      sales.addLockIn(f)
      hammerIntoSomethingPhysicallyPossible(f,IGNORE_MANAGEMENT)
      try {
      code(f)
      } catch

    • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

      I rabidly hate anything 2007 from Microsoft, in fact I am compiling a list of bugs in Vista and 2007 products that's about 300 lines long, and I've never seen any of this. You might want to see if you have plug-ins or integrations or something interfering, or an incompetent Exchange admin. Unless you're talking about Express, if a 2007 version exists.

    • by drsmithy (35869)

      Searching a subfolder inside your inbox still doesn't work (it will find items but you can't open them), It has the must unusual ideas about drag and drop attachments (sometimes it just attaches a GIF icon, but not the document itself), And my favorite, it will randomly exit with an error (an error has occured, would you like to send a report?), when right clicking selected text to change the typeface...

      Can't say I've seen any of these problems, ever. Do you have any custom extensions or plugins for your

    • by DeltaQH (717204)
      Ah yes, the inflationary tendencies of software.
    • by Xest (935314)

      Perhaps, but if like me you've moved to a company that uses Lotus Notes, you'll be pining for Outlook again.

      I used Outlook for 7 years straight, and now Notes for 2 years, I'd do anything to get Outlook back!

      For all it's quirks, you don't realise how good Outlook is until you have to try the likes of Notes.

  • Can't imagine why this is on here and why any of us are wasting our time replying. Dang! Just lost 30 seconds of my life.
    • by sowth (748135) *

      Yes, as a programmer, why should I be required to optimize my programs to use less than 100 GB?

  • Bug? Or feature? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 (562437)

    the email program Outlook 2010 Beta that creates unusually large e-mail files that take up too much space.

    Isn’t that expected behavior for all MS Office programs? ;)

  • It has to be an Easter Egg. But what is it? I, for one, would be quite happy to discover during the course of examining my work email files that there was a new way do something constructive with my day, perhaps a World of Warcraft ICC rep run. And as far as bugs go, I could always use a few more stacks of Nerubian Chitin.
  • by DavidD_CA (750156) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @09:44PM (#31179192) Homepage

    Not only did Microsoft announce this on their Outlook 2010 blog [msdn.com] back on Jan 22, but they announced the patch for it [technet.com] on Feb 11.

    And it's beta software. We kinda expect it to make mistakes. Unlike some companies that keep their products in beta for a decade.

    I've been using Office 2010 for a few months now and absolutely love it. It's not very different from 2007. Just refined, like Windows 7 is to Vista. It has a few new features in each application that users will enjoy, especially in Sharepoint environments.

    One very cool feature in Outlook is the "People Pane" which appears optionally next to the message you're reading. Expand it and it will show you all of your prior appointments, emails, IMs, attachments, and more that are connected to that person. So when Fred sends you an email and says "what did you think about that other email I sent you?" it's a piece of cake to find it.

    But oh noes! A beta has a bug! There must be nothing else to bash Microsoft for today.

  • "This could be a problem for email programs that limit message sizes..." It's not necessarily a program that limits the size of an email message, it's an internet service or email provider that limits the message size to or from it's servers. For example, Gmail (remember, it's Google as a company that sets the limit on the message size, not the Gmail app itself) has a 25MB limit on message size, AT&T and Comcast are still 10MB, I believe, and companies like Earthlink (that are still in the ISP dark ages
  • I'm pretty sure this bug has been there since Outlook 2003.

    *waits for 4GB PST file to back up over the network*

    .
    .

    (*places spare change into piggy bank to save up for MS Exchange*)

  • I probably wouldn't have noticed this as the number of users I see who attempt to email files between 50MB and 4.2GB is amazing! They actually complain that it is taking forever to send their email or that their email has stopped working completely because they are receiving a massive file which clogs their receive queue!
    • by creimer (824291)
      Back in the Windows NT days, a coworker emailed a 36MB core dump file to his boss and accidentally sent it to everyone in the company. Email was offline for three days as the admin deleted the offending email from every user account by hand.
  • [grin=on]... was that a bug? Outlook and big files?
    by now, I got used to big bloated files; so I didn't really care about them at all!
    [grin=off] (wonderful to control those muscles on command)

    am I glad I'm using Thunderbird ... since I'm still searching "The right" alternative.
    The Bat from Ritlabs used to be good..

  • To get rid of those older monster e-mails, the Outlook team suggests running Conversation Cleanup, a new feature of Outlook 2010, which moves all the older, redundant messages in the user's e-mail conversations to the Deleted Items folder. Cleanup keeps the most recent message around, Microsoft says, ensuring users have all the content in the conversation while allowing them to delete the redundant messages.

    I hope this "feature" has the intelligence to scan all the earlier messages in the thread to make sure that all the people in the conversation are clueless and have blindly quoted the entire conversation in each of their posts.

    I wonder how it handles branches in the conversation? Does it keep the final message in each branch?

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